The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has embarked on strengthening peaceful coexistence, religious tolerance and security consciousness in various communities in Sokoto State.
Its Sokoto State Director, Alhaji Abubakar Maude, announced this in Sokoto on Thursday at one-day sensitisation lecture on “Building People of Peace and Security Awareness” organised by the agency.
Maude said the lecture was aimed at facilitating increased public awareness and community involvement in peace initiatives.
He said that Nigeria faced various conflicts and security challenges that needed collective efforts of community members, category of leaders and security agencies to reduce them to the barest minimum.
“The lecture series was aimed at addressing conflicts, facilitate mutual understanding, religious tolerance, national patriotism and respect to individual values.
“Addressing security challenges is everybody’s business as security agents’ efforts needed to be complemented by citizens,” he said.
According to him, the participants were drawn from religious and community groups, society agencies, media, traditional institution, NGOs and other stakeholders.
In his address, the Special Adviser to Gov. Aminu Tambuwal on Security matters, Retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Tambari Yabo, commended NOA for the initiative.
Yabo urged the participants to live up to the expectation on assisting security agency to ensure maximum security of lives and property.
He called for the replication of the campaign at the grassroots communities and to involve more trade associations and voluntary groups.
The State Commissioner of Police, Mr Muhammad Abdulkadir, said that conflicts is part of human lives due to differences in culture, religion and understanding.
Abdulkadir said that managing conflicts effectively had been a burden in our settlements, stressing that dialogues and interactions would proffer the solutions.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, said that traditional rulers, being custodians of people at the grassroots, played great roles on solving disputes and call for more synergy among the people.
Abubakar, represented by the District Head of Gagi, Alhaji Sani Umar, commended NOA for the efforts and urged it to sustain the efforts “as the Sultan always preaches peace and lead many groups on peace initiatives.”
The Guest Lecturer, Mr Austine Mack from the Department of State Security Service, identified lack of patriotism, selfish interests and greed as major causes of violence.
He cautioned Nigerians against religious bigotry, which he said had deterred the nation’s progress.
Mack educated the gathering on security tips, terrorism practices and community policing.
Another lecturer was Alhaji Nura Attajidi, who emphasised on the need for collective efforts on security awareness and urged the people to cooperate with security agencies.
Officers of Nigerian Prison Service, Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps and Federal Road Safety Commission delivered lectures on their respective activities.