The Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said until Nigerians entrench a culture of peace and non-violence, all efforts towards developing the country will be a mirage.

Lai Mohammed made this known in Ibadan, Oyo State while delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of a 2-day National Conference on Peace, Culture 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).

Represented by Mr. Richard Makan, Deputy Director (External Cultural Relations) Lai Mohammed said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari recognizes peace and security as essential factors in national development, hence, its resolve to give national security priority.

In his words “It is a known fact that there cannot be development in an environment devoid of peace and security. It is also a fact that until we are able to entrench a culture of peace and non-violence in our body polity, all efforts geared towards development would be a mirage”.

He maintained that government on its part has put in measures to ensure that threats to peace and security in the country are dealt with. He said such threats include the insurgency in the North-East, restiveness in the Niger Delta, incidences of kidnapping and armed robbery, and the recent conflicts between herdsmen and host communities.

While commending royal fathers who attended the conference from all parts of the country for their continued support towards the conference, Lai Mohammed who said their presence is a clear demonstration that they understand the importance of peace and security to national development however maintained that achieving sustainable peace and security in Nigeria is the responsibility of all and not just for the security agencies alone.

Speaking earlier, the Acting Executive Secretary of NICO, Mr. Louis Eriomala said the conference aims at emphasizing the critical importance of the cultural dimension in Nigeria’s quest for sustainable peace and security as well as the unique role of our traditional rulers in ensuring peace in the country.

According to him, peace and security of life and property are pre-conditions for progress and development of any human society. Therefore, he said there is need for urgent steps to be taken to address key issues that are capable of escalating conflicts. Failure to do so, he averred, will lead to channelling resources which can be used for human development to military and security interventions.

He expressed optimism that if Nigerians are adequately sensitized to appreciate the critical importance of peace and security to the fulfilment of their yearnings and aspirations, threats to peace and security will be drastically reduced.

The NICO Acting ES who also called for constitutional roles for traditional rulers maintained that remarkable achievements can be made if the cultural dimensions to addressing our peace and security challenges are adopted. To him, a bottom-up grassroots mobilization approach steered by our highly esteemed monarchs can go a long way in complimenting the efforts of our security agencies.

Other dignitaries present at the event was the Executive Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, Senator Abiola Ajimobi who was represented by the Chief of Staff to the Executive Governor, Dr. Gbade Ojo: Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Hon. Toye Arulogun;  former Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Emeritus Professor Ayodeji Banjo; Professor Olu Obafemi of the University of Ilorin; Secretary-General, NATCOM-UNESCO, Mr. Kehinde Ayotunde, staff and directors of NICO, as well as heads of federal government parastatals in Oyo State.

Caleb Nor

Media Assistant to ES

NICO, Abuja