Towards Peace In Northern Nigeri

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Towards Peace In Northern Nigeria

 

By

 

Samuel Peter Aruwan

sparuwan@yahoo.com

 

November 30, 2004

I do not wish to give the impression that I have the solutions to all the problems facing Northern Nigeria . My effort here is to contribute one or two things that I feel in my small sight would guarantee peace. One is not a prophet that can prophesy what the future holds, I am only presenting my personal opinion, and am always ready to accept superior knowledge, mind, experience.

Northern Nigeria today is in crisis, from the Leaders to the Led. Everyday the problems are getting worse by the day. It has even gotten to our primary Schools down from our tertiary higher institutions that supposed to stand for integration.

As Northern governors are about to begin the much awaited peace forum or conference, I am suggesting they tackle the points I will pinpoint later in this piece. For the sake of facts and clarity, I wish to start with what I believe are factors causing all this religious and ethnic crises.

*All Northerners do not really see themselves as one people, one region, one nation. There is this feeling of supremacy of religion and race. For the supremacy of religion, this religious competition in the north has always been a factor in causing crisis.

* Indigene and settler of recent has precipitated 75 percent of crises in the north. Plateau, Kaduna and many other states, has experience a lot of fracas as a result of this matter.

*There is mismanagement of public funds here in northern Nigerian, all this jamboree to the detriment of our population who are indigent, unemployed and so on . What do one expect from this armies of unemployed when opportunities presented it self as in religious and ethnic crises. They just have to jump to it, since an idle mind is the devilís workshop, as the saying goes.

Not long ago, Kabiru Yusuf wrote about the waste of public funds meant for developments by our governments. Money is being spent on sending friends and associates to both Mecca and Jerusalem .

*Poverty is daily on the increase as a result of mismanagement of governance. I understand that 75 percent of Northerners are living in abject poverty.

*Biased media coverage of events, have obviously exacerbated religious and ethnic crises. Where Katafs are at logger heads with Hausas, the media would then give it a religious coloration. This is a big problem .The mediaís partisanship has really caused a lot havoc. We are all bearing witnesses of the frictions being caused by the media during the Plateau , Kaduna , Kano crises .

*Incitement from religious of traditional leaders, is also a factor that has been fuelling violence, we have cases of these important institutions been masterminding uprising. Sporadic and unguided utterances are enough to stir fracas, looking at the way our populace holds their faith and ethnic affiliation.

*Lack of education too is another factor, most of youths here have no education, this makes it so easy for them to be manipulated, since there is no faculty of reasoning in them. The backwardness of education in the North has reduced youths almost to non-entities.

*Another thing which I considered to be factor is polarization of living conditions.. The segregation of living along religious and ethnic lines , Sabon Gari, Tudun wada etc.

*Manipulation of religion for political interests has not only created hatred, but has divided people along religious lines. This made people too religious negatively, and there is always conflicts in a place, were people are too religious and being religiously manipulated.

Having mentioned some of these factors igniting violence, one wish to also talk of what I feel are solutions to the enigma.

For peace and harmony in the north. I wish to suggests the following factors as a path to the peaceful co-existence and harmony.

*Until we see our selves as one and equal, that is when, we can be able to work together and avoid fracas. Government in all northern states should as matter of urgency treat people equally without religion or ethnic considerations. None of our different religion should be promoted against the other, using governmental machinery, for government is for all irrespective of our differences.

* There must good management of public fund. Our governors should adopt a judicial means of spending funds meant for development. All this bonanza of spending our resources should be stop. One is watching with pain, on how our monies are being spent for pilgrimages and other priorities non-related to peoples economic hardship. There is a lot of developmental projects that need their attention, take the cases of ecological, desertification and erosion, what are we doing to address these issues? What about the agricultural sector, what is on ground to harness this good sector of our life? Yet, we have this bunch of youths who are roaming the streets without jobs. What are the governors, doing in this respect this? Only of recent World Heath Organization, said that the maternity death rate is more common in northern Nigeria donít also forget the polio issues, every day people are being televised soliciting for funds to undergo one surgery or the other. What are their plans towards curbing this? Are the health and medical facilities available for the masses? Lastly, sincerely we have a lot to do towards addressing the problems facing us, for more is expected from the leaders who have the mechanism to foster the lives of the people.

*Media is vital organ of every society. For media is also the mirror of the populace. But as earlier said media have exacerbated crises. For peaceful Ė co-existence I suggest the media should be balanced and report situations as they are. Our media should not be biased and insensitive in carrying out there duty. Tribal crises should not be presented to the society as religious crises; this has always aggravate things and lead to more violence.

*Our religious and traditional leaders, should always preach peace and harmony, not incite the followers. No religious leader should be found quoting any religion as a way of putting the religion as fake or whatever. Furthermore, they should teaches how to be self-restrained in controversial religious issues, like blasphemy and disrespect of religious holy books or whatever. No one should take law in to his hands.

However the religious bodies should be monitoring the spreading of these too many clerics, for they are spreading daily with less theological knowledge. Furthermore our traditional custodians, should always be neutral in controversial cases related to religion, politics etc.

*Education should be given a priority, majority of our youths who do indulge in this evil acts are not educated. Those masterminding these evil acts capitalize on their ignorance to dubiously use them.

In the same vein, one wishes to suggest the inclusion of peace education in our schools curriculum, from primary to tertiary institutions. This would bring about another peace orientation in the society, far from what we have today.

*traditional ownership of land should be studied very well, to come out with long lasting solutions. We should be open and transparent on this so as to manage it well. However these living systems along religious and ethnic lines should be discouraged.

Having come this for, I pray we would be open to our selves and chart a new course for the good of generation and generations yet unborn. We should all know this: nobody can give us peace but ourselves. There is nothing we can do, except to respect and tolerate one another. Supposing God wanted to create a one side place for one religious followers or so, he would have done that. Now that he had created a situation where we found ourselves, what can we do to demystify this? Can we question God?

May God continue to see us through, for we have all these years been killing one another as if worshipping God is all about Killing and Killing.

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