COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 1ST NATIONAL DIALOGUE ORGANISED BY THE CIVIL LIBERTIES ORGANISATION (CLO), AKWA IBOM STATE BRANCH IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE OFFICE OF THE SENIOR SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT ON NIGER DELTA AFFAIRS AT THE AUDITORIUM OF THE NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS (IMAGE HOUSE), INFORMATION DRIVE, OFF BABANGIDA AVENUE, UYO, AKWA IBOM STATE OF NIGERIA ON FRIDAY, 18TH JUNE, 2021.
The 1st National Dialogue, which had as its theme: Democracy, Insecurity and the Unity of Nigeria, held under the Chairmanship of the member representing Etinan/Nsit Ubium/Nsit Ibom Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Onofiok Luke.
The Keynote Speaker was the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang. The Guest Speaker was the National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon (Barr.) Emmanuel Enoidem, who delivered an address through his representative, Dr. Tom Fredfish.
The 1st National Dialogue drew participants from a broad spectrum of society, including the Paramount Ruler of Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, His Royal Majesty, Edidem (Dr.) Edet Akpan Inyang, Am.P., JP, who was Father of the Day, and former President-General of Oron Union, Chief (Mrs.) Janet Amba PHF, who was Mother of the Day.
Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Akwa Ibom State, Comrade Ini Ememobong, who was a Special Guest Discussant, was represented by a Director in the State Ministry of Information, Mr. James Edet. The Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State Command, CP Andrew Amiengheme, represented by the Police Public Relations Officer, Akwa Ibom State, SP Odiko MacDon, delivered an address.
Other participants were: the Chairman, Governing Council of Akwa Ibom State College of Science and Technology, Nung Ukim Ikono, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ime Bassey Okon; the Chairman, Ibom Power Company, Engr. Etido Inyang; the Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Ubong Emmanuel, represented by the Secretary, Mr. Calistus Andem; a Commissioner in the Federal Character Commission, Obonganwan Dora Ebong; a former National President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Youth Wing and General Overseer of the HolyGhost Ambassadors Church, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Apostle Nyeneime Andy, represented the Christian Community in Akwa Ibom State; the Sarkin Hausawa/Vice President-General of Akwa Ibom State Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Hassan Sadauki, represented the Hausa/Muslim Community in Akwa Ibom State; the President-General of Igbo Community in Akwa Ibom State, Hon. (Elder) S. N. Orie Ebekuedike, represented the Igbo Community. Other key discussants included the Chairman, Ibibio Elders Forum, Hon. (Dr.) Emmanuel Akpanobong; the Chairperson, National Association of Women Journalists, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Mrs. Uduak Ekong; the Chairperson, Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Mrs. Idongesit Ashameri; a former Commissioner for Environment in Akwa Ibom State, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson; a former Chief Press Secretary to Senator Godswill Akpabio, former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Usoro I. Usoro, and a former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Mr. Israel Umoh, among other eminent personalities. In all, 120 participants attended and participated in the 1st CLO National Dialogue.
Participants reviewed the situation in the nation generally and identified injustice, joblessness, and religious and ethnic balkanisation as the causes of insecurity in the country. Attention was focused on measures to deepen the nation’s democracy, curb insecurity, and strengthen the unity of the peoples of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Participants were concerned about the current security situation in Nigeria; intense agitations for restructuring, including violent agitations for secession; farmers/herders crisis, and youth unemployment.
Rising from the 1st CLO National Dialogue, the participants affirmed their belief in the unity of Nigeria and resolved that:
- the sustenance of democracy is dependent on the unity and security of the peoples of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- equity, justice, access to qualitative education, and the provision of employment for the nation’s teeming youths are the panacea for insecurity.
- the implementation of true federalism will deepen the nation’s democracy, curb agitations and divisive tendencies, and foster national development.
- there is need to overhaul the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to emplace true federalism and restructure governance with a view to ensuring equity, fairness and justice.
- the farmers/herders clashes can be checked through the implementation of the relevant provisions of the Land Use Act, a statute of constitutional dimension, which vests the State Governors and Local Government Chairmen with the powers to allocate land. It was agreed that the Governors and Local Government Chairmen can, under the Land Use Act, allocate land for grazing purpose for livestock generally. Participants recommended that an owner of livestock who allows his livestock to stray and
destroy a farmer’s crops should bear the cost of the damage.
- the profiling of youths as cultists and miscreants leads to low self esteem and estrangement of the youths, a root cause of insecurity. Participants called for an end to the profiling of the youths as cultists and miscreants.
- the stigmatisation of certain tribes or ethnic groups leads to low self esteem and estrangement of members of such tribes or ethnic groups, which fuels insecurity and disunity. Participants called for an end
to such negative tendencies.
- freedom of expression and dialogue are necessary ingredients of sustainable democracy, peace, unity and national development. Participants recommended sustained, periodic national dialogue, cutting across political parties, ethnicity, religion, professions, and other diversities.
- Participants commended all ethnic groups in Akwa Ibom State for co-existing in peace and unity. Participants applauded the Government of Akwa Ibom State for providing support to the security agencies in the State.
- Participants commiserated with family members of Police officers and other security personnel who lost their lives in the course of carrying out their duties in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria.
- Participants called on the State and Federal Governments to improve funding for the Police and emplace improved welfare packages to the Police and other security agencies in Akwa Ibom State.
- Participants made a case for the regular training and retraining of Police personnel and other security personnel in order to equip them with modern approaches to combating crime.
- Participants commended the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Akwa Ibom State for convoking the One-day National Dialogue on Democracy, Insecurity and the Unity of Nigeria, and expressed gratitude to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, for collaborating with the CLO to execute the 1st National Dialogue.
Otuekong Franklyn Isong
(State Chairman of CLO)
Comrade Nsemeke Udoakpan
(State Vice Chairman of CLO/Chairman, Planning Committee)
Comrade (Barr.) Christopher Ekpo
(State Secretary of CLO/Chairman, Communique Drafting Committee)
Dated this Friday, the 18th day of June, 2021.