Onochie: FG must convene national reconciliation conference by October
A former Nigerian envoy, Dr. Nnamdi Onochie, has advised the Federal Government to convene a truth, peace and reconciliation conference of Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities in October, to douse tensions nationwide.
In a statement he released in Abuja on Sunday, Onochie, a notable peace campaigner and elder statesman, said the conference should be convened soonest to tackle rising political tensions and curb violence, including recurring abductions of school children.
Expressing his concern in what he tagged: “Urgent Open Letter to the Federal, States and Other Levels of Government’’, the former diplomat expressed worry over “the drumbeats of war and disintegration’’ as Nigeria gets set for another general election in 2023.
He said that endless violence, wickedness and kidnapping of innocent Nigerians, including kids had made it imperative for opinion leaders in the country to discuss the problems openly and frankly to sustain Nigerian unity and peace.
“The conference will draw the roadmap for devolution of powers and other issues in the country before the general elections in 2023,’’ he said, noting that dialogue was the magic wand to resolving all conflicts.
Onochie, who is also a chieftain of the PDP called on Nigerians, irrespective of parties, religious and ethnic affiliations to put down their differences and allow peace to reign, to build a strong and united nation.
He re-stated his appeal to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to address the root causes of the problems currently bedeviling the country, especially the issues of perceived marginalization and social injustice.
“The persistent calls for secession and agitations for self-determination by some ethnic nationalities show that the ship of state may be currently adrift and requires concerted stabilization and fortification.
“Government at all levels, especially the Federal Government, needs to dedicate greater financial resources to reduce the cost of living, hunger, hardship and eliminate social wickedness such as killing and butchering of Nigerians for body-part sales by fellow Nigerians.
“Our country today is highly divided along ethnic, social and religious lines, this should not be. So the APC should urgently tackle the issues by finding a middle ground for discussion as a way forward.”
The former commissioner for special duties in Delta, said it had become clear that Nigeria was on precipice with arms-bearing non-state actors menacingly over-running state institutions and eroding Nigeria’s sovereignty.
“If I were the president of Nigeria, I will find a middle ground to end all the agitations for secession, religious extremism, inhumanity and other crippling issues holding down our country from year to year.
“My proposal to the Federal Government is to ensure that staging of the dialogue doesn’t go beyond October this year, and participants should include top government functionaries, leaders of political parties, national assembly members, business leaders, traditional rulers and civil society groups, among others.
Onochie, who has disclosed his intention to vie for the presidential slot in 2023 also advised the Federal Government to take urgent steps to tackle “looming hunger and hopelessness in the country’’ and to address rising cost of living.
He also re-stated his warning to government to desist from seeking additional foreign loans for Nigeria, to prevent the country from being given conditions or prescriptions by external institutions that would worsen prevail human conditions in the country.
Onochie, however, pleaded with Nigerians to give their unalloyed support to government in its current efforts to make Nigeria to rise to greatness and be the envy of other nations in the global community.(NAN)