Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, has advocated for the improvement of social infrastructure and youth empowerment in the South-East geo-political zone to bring an end to insecurity.
He said that such measures subsumed in the non-kinetic approaches have not been well explored.
Kalu gave the advice when he received the Resident Program Director, International Republican Institute, IRI, Santiago Stocker, who paid him a courtesy call Monday evening, in Abuja.
The Deputy Speaker said that it was in a bid to end insecurity in the region that he is championing the “Peace in South East Project ( PISE) alongside his colleagues.
He said: “Let me also thank you for what you’re doing with regard to these identity crisis issues within various regions. It’s an issue but I believe that some of these crises that we have in some areas around the country, could be resolved more with non-kinetic approaches. I believe that non-kinetic approaches have not been utilized to their fullness.
“One of the causes of all these issues is identity crisis, and finding a way to navigate around that may profile a sustainable solution. Are there any sociological needs about the causative factors around this issue? Did anything prompt you? Who can tell us? Is it infrastructure decay?
“In my area, where I come from, one of the things they are talking about is marginalization. We are not recognised. Are we part of this identity crisis? Are we part of Nigeria? We are not part of Nigeria. Why are they asking those questions? Is it that the infrastructure is not sufficient? If you go there, you find out for yourself that infrastructure is not sufficient. This is a fact. I couldn’t travel from one town to the other for 11 hours. I met about six feet of pothole on a federal road, and six feet on a major highway. So if you’re bringing your goods, you will not pass through for three days, four days.
“It breeds frustration. It breeds confusion. It gives you a sense of alienation from the commonwealth that’s supposed to stimulate national cohesion and national loyalty. So, it depletes national loyalty. And once national loyalty is depleted, it affects national cohesion. And that is where you have the pockets of all those non-state actors. So, we should look into those areas and see what are the non-kinetic solutions to it.
“I’m happy you started this conversation. Your agency should support you, too, because it will be productive. Once you start having conversations in that regard, I also want you to support some of our programs, which are also tailored toward that.
“We have come up with a program called Peace in South East (PISE) Project. This is being anchored by the members of the parliament, both the House of Representatives and the Senate, especially members from that area. I founded that project, and it has the support of other members. So, what we want to do is, how do we bring in peace, not war? How do we calm the nerves of the people? Can we do that through our constituency projects, to put more facilities for our people? Do we do that through more empowerment?
“Do we do that through more establishment of federal government institutions around the area that will lead up to the names of the people? These are non-kinetic approaches and we are using legislative intervention to see how we can push it.
“I want you to drive that conversation as well because all we are looking for is a solution that will bring peace. And that is why you have peace and unity”.
Kalu however advised the non-state actors fuelling and fanning the embers of insecurity to organize themselves into a political party as one formidable way of projecting their demands.
“One advice I have given to these non-state actors as well is that, instead of killing each other for an agenda that you feel should be owned by the federal government, why don’t you form yourselves into a political party, and have it as your manifesto, those things you are saying political parties were not able to do? Why don’t you form yourself into a political party and then project it?”
The Deputy Speaker also assured the IRI Director of the parliament’s resolve to revisit the rejected five gender bills to engender female inclusion in the legislature.