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Shettima calls for dialogue to address South East challenges

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Vice President Kashim Shettima has given his nod to adopting a non-kinetic approach to tackling insecurity in the South East region of the country.

The Vice President stated this on Tuesday when he received a delegation led by Benjamin Kalu, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa.

The delegation under the auspices of the Peace In South East Project (PISE-P) visited the Vice President to present the initiative and invite him for the launch of the project that proposes a non-kinetic solution to the crisis in the South East region.

After briefly introducing the new initiative, the Vice President endorsed the concept, noting that the “approach is the most beautiful I have seen so far.

“We need to build bridges; there is a need for a handshake; that way, those that have not been radicalized can be captured,” he added.

Shettima further explained the wisdom in adopting a non-kinetic approach in addressing the security situation in the South East, saying it would save the region from endless war.

He stated: “Unless we want to engage in an endless war of attrition, a non-kinetic solution to the crisis in the South East must be explored and deployed. The most atrocious of wars are, at the end of the day, sorted out on the negotiation table.

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“How you build bridges will determine how far you go as a people and society. We have to reach out to the youths and empower them. Once we empower them, the crisis, the agitation and insecurity will vanish”.

Earlier in his address, Kalu, had reiterated the call for a non-kinetic approach to addressing the security challenges facing the South East region.

“We understand that many zones in the country face similar security challenges,” he said. “However, PISE-P proposes a non-kinetic approach to address these issues that have impacted the South East and Nigeria economy,” he said.

He stressed the urgency of finding solutions, saying, “We cannot ignore these challenges; we must face them head-on. The current situation has severely affected our lives and sense of unity.”

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Kalu expressed optimism that the Peace in South East Project could bring hope to the region, similar to how other parts of the country have seen improvement.

He emphasized the need for new solutions, acknowledging that past approaches have not yielded the desired results.

Kalu highlighted the importance of addressing the sociological factors contributing to the unrest, expressing belief that a non-kinetic approach, focusing on changing the narrative and reorienting the people’s minds, can be more effective.

“We want to start a conversation that helps change the perception and mindset in the South East,” he explained, adding that “this cannot be achieved through guns and violence.”

The Deputy Speaker emphasized the need for initiatives that foster a sense of belonging and inclusion, even as he acknowledged the government’s limitations and stressed the importance of collaborating with development partners under the Peace in South East Project.

Members of the delegation included Hin. Leko Gambo, member representing Dass/Bogoro/Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency of Bauchi State; Hon. Jonathan Ajirioghene Ukodhiko, member representing Isoko North/South Federal Constituency of Delta State; Hon. Ibori-Suenu Erhiatake, member representing Ethiope East/Ethiope West Federal Constituency of Delta State; Hon. Bukar Talba, member representing the Monguno / Nganzai /Marte Federal Constituency of Borno State; Hon Emeka Wogu, former Minister of Labour and Productivity; Hon. Toby Okechukwu, the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and Mr Elton Onwu.
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