A cleric, Sunday Onuoha, on Wednesday, called on the people in Nigeria’ South-east to eschew violence and embrace peace.
Mr Onuoha, who is a board member, Global Peace Foundation (GPF), gave the advice in a statement he made available to reporters in Abuja.
“It is said that ‘when brothers fight to death, a stranger inherits their property.’
“I make reference to this insightful adage in view of the agony we have all witnessed over the years; the pain and trauma that many people have gone through, and the various ways the lives and property of our people in the south-eastern part of Nigeria have been negatively impacted.
“The very essence of our human existence has been threatened by a perpetuation of injury, violation and scarring of our land; and we appear to be a people at war.
“It is painful to see these levels of broken or fragmented relationships everywhere, as it is leading us on a path of self-destruction.
“I therefore call for forgiveness and an attempt at reconciliation by all persons.
“If this does not happen – and happen fast – we shall all pay heavily for it and our children will not forgive us! The time to act is NOW,” said Mr Onuoha, who is a bishop.
Mr Onuoha stressed the need for dialogue and reconciliation between the government and non-state actors to check the increasing security challenges in the region.
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“Each group, both government and non-state actors, claiming to be acting on behalf of our people and defending our welfare – key players – must be brought to the dialogue table.
“Let us begin by forgiving one another first. At the dialogue table, may we all relinquish all moral indignation, give up the desire for retaliation and focus on the urgent need to regenerate our relationships,” he said.
According to him, “As we break the ‘kolanut of peace,’ signifying our mindset is tuned to allow peace to reign, may this cognitive process give us a fuller understanding and recognition of what hurts the other, and together agree on how to address our individual differences.
“We can do it, knowing fully well that there is no government that wants to manage an unstable, ungovernable society.
“In a family we all quarrel. Even the tongue and teeth sometimes have misunderstandings.
“The leaders of IPOB must see the pain on the faces of our people and be willing to forgive anyone they feel have offended them.
“The state actors should also look for a way of forgiving the agitators and treat everyone as members of the same family who have their ways of expressing themselves in protest to perceived injustice.
“I plead with all parties, in God’s name, to halt the trampling of rights immediately, and take steps to heal our land. Blessings and prayers as always, for the land of our birth,” the cleric said.