By Solomon Asha
Communities in Cross River have been charged to consciously and deliberately develop some conflict resolution and reconciliation mechanisms to settle differences peacefully without resorting to violence and wanton destruction of lives and property.
The immediate past Deputy Governor of Cross River State and Chairman, Communal Crisis Panel of Inquiry gave this advice while carrying out on the spot assessment of the damages incurred as a result of the conflicts that had ravaged the communities of Mkpani, Nko, Inyima, Ebo in Onyadama, Ababene and Iyamitete in company of the other members of the panel recently.
Barrister Cobham who expressed displeasure at the level of destruction of both private and public institutions at Mkpani described the action as callous and uncalled for, especially at this period of economic recession, stressing that certainly this was not the way to move forward and bring development to our communities.
His words,“I am in deep shock with the level of damage I have seen here, especially against the backdrop of the current economic situation in the country, to have embarked on this level of destruction of sensitive public properties that has to do with the future of our children is an untoward character, callous, reprehensive and repulsive. Massive intervention including standard ICT centre, laboratory and library were provided by the administration of Senator Imoke in the destroyed schools and all these have gone down the smoke”, Cobham lamented.
He went further to assert,“I don’t want believe that anybody who had a good education will burn down a school because the entire future of this community, this State hinges on facilities like these. I am a product of public school. When facilities like this are put in place, it should be protected because we don’t know if a President of Nigeria will come from here, and by destroying such facilities, you are tempering with the future of our generation”.
Cobham who called on all the communities involved to give peace a chance stressed the need for the people to learn to hold their passion, learn to accommodate one another and imbibe the virtue of peace and harmonious living as all the communities involved in the crises have some reasonable relationship with one another, adding that the “anger of a brother should be felt in the flesh and not the bones, but this one has gone even to the bone marrows”.
The panel Chairman also expressed regret that the healthcare facility at Inyima was among property destroyed during the crises while calling on the people to continue to maintain peace and allow the Committee to accomplish its assignment and submit the report to the State Government, explaining that even boundary demarcation will avail nothing if the people themselves refuse to imbibe peace and evolve conflict resolution mechanisms among them.
“Boundary does not bring peace, peace can only come from the people’s minds, when they agree to live together in peace and harmony. Even if government demarcate a boundary, it will not bring peace, instead, the leadership of the various communities involved should come together to seek for an amicable solution to the lingering problems with their neighbours, live within the bound of law, control your youths.
“Myself and other members of the Committee are not happy with what we have witness right from Mkpani, Nko, Inyima, and here in Ebo/Onyadama. These are not the progressive ways of doing things, but moving one step forward and five steps backward. We do not come to address you but to assess first hand evident in addition to your written and oral evident to enable write our report. People have lost their lives, property destroyed, but I want to let you know that the problem all of us collectively share is greater than the issues that causes us to fight one another”, he said.
Concluding, he maintained: “Elders should control their youths, the youths should listen to their elders. Learn to forgive one another as two wrongs cannot make a right”.
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