Stakeholders made up of ethnic nationalities, Civil Society Organizations, youth groups, public office holders across the Niger Delta have reiterated the need for ethnic tolerance in the region.
They stressed that a collective peace driven by absolute tolerance for other ethnic nationalities remains a cardinal element for development to thrive in the Niger Delta.
The stakeholders made the declaration at the 2022 World Peace Day celebration organized by the Shedrack Agediga Foundation, which held in Warri, Delta State.
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While the year’s event was themed “End Racism and Build Peace”, the foundation’s “End Ethnic Intolerance and Build Peace” sub-theme formed the basis of discussion.
Achieving Peace Involves More Than Laying of Arms – Agediga
Chairman of the Shedrack Agediga Foundation, Comrade Shedrack Agediga, in his presentation explained that achieving wholesome peace demands more than laying down of arms.
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He noted that societies must be built in a way for everyone to feel among and presented with a level ground to flourish.
“The International day of peace is a day set aside by the United Nations to be observed across the globe on the 21st of September every year. It is a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace through education and public awareness. The theme of this year’s event is End Racism, Build Peace.
“The Shedrack Agediga Foundation has consistently since 2016 joined the global community to celebrate every year through conferences, seminars and peace walks to educate and create public awareness on the need for a peaceful society with shared values.
“This year the Foundation has thoughtfully marshalled out a sub theme relevant to local needs titled; End Ethnic Intolerance, Build Peace. Achieving peace involves more than laying down of arms, It requires building of societies where everyone feels a part of and have a level playing ground to flourish.
“It requires a society in which people are treated equally and are without fear of possible violence against them regardless of their ethnicity.
“Ethnic intolerance destabilizes societies and hampers growth and development; this we have seen first hand as Nigerians and particularly as Deltans.
“As violence and conflict across the globe erupts, within our local context, we have seen ethnic intolerance as a catalyst to conflict and violence.
“To mitigate violent conflicts amongst and between ethnic groups in delta state and Nigeria, We all have a role to play and tackling ethnic intolerance is a crucial way to contribute to world peace.”
Leaders of Ethnic Nationalities Must Discuss Peace – INC
The Ijaw National Congress called on leaders of ethnic nationalities across the Niger Delta, particularly those in Delta State to make efforts at ensuring that ethnic tolerance and peace thrives.
This was echoed by the INC Western Zone Secretary, Barrister Ikporukpo, who wondered why the various sister tribes in the state have refused to take the front seat in the conversation of peace in the region.
“As INC, we want a situation were all the apex bodies of all ethnic nationalities in state can be holding annual or monthly conferences to look at peace. It is crucial and we want that.”
Agediga a consistent fellow – Pondi
On his part, the lawmaker representing Burutu Federal Constituency, Julius Pondi commended the convener of the event, Agediga, for remaining consistent in pursuing peace.
He charged the nonviolence advocate to remain stable and in the path of peace.
“I want to thank Shedrack for being focused over the years. He made me to know peace. I particularly commend him for not being carried away.
“I feared that you would deviate but you have continued in the path of peace. Please, continue in this path,” he charged.
Various other leaders of thought, who spoke at the event, commended Agediga and his foundation for making peace a centre of discuss even in the times we are in, while emphasizing that ethnic tolerance must be imbibed.