On Wednesday, the International Human Rights Commission urged the Federal Government to hold talks with bandits, Yoruba nation agitators, and Indigenous People of Biafra in order to restore peace in Nigeria.
The commission expressed alarm over the flight of Nigerian youngsters abroad while blaming the country’s poor economy for kidnapping, banditry, and killings, among other types of insecurity.
Dr. Duru Hezekiah, the IHRC’s Ambassador at Large and Head of Diplomatic Missions in Nigeria, made these remarks to journalists in Abuja on September 21, 2022, the annual International Peace Day.
In order to combat the threat of youth exodus, he encouraged the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to declare a state of emergency.
He said, “Racism is everywhere, most especially we Africans and Nigerians. The rate of racism against Africans and Nigerians calls for urgent attention. In fact, there should be a state of emergency.
“A lot of Nigerians are migrating to the West and other parts of the world due to bad economy and insecurity. When our people leave the country to find greener pastures elsewhere, the people in the host countries would start treating us as beggars. Youths are moving because the economy is bad. There is a need for us to come together and develop our country. When those who abroad see an improvement in economy and security, they would surely come back.”
He noted that violent crimes and discrimination against people based on their color, nationality, immigrant status, or religion were on the rise everywhere in the world and posed a threat to mankind.
He contends that the government must address other sociological issues like poverty, unemployment, and a lack of appropriate education in order to address the underlying reasons of insecurity in the nation.
“This platform is an avenue that would enable us to dialogue with the government. We need to understand why people are carrying arms, and iis because the economy is bad. Our youth must drop their guns and come for dialogue.
“We, at the organization, don’t believe in protest or crisis. We believe in negotiations and dialogue. So our youths, whether from the north, east or west, must dialogue to find solutions to the insecurity. Most of the people who do these killings are not educated and have no jobs.
“The insecurity issue in Nigeria is like talking about sickness, we need to get to the root of that sickness. There is a root cause of this banditry. What do they really want? What is their motive? The truth is motives differ. If you come to the South East, we have the Indigenous People of Biafra and we know what they want, even though what we think they want is beyond what we are seeing now.
“In the South-East, there is no business on Monday but yet people don’t go to work on Monday. That means there is something fundamental that we need to know.
“I believe that my coming on board as Diplomatic Head of IHRC will give us an avenue and ample opportunity to reach out to those carrying guns to see how they can drop their guns. Lets us reason together and engage the government. we can even form the east. By the time we get it right, our people will come back and invest. With this platform we have today, Nigeria is going to be a better place,” Hezekiah said.
He also expressed alarm about the departure of young people from Nigeria to other nations, saying that this problem requires the declaration of an emergency.
Earlier, Dr. Friday Sanni, Head of IHRC African Diplomatic Missions, said in his presentation that the recent attacks on jails across the nation were connected to congestion.
He emphasized the necessity of adopting non-custodial sanctions like suspended sentences, community service, and fines, among others, in Nigeria’s legal system.
“The non-custodial sentencing introduced by the former Chief Judge of the FCT, Justice Ishaq Bello, is no longer being respected that is why the prison that has facilities for 50 inmates is now accommodating 500 people. This is also why our prisons have become vulnerable to attacks. If we have a justice system that is proactive, all the violence in the country shall become history”, Sanni stated.
In order to ensure that the elections in 2023 are held in a peaceful environment, he continued, the organization would be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Conference of Nigerian political parties.