September 30, 2019


59th Independence: Rights group releases audio peace messages, calls for unity against violence


Audio messages in different Nigerian languages preaching peace and non-violence were released to the public on Sunday ahead of the country’s 59 independence Anniversary which takes place on Tuesday.

In the messages targeting about 50 million people, Nigerians were asked to put their differences aside and unite against violence and killings that threaten livelihood and sustainable development in Africa’s most populous country

According to Nigeria’s leading media-based pro-democracy group, the Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER), in collaboration with the Institute of International Education, (IIE) the country can overcome barricades of malice through constructive engagement and dialogue among Nigeria’s diverse ethnic and religious groups.

JODER said Nigeria faces the grim consequences of hate and division unless decisive actions are taken by the people to stand up for accord and understanding.

It said the divisions are orchestrated by poor leadership and the lack of an inspiring national spirit driven by the selfless desire for unity and prosperity of the people by those in authority.

In the message of goodwill ahead of the country’s 59th independence anniversary, signed by JODER’s Executive Director, Mr Adewale Adeoye, the group said human and industrial developments are difficult to achieve in an environment of hostility, constant prospects of violence and killings.

JODER said about 64,000 Nigerians die yearly in cases related to violence and that in recent times, poverty, corruption and stiff competition for limited opportunities have continued to fuel discord, rash killings and  social resentment.

“We are confronted with growing hate and a move towards arbitrary actions of individuals whose respect for the state and her institutions continue to fade away. Many people are taking laws into their hands. The state does not help through her brazen attacks on citizen rights. These actions lead to constant loss of lives and break down of order conducts in many parts of the country. We can bring an end to this through a people-driven initiative and popular platforms for conflict prevention” JODER said.

According to the group “The peace messages were produced in six Nigerian languages of Hausa, Igbo, Urhoba, Tiv, Yoruba and Pigin. It’s a contribution to the national discourse on peace and conflict prevention. The audio messages target no less than 50million Nigerians, mainly youths. The messages were designed to reach strategic groups and individuals whose actions are critical to peace building in the country. The means of distribution are radio and the social media”, Adeoye said. While Nigeria is threatened by violent conflict, the state and Federal authorities, and corporate institutions have not made unity and peace building a compelling agenda.

He said at present, there are bottled up disenchantments across the country that a little pin-touch can rupture. “Nigeria is notorious for her instability, religious distrust, inter-class suspicion, ethic divisions and constant friction” JODER said adding that Nigerians can stun these difficulties if they show determination to overcome artificial barriers created by political leaders.

The group said the spate of extremism in some parts of the country cannot be isolated from corruption and lack of opportunities seen in grim images of teeming population of young people who are impatient with a system that has not totally addressed their fears and aspirations.

It said it hoped the peace messages will stir the conscience of millions of people, definitely not all of them. “We hope it will lead to a change of mind, a change in attitude. We hope it will open a tiny place in the hearts of millions of Nigerians who will be inspired to promote peace and work towards the prevention of conflict and violence in their own dominion.”

Listen and download the audio here:

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