Foundation for the Move for Cognitive Justice says that national unity and integration has remained a challenge because of the entrenched structural injustice in the nations socio-economic and political settings.
The Founder and Chairman of the foundation, Dr Kajit Bagu, stated this in a paper entitled, “Peace Building, through Education and Positive Action, as Guaranteed Path Way for Meaningful Development.”
The paper presented in Kaduna at a peace building programme at the weekend organised by Southern Kaduna Youths Connect (SKY Connect) stressed that the nation socio-economic and political system was embedded with structural injustice that favours some few ethnic groups while placing others at disadvantage.
According to the paper presenter, unless there is a reform that address this structural injustice and give equal rights to all ethnic nationalities in the country, national integration would remain a mirage.
“We inherited a colonial structural system that is dominative, exploitative and characterised by injustice.
“To perpetuate their divide and rule policy, the British called the Yoruba, the Igbo and Hausa the majority and placed them over other ethnic nationalities they called the minorities.
“These so called dominant groups have continue to dominate the political, social and economic landscape of the country at the expense of the other nationalities that together made up the Nigerian nation.
“Until this structural injustice is dismantled, Nigeria would continue to suffer from all form of insecurity and conflict that continue to keep the country divided rather than united.”
He linked the security challenges in southern Kaduna and other parts of the country to the domination and marginalisation of one group over another, adding that there can never be peace in an atmosphere of injustice.
“The government tells waring communities to shield their sword and live peacefully with one another, while structural injustice that put them at war in the first place is ignored.
“How do you maintain peace when people are victimised, marginalised and deprived of their rights?.
“We need a fundamental structural reform that gives majority and minority ethnic nationalities, Muslim and non Muslims, men and women equal rights, “Bagu said.
Also speaking, Rev Mathias Yashim of Evangelical Church, Winning All (ECWA) Kaduna, also hampered on the need to make conscious and deliberate efforts towards building a lasting peace in the country.
Yashim urged the Federal Government to carry both the elderly and the youths along in their peace building processes.
According to him, there is a huge communication gap between the Federal Government and the communities faced with security challenges on the one hand, and elders and the youth of affected communities on the other.
“As such, the government, the elders and the youth are engaged in endless blame game, blaming one another for the security challenges that continued to threatened our national unity and development.
“We all need security, happy home and access to health services, education and employment. But we need to come together to tackle our challenges as a people.”
The clergy advised the youth of southern Kaduna to contribute their quota in finding lasting peace in the area, adding that in spite of all the challenges affecting the area, there are limitless opportunities to explore.
On her part, Mrs Shimite Bello, a financial expert, advised the youths of the area to lookout for investment opportunities in their locality and tap from Federal Government funding programmes to exploit such opportunities.
She encouraged them to be conscious of the happenings around them and grab any opportunity that comes up so as to be productive.
Earlier, one of the organisers of the event, Mr Clement Kuliak, explained that the forum has become necessary in view of current security and developmental challenges affecting the area.
Kuliak said that SKY Connect brings people of the area together quarterly to discuss issues, share experience and fashioned a way forward.