A Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Emeritus Ayodeji Banjo, (CON) has identified the discrimination between indigenes and non-indigenes as one of the factors responsible for conflicts in some parts of the country, saying Nigerian laws are also, partly, responsible for the discriminations.

Prof. Ayo Banjo was speaking as Chairman at the opening ceremony of a 2-day National Conference on Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers, organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at the Prof. Theophilus Ogunlesi Hall, UCH, Ibadan, Oyo State.

Banjo said there is the need for Nigerians to begin to cultivate a friendly attitude to non-indigenes living in their midst. He maintained that traditional rulers must also rise up to ensuring peace in their domains, which he believes is the most important responsibility of the traditional rulers; stressing that in every part of the world, the institution of kingship evolves to impose order and peace on the community.

In his words “in the pre-colonial days, peace was necessary for the colonial power to exploit the territory maximally. Now, colonial rule has been over for more than half a century and the responsibility of ensuring peace in the country has devolved on elected governments at the state and federal levels. One important way in which modern Nigeria differs from traditional Nigeria is that, increasingly, natural rulers now have to deal with mixed populations, which sometimes turn out to be a disruptor of peace”.

According to him, Nigeria has come to a point where heavy investments in peace processes are non-negotiable and to achieve that, we must devise an environment that is conducive to peace, using all agents available at all times to foster order and peace.

He described as unfortunate, the situation where Nigerians are invariably asked to indicate the local government areas they come from while completing most official documents, saying, tension and conflict can be reduced if people owe allegiance to where they live, and may have lived for many years, instead of being unnecessarily made to feel alienated anywhere in their own country.

The university don therefore called on all traditional rulers to develop genuine and close friendships across the country that will be durable and free of government expenditure and patronage. To him, once the feeling of oneness permeates the country in this informal way, the possibilities of conflict and disruption of peace will be considerably reduced.

Caleb Nor

Media Assistant to ES

NICO, Abuja