By Fortune Abang
The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) on Sunday underscored constant dialogue as the panacea for resolving conflicts in the country.
The Director-General of the institute, Dr Bakut Bakut, told a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum in Abuja on Sunday that constant dialogue was the only option for Nigeria to overcome its prevailing conflicts.
He said that although efforts had been made to tackle conflicts through the use of force, more could be achieved, if dialogue could be used as a strategic approach to dealing with conflicts.
“If you want to use the kinetic approach which is what they use – force, you will not solve the problem, especially with this kind of insurgency.
“There is this talk by Boko Haram that they want to create a state but in reality what they are doing is just making life difficult for people not necessarily because they are creating a state.
“So the issue is how do we deal with that? Is it going to be (kinetic) — armed forces? The answer is no.
“You have to bring in civil society organisations, faith-based organisations, religious leaders, community leaders or even security agencies.
“So when you have both parties agreeing to pursue dialogue in resolving problems, it becomes easy.
“So until we get to the point of understanding that the critical segment of our society must be included in governance, we will continue to have problems.’’
Bakut said the need for dialogue was not in any way to suggest that there should be no sanction for people carrying arms against the state.
“With dialogue, it would be easier to solve conflicts. But rather than have dialogue given the opportunity to have dialogue, what did the state do eventually. Some people decided that the best thing to do is to use the gun.
“Supposing there was negotiation, there was dialogue? Don’t you think we probably would have doused the conflict?
“So when we say use dialogue, it does not mean terrorists should be rewarded or not be held responsible.
“Look for opportunity to have a conversation that will reduce tension or bring about a solution.
“We must do that because if we do not do that, conflict will escalate and become a bigger problem.
“So we start by saying `let us start from here. What is it that you want?’ Once you begin that with then you have a level of conflict reduced,” the don added. (NAN)