NIPR holds North-East summit for National Integration

Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe

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The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, has held the North-East Citizens Summit for National Integration, Peace and Security, aimed at resolving issues that have crippled the growth of the country, through non-violent communication and engagement of citizens.

The President of the institute, Mr. Mukhtar Sirajo, said the meeting was borne out of concerns over the deteriorating relationships, widening trust gaps, between both the leaders and the led, as well as between people in the country, where Nigerians had become suspicious about each other.

Mr. Sirajo said relationships that existed in the past among Nigerians were better than what it’s obtained today.

“We use to consider one another as one. We were very blind to issues of ethnicity, issues of tribalism, issues of religious differences. Whatever we came together, we came together as one brother and sisters. But at some point, we began to sink lower and lower. We began to ask questions, where is this one from, what religion does this one practice, what religion do they belong to,” said Mr. Sirajo.

According to him, such considerations has done a lot of damage to the fraternal relations among Nigerians.

Consequently, Mr. Sirajo said the institute felt it necessary, as a relationship-building organisation, to come together and offer their contributions, which was proffer solutions to ensure the reactivation of the peaceful relationships between Nigerians.

He said the institute had the necessary skills, neutrality, as a non-political organisation, which would give citizens the confidence to approach them to express themselves without any suspicion.

In essence, Mr. Sirajo said the NIPR was out to give Nigerians the platform to engage in non-violent communication to resolve challenges to the growth and development of Nigeria.

He said such mistrust tendencies were dangerous to the progress of the country, thereby seeking for a return to the days where Nigerians lived as one people because they had been there before, hence reverting to it would not pose so much problem, saying, Nigerians should also dialogue more to address threats to national integration.

For the Guest Speaker, Prof. Andrew Haruna, a former Vice-Chancellor, Federal University Gashua, Yobe State, the dialogue was needed to guarantee understanding among Nigerians, which would ultimately go to promote the needed peaceful coexistence in the country.

Professor Haruna said there was the need to continue to inform each other on events taking place around the world, to enable people to understand one another better, making it more important for dialogue of such nature to take place.

He called for more investment in education and promoting inclusiveness in driving issues of governance.

“We have to inculcate the culture of love, which all of us are known for in the North East. We must teach peace rather than hate. We must teach inclusiveness rather than exclusiveness,” said Prof. Haruna

He called for the empowerment of youths in the North East, especially with political activities about taking off so that opportunities would be created for the youths for them to put in their best.

Prof. Haruna appealed to the people of the North-East to support their state governments in promoting peace and enhancing development.

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