Gombe Peace Summit condemns ethnicisation of politics, politicization of ethnicity

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H.E. Inuwa Yahaya, Governor of Gombe State.

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Participants at the 1st Gombe State peace and security summit have condemned the deliberate ethnicization of politics and politicisation of ethnicity which they observed is gradually becoming a general trend in the political process thereby not only deepening fault lines but also threatening the survival of Nigeria’s democratic system.

The assertion was contained in a communique issued on Thursday at the end of the 3 days summit held in Gombe.

Accordingly, the summit called on religious and political leadership to eschew all forms of divisive politics in the build-up to the 2023 general elections.

The summit stated that the revered traditional rulers and religious leaders can play an important role in promoting the philosophy of politics without bitterness.

According to the communique signed by AIG Zubairu H. Muazu, mni (rtd), co-convener and Chairman, he said that religious leaders can play an important role in proactively resolving disagreements that have the potential to degenerate into crisis. Thus, giving them a security advisory role in the state will help in mitigating threats and fostering religious tolerance.

The summit strongly recommended that, without further delay, a sub-regional security summit of this nature should be convened under the auspices of the North-East Governors Forum to consolidate the gains and achievements of this summit.

It also strongly commended the Government of Gombe State under the leadership of His Excellency, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for convening this important summit at this crucial moment of our nation’s history.

It resolved that the various initiatives of the Government such as the establishment of the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre, Boltongo, and the creation of the Gombe State Security, Traffic and Environmental Corps(GOSTEC) are timely and commendable steps that could help further strengthen the current security arrangements in the state.

In particular, the summit applauded the government’s zero-tolerance approach to the issue of political thuggery and other social vices allegedly perpetrated by the dreaded Yan Kalare thugs, which culminated in the launching on Tuesday of the security initiative code-named “Operation Hattara.”

The summit then called on the operation to take advantage of the findings and resolutions of the summit, especially in terms of compliance with law and order.

The summit further applauded the functional cooperation and collaboration between the state government and all federal security agencies in the state while recommending that this cordial relationship needs to be maintained, deepened and strengthened.

The summit commended the Governors of Bauchi, Adamawa and Yobe States who despite the short notice sent their special advisers to participate in and contribute to the successful conduct of the summit.

It observed that national and global challenges such as climate change, economic recession, and the Covid-19 pandemic contribute to insecurity and instability.

“There is, therefore, the need for governments and security agencies to develop a proactive security strategy for predicting and mitigating the security consequences of such events.”

It noted that while the present security situation in the state is relatively stable and calm, there are sporadic events of real security concern which need to be nipped in the bud before they escalate to constitute significant security threats.

“These challenges include cattle rustling, kidnapping for ransom, political thuggery and gang violence, communal disputes and conflicts.

“It is observed that good governance remains an important precondition for security and stability, thus, promoting accountability, transparency and effective public administration will go a long way in enhancing the relative peace and security of the state.

“Under the present democratic system, the police and other law enforcement agencies are not the sole protectors of law and order. All members of the community are active partners in the collective efforts to prevent and control crime.

“Accordingly, forging meaningful partnerships built on trust and confidence between law enforcement agencies and communities, as well as within members of the community with a view to ensuring that crimes are prevented and/or controlled is necessary to any effective security management.

“This can be fostered through the establishment of local security advisory committees across the state to support security agencies in mitigating security challenges.

“Drugs and substance abuse, particularly among the youth, is a major driver of violent crimes in the country. While commending the renewed efforts of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)  and the Gombe State Government to combat this problem, the Summit believes that it is vital to do more in terms of cutting the sources of drug supply and increasing funding for drug prevention and control initiatives/operations.

“The government is encouraged to organise a town hall meeting to discuss the dual issue of drugs and political thuggery so as to find a common ground among stakeholders on what needs to be done to prevent violence ahead of the 2023 general elections.”

The Summit noted that the lack of sports and recreational facilities is contributing to drugs and substance abuse, youth restiveness and gang violence. Providing such facilities, especially in urban centres will help engage the youth and enable them to harness their God-given potential. THE NIGERIAN TRIBUNE


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