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Ethnic tension: Olawepo-Hashim warns against divisive comments

Published by The Nation on Mon, 22 Feb 2021


By Yusuf Alli, AbujaA former presidential candidate, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has advised Nigerians against divisive speeches and actions.He said pitching one ethnic group against the other would not help the country to survive.Olawepo-Hashim also said now was the time for Nigerians to motivate and encourage the various security agencies to step up their games.He called for the devolution of powers to states as well as state and local police to address the nations security challenges.Olawepo-Hashim, who made his position known in a statement in Abuja on ethnic tension in the country asked Nigerian leaders to speak as statesmen but not ethnic champions.He said he was worried about the growing divisive tendencies in the country.Read Also: Tinubu to Nigerians: Dont turn security challenges into ethnic, religious crisesHe said age-long farmers-herders conflict, exacerbated by other security challenges, must never be a justification for ethnic stereotyping capable of provoking ethnic pogroms.His statement partly reads: All patriotic Nigerians should be worried. I am worried. We all have roles to play. Community leaders and social organisations must tone down divisive rhetorics. For collective survival, it is urgent for Nigerians to tone down divisive actions and speeches.Now is the time to motivate and encourage various security agencies to step up their games. Now is the time for government leaders to act as statesmen. We must unite to save the nation.Public officers at all levels must avoid statements and actions that show support for any party to the conflict as it has a tendency to undermine national cohesion and security.Pitching one ethnic group against the other and pushing for attacks and reprisals are ill-wind that can only assure mutual destruction.He also offered recipes for ending the recurring herders-farmers clashes in the country.Olawepo-Hashim added:On clashes between herders and farmers all over Nigeria, it is well agreed by all reasonable citizens and leaders that a pastoral practice that ruins the legitimate businesses of others, must immediately give way to a more acceptable and modern arrangement.We need a transition to a system that accommodates the aspirations of poor farmers and herders who have long been neglected by successive governments. This is the most urgent task of public policy at both state and federal levels.Perhaps it is time again to renew our earlier call for devolution of power to the states in policing and other critical areas, in order to lessen the burden of the Federal Government in policing.Security questions requiring prompt attention would be taken at state levels before they fester into a broader national crisis, providing incentives for divers centrifugal forces to jump in.
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