The Voice of Change Nigeria Foundation, a non-governmental organisation yesterday took its message of peace to the Minister of Niger Delta ministry, Mr. Godswill Orubebe urging for cooperation and support from Nigerians as it set to embark on a nationwide peace advocacy rally.
The group which consist of popular movie artists, renowned footballers among others urged Nigerians to stand up against restiveness, violence and militancy, stressing that Nigeria can only realise her full potential as a nation in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.
Speaking for the group in Abuja during a courtesy call to the ministry of Niger Delta, the Speaker of the group, Mr. Emeka Ike decried a situation where the country was put under palpable tension by politicians, saying that no nation has ever move forward in the right direction an atmosphere of chaos.
A statement signed by the Director General of the Organisation, Mr. Richard Ossai, quoted the Speaker as saying that time has come for all stakeholders in Nigeria to rise up to embrace peace and reject all forms of violence.
“We can no longer sit back and watch. The vision of our heroes past for a united and indivisible country that would be the pride of the black race must be achieved regardless of our differences in tongues and creed,” he said. Adding that had the artists and well-meaning citizens in Egypt and Syria stood up for peace, perhaps, the ugly situations in those countries would have been averted. The group vowed to take its advocacy for peace to every part of the country including the Niger Delta and north east where there are militants and insurgents.
In his response, Mr Orubebe expressed happiness with the group, saying that the appreciation of the need for a peaceful Nigeria by the youths would only encourage government to continue to pursue its goal of good governance for Nigerian. “There is no substitute for peace, we urge Nigerians to always embrace dialogue rather than taking up arm as peace are better won on the table than in violence.”
Also, the group paid a courtesy call on the Special Adviser to the President on Project Evaluation and Monitoring, Prof. Silvester Monye who commended them for their foresight and love for their fatherland. “It is difficult to believe that young Nigerians particularly artists have taken this initiatives,” Prof. Monye remarked.
According to the presidential adviser: “At a point in time past, Port Harcourt was a no go area because of youth restiveness and militancy in the Niger Delta. The military were mobilized to the area to minimise the damage on the economy. The oil production level was reduced to 700,000barrell per day, so much that we could not meet our obligations as a country,” he said adding: “from the same source today 2.5million bpd, we are doing 3times today and if there is peace everywhere, we can do more,” he said.
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