New Lagos Group To Tackle Ethnic Conflict 

Richard Ginika Izuora

A new movement, National Alliance for Development, (NARDEV) was on Monday launched in Lagos with the mandate  to stem the growing ethnic conflict and mobilise communities and socio-cultural organisations against insecurity, corruption, lack of

competence in governance, killings and banditry in Nigeria.

Over 60 leaders of ethnic and socio-cultural organisations drawn from

the six-geo political organisations in Nigeria attended the historic

meeting which the organisers said was motivated by the unrelenting spate

of insecurity, threats to livelihood, increasing ethnic tension and weak

capacity of state institutions to rekindle hope in Nigerians. Observers

see the group as the largest coalition of varying ethnic, civil society

and socio-cultural groups that have emerged in Nigeria in recent times.

The meeting was facilitated by the Chairman, Arewa Youth Consultative

Forum, (AYCF), Alhaji Yerima Shetima, Executive Director, Journalists

for Democratic Rights, Mr Adewale Adeoye, a civil rights advocate, Auwal

Rafsanjani,  President, Ohanaeze  Ndigbo Youth Council, Comrade

Okechukwu Isiguzoro, Yoruba  global youth leader, Barrister Dotun

Hassan, President Ijaw Youth Council, (IYC), Comrade Timothy Igbifa,

President, Itsekiri National Youth Council, (INYC)  Weyinmi Agbateyinwo,

former Vice President, Nigerian Labour Congress, (NLC), Comrade Isa

Tijani and a few others.

The over 60 representatives later issued a communiqué leading to the

formation of the National Alliance for Development, (NARDEV). The

members said they would mobilise Nigerians from all corners of the

country for a greater and prosperous livelihood as against what they

described as a state of fear, despair and trembling.

“We are worried by the state of the nation. Security and livelihood is

not the business of the government along. The solution to the killings

and banditry cannot be addressed by the government alone. The people

should come together out of their own freewill to engage the challenge

in their own interests”, the communiqué issued at the end of the one day

summit stated.

The  participants said they were alarmed by the general state of

insecurity and incessant killings in Nigeria that have escalated in

recent times with several communities at the mercy of a murderous

insurgency, marauding killers, bandits and kidnappers at unacceptable

proportions that gravely endanger the peace, unity and development of

the country. They argued that the mismanagement of the  national economy

already approaching a second recession and characterized by a disabling

level of accrued and accruing debt profile and that despite the claim of

war against corruption, the highly acknowledged corruption perception

monitor, Nigeria is still adjudged as one of the most corrupt countries

in the world.

The communiqué stated  rejected what it called the clannish nature and

approach to governance that has resulted in breading deep divisions and

inter-communal distrust. Participants stated that the goal of the

one-day  was to facilitate the forging of a consensus on the formation

of a unified platform for the pursuit of the building of confidence

among Nigerians in their ability to reclaim the floundering

socio-economic fortunes of the country. The delegates said the country

now witnesses unprecedented incompetence and enthronement of mediocrity

in dealing with the regularity of killings and general insecurity across

the country and that while the security of lives and property is the

cardinal responsibility of government, the apparent failure of the

country’s entire security and law and order assets to check the killings

which have claimed thousands of lives and displaced millions, is giving

rise to suspicions of government complicity among the affected

communities.

The new group regretted that the these killings have claimed more than

3,500 lives in 2017 with the number of internally displaced persons

rising to about 4 million.

On the economy, NARDEV noted that today, the economy is characterized by

such massive youth unemployment, a rising level of poverty, and

instability, that Nigeria was recently announced as the poverty capital

of the World. In addition, Nigeria’s ranking on the Human Development

index is one of the lowest in the World standing.

It said the risk of inheriting an accumulated and accruing debt burden

negotiated by government in absolute secrecy and  spent without due

transparency and accountability or commensurate development projects

constitute a source of worry for many Nigerians.

“Under the weights of this strangulating and ruinous debts, all the

fundamentals of our already ailing economy are seriously beginning to

dither. The high percentage of our dwindling national revenue that is

now devoted to the repayment and servicing of these loans are to put it

very mildly, threateningly strangulating and unsustainable.”

The meeting also observed a trend of shielding and protection of certain

powerful corrupt politicians and friends of government with some facing

scandalous graft cases from answering to lawful scrutiny, while

targeting and subjecting perceived rivals and voices of dissent to

unfair treatment, harassment and blatant victimization.

They condemned the manifestation of a systematic manipulation of the

electoral system and undue exploitation of the political party system

that perpetuates electoral malpractices, incompetence and political

brigandage.

The meeting observed that the generation of young Nigerians within the

age bracket of 20 to 55 years, have risked  their fate by allowing their

collective destiny in the hands of aged leaders who have constituted

most of the nation’s problems and are clearly out of ideas.

“A unanimous consensus was reached on the imperative of mobilizing the

young generation of Nigerians as critical stakeholders, to rise and take

their destiny in their hands by forming a vanguard to challenge the

observed entrenched fascism and perpetuation of ineffective, and

unfocused people in power. The young generation of Nigerians are urged

to insist on the emergence of a visionary and dynamic leadership which

will effectively deal with our security and economic challenges, and

ensure good governance in the country,” the group said in the

communiqué.

It demanded the immediate revamp of the security architecture of Nigeria

and ensuring the removal of marauding killers from the communities they

have occupied and return same to their rightful owners who now live in

IDP camps.

It called on the Federal and State Governments  to “address the root

cause of poverty among other things include but not limited to poverty,

exclusion, unemployment, human right violations and weak institutions.”

Other groups at the meeting were Oodua Peoples Congress, (OPC), Oodua

Liberation Movement, (OLM), Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC),

Agbekoya, Peace and Development Project, (PEDEP), Labour movement, women

groups, students and farmers associations from across the country.

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