The Honourable Minister for Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, has extolled the efforts of Management and Staff of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), for its initiative on a cultural dimension to peace and security in the country.
Duke made this commendation on Monday, May 7th, 2012, at the opening ceremony of a Two-Day National Conference, organized by the Institute at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, on the theme: “Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers and Local Government Chairmen.”
According to him, the conference, which is designed to serve as a platform for robust deliberation on the cultural dimension of peace and security, could not have come at a more auspicious time, considering the current security challenges the nation is facing.
He said: “there is no gainsaying the fact that Local Government Chairmen and Traditional Rulers represent two key grassroot institutions, which have pivotal roles to play in the promotion of culture of peace and non-violence, stressing that having them as the main participants at this conference is also a welcome development.”
Identifying the breakdown of our cherished cultural values and the failure of critical institutions such as family, community, educational system and religious bodies, to live up to their responsibilities of laying solid moral foundation for the younger generation, as factors responsible for incidences of crime and violence in Nigeria, the Minister stressed that an aggressive sensitization and public enlightenment campaign is of utmost importance.
Duke, who called for the education of all segments of society to appreciate the nexus between the culture of peace and national development, emphasized that the maintenance of peace and security is of paramount importance to the present administration.
Speaking earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who maintained that culture is what gives national pride and identity to a people with the appropriate moral values and right perspective for comprehending their history and environment, however, attributed the current crises in Nigeria’s socio-political life to the cultural disorientation of the citizenry.
His stated: “In place of the cherished cultural values of fair-play, kindness, patriotism and communal living, our citizens have imbibed negative practices of dishonesty, stealing, disrespect for elders, cultism, ritual killings and other related criminal acts, alien to our culture;” and that these vices are at variance with the society our parents lived in where social order was maintained.
While expressing satisfaction that NICO had marked another milestone by taking its cultural orientation mandate to partnering other agencies to take a critical look at our core values that have been eroding over the years and to chart a way forward in the interest of the present and future generations, the NICO Boss emphasized that if Nigerians begin to see security as everyman’s business and stand to identify with peace building initiatives, the security challenge the country is facing will be ameliorated.