The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has appealed to leaders across the country to take deliberate measures and speak out to de-escalate the rising tension, and to build confidence in the system.
Dr Garba Abari, the Director-General, NOA, who made the appeal in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja, urged leaders to promote and preach peace, justice, unity and tolerance to the citizenry.
Abari, in a special letter of appeal to selected community and religious leaders across the country, called on leaders across political, religious, traditional, professional and the social landscape to do all within their powers to arrest the situation from further deterioration.
“At these very challenging times, what the nation and its citizens need are deeper reflection and sobriety in what we do and say, as truly, the forces of disunity and national disintegration are at work.
“Community, political, religious and economic leaders in the country should urgently build consensus on the need to rescue Nigeria from the grips of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, secessionism and violent cultism to avoid a slide into anarchy,” he said.
According to the director-general, some social and orthodox media platforms have been used to fan the embers of violence that now envelope the country.
He, therefore, admonished leaders to desist from all forms of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric, noting that “If we allow Nigeria to burn, it will consume all of us.”
Abari said that the Agency was concerned about the spate of violent attacks and killings of both security agents and innocent citizens, and destruction of public and private infrastructure across the country by violent groups.
He urged all Nigerians to, at this time, partner with government to bring about peace and stability.
Abari further stated that the activities of insurgents, bandits, hoodlums and ethnic militia in parts of the country ultimately hurt everyone in every part of the country.
He underscored the need for urgent and concerted peace building measures that looked beyond parochial benefits and prioritised national interest.
The director-general specifically appealed to youths, whom, he said, constituted more than 80% of the violent groups around the country to shun violence.
The NOA boss said: “The youths, especially, must realise that they are the biggest stakeholders and beneficiaries of a peaceful Nigeria.
“They should, therefore, make concerted efforts to build a stable nation where they will realise all of their life ambitions and potentials.
“Crises will disrupt our lives, abort our dreams and leave us with the future task of building the country anew.”
Abari urged stakeholders to take as an opportunity, government’s willingness to partner with individuals, groups, other agencies, men and women of good conscience
“And to influence and actualise the desire to build and restore peace in their communities and other areas of influence.
“Every person of influence in Nigeria should, at this time, work towards dissuading violence and galvanising all persons within their sphere of influence for the peace of the country,” the NOA boss said