The Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission has warned stakeholders and leaders in the South West to guard against statements that give the impression that the region was in crisis due to increasing reports of kidnapping and robberies on the highways.
The commission, in a statement issued at the weekend by itsDirector General, Mr Seye Oyeleye, said it was “averse to the spate of robberies and abductions on our roads and highways and economic sabotage by trespassers on farmlands in the region.”
It however urged residents not to entertain fear, insisting that the region is not in crisis. It said “contrary to the alarmist, exaggerated and sometimes misrepresentation of facts by mischievous elements on social media and other fora, Western Nigeria largely remains peaceful, safe, welcoming and harmonious to all law abiding people and not in a state of crisis.”
The commission called on influential leaders in the region to exercise restraints in their comments in order not to aggravate the current situation.
“DAWN Commission also calls on all those with influence, including political, religious and traditional leaders, to exercise and encourage restraint and to refrain from incitement to hostility or violence, even in moments of outrage. An escalation of inflammatory rhetoric by influential persons or groups at a moment like this has the potential to aggravate the growing unease and could ultimately serve the interests of those averse to peace in the region,” it said.
The commission also commended governors in the region for deciding to hold a security summit as a strategy to combat the growing challenge.
It expressed confidence with the summit, the incidents of kidnapping and other security challenges in the region will soon come to an end judging by the commitment of the governors.
According to Oyeleye, DAWN Commision has been mandated by governors in the region to organize the security summit which is expected to hold by end of June.
He said the commission supports efforts of the Federal Government and state governors to cooperate in addressing the problem.
“DAWN Commission supports all efforts by State and Federal authorities and the International Community to ensure the protection of people in these areas, and appeals to relevant authorities not to relent in their efforts at ensuring that perpetrators and those directly or indirectly responsible for these crimes capable of disrupting the peace of the Region face justice and are held accountable for their crimes,” he said.
The commission promised to sustain its efforts in mobilizing stakeholders and providing the framework for regional development.
“DAWN Commission being the regional development institution pursuing the composite development of Western Nigeria under a co-operative and collaborative framework, will continue to mobilize and work in a concerted effort with a variety of actors and stakeholders regionally, nationally and globally to preventing security, incitement to violence and to avert the risk of communal crisis in Western Nigeria and Nigeria as a whole,” it stated.