TODAY is the International Day of Peace. The United Nations dedicated this day to peace, to underline the importance of peace for human cohabitation and social progress.
It is a special day to reflect on the factors that prevent conflict and promote peace in the family, nations and the world at large.
According to the United Nations: “The International Day of Peace offers people globally a shared date to think about how, individually, they can contribute to ensuring that natural resources are managed in a sustainable manner, thus reducing the potential for disputes, and paving the road to a sustainable future, the future we want.”
The centrality of peace is underscored by the fact that the Rio+20 Conference which holds in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, today will devote time to explore the importance of creating conditions for peace around the world.
In Nigeria, as in many other parts of a volatile world, it will be a day for Nigerians to ask themselves — Why is Nigeria always in conflict? Why do we have many communal crises?
Why is the level of crime high? Why have some Nigerians resorted to the hitherto alien suicide bombing and killing of others to register their grievances or fighting for their causes? Why is criminality and bloodletting rife?
Our religions preach peace and love as the bases of our humanity and relationship with the Almighty. Why are we not showing love to our neighbours and communities? Why are we negating the peace-promoting principles of our religions as prescribed in their holy books?
Answer to these questions would require profound searches. However, peace is attainable when the Almighty’s bounteous gifts of human and natural resources to Nigeria are managed with justice for all as a cardinal point.
According to the UN: “The root causes of many conflicts are directly related to, or fuelled by, valuable natural resource … addressing the ownership, control and management of natural resources is crucial to maintaining security …”
Happily, we are in the middle of amending the Constitution. Let us use the possibilities this exercise presents to address the sore issues of ethnicity, justice, resources control and management to ensure that more Nigerians will have access to the economic prosperity of their country.
The amendment should make Section 14 (2b) which states: “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government,” implementable. A system that erects economic and social disablement for majority of Nigerians is a recipe for perpetual conflicts.
Without visible benefits, peace becomes one of numerous choice words politicians use to continue their exploitation of circumstances.
Let there be peace in Nigeria, but let it be peace with justice.