• Aregbesola meets stakeholders to strengthen peace in troubled communities
• Forum urges special security arrangement for Lagos
Following the destruction that trailed the recent nationwide #EndSARS protests, the Federal Government-led initiative is set to strengthen peace and security in Lagos State, and the country, as the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu calls for peace.
The Ministry of Interior on Tuesday held a Stakeholders’ Engagement on Internal Security and Conflict Resolution at Alausa Ikeja with the purpose to strengthening peace and security across the nation.
Dignitaries present are: The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi; frontline lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana; SAN, Service Chiefs in Lagos and representative of Iyaloja General, Mrs. Folashade Tinubu-Ojo.
Other participants at the forum included the state government, traditional rulers, civil society groups, religious institutions, and youth groups.
Others were: political leaders in the State, members of Community Development Councils (CDCs), and Community Development Associations (CDAs).
The forum focused on the need to adopt dialogue as a key approach in channeling grievances and resolving conflicts.
The State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended FG for its commitment to restore peace in troubled states.
The governor described the initiative as a deliberate effort to address causes of crisis and nip violence in the bud.
Sanwo-Olu said the coordinated arson that trailed the #EndSARS protests was a wake-up call to all citizens of the country and security organisations to be vigilant, and to collectively move against actions that could undermine the wellbeing and security of the country.
The governor further pleaded with the citizens to allow peace reign. He also harped on the need to re-establish communication link between the government and the people.
He emphasised that this would thwart tendencies of those he dubbed fifth columnists and conspiracy theorists bent on employing disinformation and misinformation to destabilise the state.
He added, “The level of insecurity being experienced across the nation calls for serious concern, considering its implication not only on the socio-economic development and prosperity of our people but also on the unity and territorial integrity of our nation.
“The importance of an effective strategy for peaceful resolution of conflict cannot be overemphasised.
“We have the opportunity today to share knowledge and ideas that could pre-empt crisis situations through conflict resolution mechanism.”
The governor hinted that the incident is a wake-up call to all well-meaning individuals and organisations that “We cannot afford to allow external forces or factors threaten or undermine our wellbeing and security.”
Sanwo-Olu, however, charged residents to reignite the communication link between government and the people, “So that fifth columnists or conspiracy theorists will not be able to infiltrate and spread disinformation and misinformation”.
He said such misinformation would jeopardise the future of our country or the opportunities available for our youths to contribute to the greatness of our country.
In his views, Aregbesola said the forum was the third stakeholders’ engagement which the Ministry of Interior initiated to strengthen peace across the country.
According to the minister, the FG particularly had a responsibility to deepen peace and reduce conflicts in Lagos. He described it as the cradle of the black race.
The government’s interest in security, Aregbesola pointed out, is selfish. Adding, he said that no development would be achieved in a situation of insecurity.
He highlighted, “The main purpose of the ongoing is to create an atmosphere of peace for our development. We may not have attained the most secured state at the moment; we must not take what we have for granted.
“The nature of insecurity we are witnessing today is not peculiar to Nigeria. The world is increasingly facing insecurity whose main causes are armed conflicts, terrorism, banditry, organised crimes, food shortages, natural disasters and epidemics among others.”
The minister acknowledged that they have a responsibility to deepen peace and reduce conflicts that are peculiar to our nation.
This, he stressed, would enable them to bring down the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) shelters dotting the land.
Aregbesola also said it was time for the nation to fully harness the physical and intellectual energy of young people, who he described as “unique demographic”.
Dingyadi, the Minister of Police Affairs, said the destruction in Lagos was painful while pointing out that the engagement could not have come at a better time than now.
He further outlined that the state was in dire need of reconciliation, reconstruction and re-integration.
Dingyadi clamoured for support for Lagos to help the state achieve lasting peace in order to continue playing its “magnificent role” as the nation’s industrial centre.
“This dialogue will offer every community an opportunity to constructively add their input to the effort of sustaining peace and securing the country,” says the minister.
The consultative forum moved into an executive session where discussions were held on ways out of the current situation.
The participants, in the 15-point communique issued after the meeting, called on the Federal Government to treat Lagos security as a national issue.
The forum also called for increased intelligence gatherings by security agencies by working with neighbourhood security apparatus.
The resolution read in part: “Government must move from the phase of advocacy on security improvement to the phase of action; restructuring of the Police Force must be a reflection of principles of true federalism.
“More attention should be paid to the youth, as they also have ideas that can assist in formulating better policies for Government.
It stated that it is essential to create jobs for the youth in order to reduce social security challenges, emphasising that government must checkmate and identify young people engaging in destructive activities.
It continued, “Acquisition of adequate crowd control equipment and non-lethal weapons for management of civil protests and demonstrations.
“Reintroduction of value-driven programmes such as Boys Scout, Girls Guild in our schools to meaningfully engage young people.”Follow us on social media