A PROFESSOR of International Law, Prof. Obiora Okafor, has called on the Federal Government to look into certain areas of the revenue generation and sharing, in a way to bring an end to incessant conflicts and violence around the country.
The scholar, from York University in Canada; and a Gani Fawehinmi Distinguished Professor of Human rights, was the guest speaker at a seminar organised by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), in Abuja yesterday. It was organised to examine the challenges of intra-state and socio-cultural fragmentations as well as the efficacy of applying international laws the fragmentations have resulted in inter-group frictions and internecine violence.
The seminar, which was funded by the United Nations Development programme (UNDP), was titled, “Challenges of international Law and Socio-Cultural fragmentation in Nigerian Society: The way forward for Peace and Stability”.
While speaking, Okafor noted that the problems generating violence in Nigeria were not those of revenue sharing but that of revenue generation. He advised that all states should be granted the freedom and supportive legal environment to generate revenue from their natural resources rather than a situation where they have to depend solely on Federal Government allocations, which is generated from a small part of the country.
According to him, states should exploit their solid minerals and laws preventing them from such exploitation should be looked into by the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, he said that as supported by the African Charter and International law, people should be compensated when mineral resources are exploited from their land.
Director-General of IPCR and convener of the seminar, Dr. Joseph Golwa, said that studies have shown that Nigeria is a country that has witnessed on progressive basis, conflicts, ethno-religious bitterness, mistrust, insecurity, crisis of governance and pessimism over the possibility of effective development with some of the conflicts having intended consequences while others have unintended consequences that are not contemplated or foreseen by the actors.
However, whether intended or not, the conflicts have had destructive effects on Nigeria’s plural society – The economy, and the socio-cultural fabric of the people.
According to him, the nature of conflicts in Nigeria is associated with the history, processes and distortions inherent in state formation.
“The ethnic identity, which characterised the colonial and post-colonial period, and the nature of the political economy has brought to the fore the centrality of the state in defining several relational issues in Nigeria.
Some of these include the issue of social exclusion and identity conflicts that are aggravated by the very high level of poverty of many Nigerians on one hand, and governance challenges on the other hand.
The other issues are citizenship and indigeneship contestations, inter-group relationships and other factors that encourage ethnic, religious and communal conflicts”, he said.