Prof. Oshita Oshita, the Director-General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), has called for tolerance among Nigerians in efforts to find lasting solutions to the challenges confronting the country.
Oshita, who made the remark in Owerri on Tuesday at a workshop organised for South-East traditional rulers, urged the monarchs to promote peaceful co-existence and non-violence in the domain.
The director-general commended the roles traditional rulers played in the resolution of several disputes that would have escalated to violent conflicts.
Represented by Mr Emmanuel Mamman, IPCR Deputy Director of Research, Oshita, said that traditional rulers played specific roles and functions in providing safety and security to their communities.
According to him, the roles of the monarchs are enormous and they must be encouraged.
“It is also important to enhance their skills to cope with emerging conflicts.
“A lot of disputes over land, boundary, herdsmen violence and the growing spate of protests over alleged marginalisation and discrimination need the attention of traditional rulers.
“Traditional rulers require requisite knowledge and skills to adequately respond and prevent conflicts from being violent.
“They should be able to build social cohesion, unity and peace in their communities; the inability of communities to manage disputes contributes to underdevelopment and poverty.
“Premium must be placed on having an effective conflict resolution and peace building mechanism in our communities,” he said.
Also speaking, Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo commended Oshita for his leadership at the institute towards the promoting peace in the state and Nigeria at large.
Okorocha, represented by Commandant-General, Imo Peace Advocate Corps, Mr Peter Ohagwa, said the activities carried out by the institute were laying structures for peace-building and conflict resolution in the country.
He said Imo, with the support of IPCR, had successfully inaugurated its Peace Advocate Corps with about 1,000 personnel carrying out peace and non-violence advocacy in the state.
According to him, meetings between herdsmen and other ethnic groups are consistently being organised towards the prevention of violent conflicts in the state.
The workshop was attended by traditional rulers from the five states from the geo-political zone – Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states.
The workshop has as theme: “Conflict Prevention, Peaceful Co-existence, Tolerance and Alternative Dispute Resolution in the South East for traditional rulers and civil society organisations.” (NAN)