The Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Joseph Albasu Kunini, has identified some causes of bloody conflicts in the state in particular and the nation at large.
Speaking at the weekend in Jalingo at a Peace Summit organized by the Catholic Diocese of Jalingo, the Speaker stated that “the more a group actually differs or perceives itself to differ from other groups, or feels discriminated against, the more it will be willing to engage in collective action to protect its interests.
“The weaker the legitimacy of the state and the functionality of state institutions, the stronger the need for groups to organize themselves to protect their interest. The stronger the external support for the use of violence, the more likely that the groups will be emboldened to resort to violence.
“The more aggressively the parties to a conflict put forward their demands and possibly attach threat of violent consequences to them, the more difficult it becomes for them to agree to negotiated solutions that fall short of their maximum demands.
Against this backdrop, the Speaker proffered some solutions to end the endemic problem in the state which he identified to include “Strengthen the potential for peace, confidence-building measures between conflicting parties; develop structures and programmes for information and education to publicize and explain peace activities in order to overcome prejudice and hostility among the warring parties.
He said “We must develop new techniques for identifying early warning signals, preventing, managing and resolving ethno-religious conflicts in order to enable us create new bases of interaction in the context of equality, justice and tolerance.
The Speaker further warned that unless we all imbibe the values of honesty, fairness, social justice, equity, tolerance and accommodation, “we shall collectively be toying with our destiny and that of the larger Nigerian nation.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Bishop of Jalingo Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Charles Hammawa, vowed that the Catholic Church “will no longer remain at the back seat” but will sensitize and mobilize the members to participate actively in the present political dispensation.
Also speaking, the chairman of the organizing committee, Rev Fr. Williams Awoshiri, said the purpose of the peace summit was to make collective effort towards peaceful coexistence and cooperation amongst the people in the State.
“We have no power to stop crises and wars happening in the society in which we live; however, I believe surely that there are things we can do collectively to promote peace.