Vice President Kashim Shettima, on Tuesday, pledged support for a peace-building initiative in Nigeria’s South-east which has been ravaged by deadly attacks linked to Biafra agitation.
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, stated this while fielding questions from reporters after a meeting with Mr Shettima at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Kalu led a delegation of members of the Peace in South-east Project to interact with Mr Shettima.
Mr Kalu said the vice president gave his nod that it was time to adopt a different approach to finding a lasting solution to the socio-economic challenges bedevilling the South-east.
“Last week, I was invited by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Kashim Shettima, to visit the South-east. An invitation I obliged.
“In the course of that visit, we were able to do some needs analysis on what is happening in that zone and it was a great concern when we saw that the South-east needed a lot of help both in infrastructure and ecological problems.
“Like at the moment, Anambra State happened to be the ecological needs capital of the world with the highest level of erosion.”
Mr Kalu observed that the economy of the South-east region had gone down from what it used to be.
“And as you know, if the income per capital of a particular geo-economic zone goes low affecting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of that zone, invariably it affects the economy of the entire country.
“And we all know the reason. That is because of the insecurity in that zone that every other thing around the zone has been affected.
“We want to change the narrative. We want to have a paradigm shift from what it used to be to what it ought to be.”
Not for federal government alone
The lawmaker noted that an active business space in the South-east will contribute to the Nigerian economy.
He acknowledged that the current administration was taking the right steps to enhance social cohesion that would drive national loyalty and patriotism.
According to him, the job cannot be done by the federal government alone, and there is a need for all hands to be on deck to find a solution to the high needs of the zone.
“We did the same when it was South-south, we are doing the same in the North-east at the moment. And South-south, as you know, has remained a business heaven now.
“What is happening in the South-east now needs an intervention beyond what the government can do.
“And that is why we came up with an organisation called Peace in South-east Project to be able to drive this organisation which is based on using non-kinetic means towards resolving the problem of the South-east.”
Mr Kalu said that militarisation and kinetic means should be replaced by non-kinetic means.
“This will enable us to do a sociological analysis of the causative factors that had given birth to these challenges that we are faced with.”
Mr Kalu commended all the governors and traditional institutions in the South-east for their commitment and efforts towards the restoration of peace and prosperity in the region.
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