News

May 20, 2024

Kalu calls for end to ethnic tensions, religious divide in Nigeria

Kalu

Benjamin Kalu

BY Gift ChapiOdekina, Abuja

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has called for an end to ethnic tension, religious divides among citizens across the country.

Kalu also said that Nigeria’s diversity is not a call for division but a beautiful coloration that signifies strength and unity of a people in a journey towards nationhood.

He said that though the country is made up of different ethnic groups and religions, the goal is one national objective.

Kalu made the assertion, Monday, while delivering his Keynote Address at the commencement of a 2-Day National Engagement on Addressing Identity-Based Conflict with the theme “Mapping Actors to Reduce Identity Conflict” jointly organized by the International Republican Institutions (IRI) and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) at the National Assembly Library, Abuja.

He said: “Let me join others who spoke earlier today to say that our diversity is not is a call to division. It is a beautiful colouration that this nation has been blessed with. We should leverage the varieties that come from the different perspectives with which we view things to bring to the bricks and the walls of nation building. It’s for us to join hands, not leaving one other hand because the colour is brown or black or because the tongue speaks Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo. Yoruba is Nigeria. Igbo is Nigeria. Hausa is Nigeria. Efik is Nigeria. My brother in the North is still my brother though I am from the South East. And my brother in the South West is still my brother. And you should be able to say the same that though we are designed differently with different embroideries on our garment, the garment that we all wear is called Nigeria.”

Kalu also called for the proper identification of the issues which included farmers/herders clashes in the North Central; banditry and civilian security arrangements in North West and the violent agitations in the South East and their possible causes, emphasizing that it will help in proffering lasting solutions to the problems.

“It is common logic at this crucial juncture of Nigeria’s evolution to say that a problem well stated is a problem half solved – and this is why we are all
gathered here today toward charting a course to national cohesion by
deliberating about how mapping actors can quell the fires of identity-based
conflict in this great country of ours. As we know, the first step is to state the problem well and we have all that we need today to do just that.

“For too long, the dark flames of identity-based conflict have cast a shadow
over our nation, particularly in the North Central, North West, and South
East geopolitical zones. We have witnessed the tragic consequences of
ethnic tensions, religious divides, and competition for resources. But today,
a flicker of hope ignites – the hope that by mapping the actors who fuel
these conflicts, we can finally extinguish the flames and forge a path toward a more peaceful, unified Nigeria.

“This national engagement is a clarion call to action. It is a call for collaboration – between government, civil society, community leaders, and international partners. It is a call for open communication, for listening to
the whispers and the shouts, for recognizing the humanity in every face
staring back at us.

“This national engagement represents a critical first step towards a more peaceful Nigeria. By meticulously mapping the actors who shape conflict dynamics, we can move beyond rhetoric and foster evidence-based solutions that address the root causes of division. This multi-pronged approach, informed by the knowledge gleaned from actor mapping, holds the potential to create a future where every Nigerian can thrive in an environment of security, dignity, and lasting peace”, Kalu said.