22nd November, 2011
A federal lawmaker, Alhaji Garba Shehu, has cautioned against reprisal attacks by aggrieved communities in the crisis in Kafanchan, Kaduna State.
â€œWe cannot continue to kill and destroy in the name of reprisal attacks and vengeance that will have no end,â€ Shehu, who represents Jemaa/Sanga Federal Constituency, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos yesterday.
â€œWe should see wisdom in the old saying that an eye for an eye will leave all of us blind. We must put the past behind us and resolve to forge ahead, especially since such killings will not bring back to life those already killed.â€
He advised the people to imbibe the virtues of love and respect for each other, stressing that the quest for improved living standard and prosperity would be a mirage without peace and order.
â€œOur pride in the South of Kaduna are the varieties of produce from our farms. People come from all parts of the country to buy our ginger, yam, beans and rice. No one will come here if there is no peace.â€
The lawmaker expressed fear that peace might remain elusive unless there was justice in the Nigerian system.
â€œThe system must ensure that people responsible for the violence are fished out and punished. It is the failure to arrest and punish perpetrators of earlier atrocities that usually give rise to reprisal attacks.â€
Shehu called for stringent measures to check the cycle of violence currently sweeping across many parts of Kaduna, and advised the public against any â€œconspiracy of silenceâ€ noting that the crises were threatening the survival of the Nigerian state.
He blamed the incessant violence on the large army of unemployed youths, and called for specialist training that would equip them with skills to survive in a competing world.
â€œMany youths have certificates that are rather useless and leave them solely dependent on others. We must emphasise skill acquisitions that will be vital for daily existence.
â€œWe must begin to make our youths to go to spheres where they will not need anyone to push them through life.â€
He identified the agriculture sector as one area where skills could be acquired toward self-dependence, and advised the Kaduna State government to copy other statesâ€™ initiatives toward engaging the youth positively.
â€œThe Kaduna State government should train youths in some skills and give them some financial support to employ themselves and engage others so as to reduce the number of jobless people available for use by unscrupulous persons.â€
Shehu also called for more involvement of minorities in the recruitment policies in the civil service, police, army and other sectors, warning that leaving out such groups in such exercises would always result in sporadic violence. â€œThere cannot be peace without justice and equity.â€
He suggested that each local government be involved in recruitment exercises to give every Nigerian a sense of belonging.
He called for continued dialogue among the people to boost mutual confidence necessary for peaceful co-existence, irrespective of tribal and religious differences.