The Vision Centre for Communication and Development Advocacy, VICCDA, has called on the Federal Government to urgently organise a Pan Nigerian conference to check current spate of inter-ethnic crises in parts of the country.
Gbenga Onayiga, VICCDA Acting Chairman, made the call in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mr Onayiga expressed optimism that the conference would help address the immediate and remote causes of the civil strife in parts of the country and proffer possible lasting solutions.
He added that the proposed conference should be presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari and attended by state governors, security chiefs, traditional rulers and representatives of relevant interest groups like herders and farmers.
The VICCDA acting chairman decried recent reports of inter-ethnic clashes across the country, warning that it could lead to a civil war if not immediately checked.
“Students of history and international relations would note that no country has ever survived two civil wars.
“Nigeria cannot, therefore, afford to be plunged into another avoidable disaster and war when we are supposed to be focussed and accelerate the pace of improving our grossly inadequate infrastructure.
“As the giant of Africa, Nigeria ought to be taking advantage of and derive strength and unity in her diversity and not entertaining ethnic and other primordial sentiments,” he said.
He, therefore, urged the media to display a high sense of professionalism and patriotism at this point in the country’s history by exercising restraint in their reportage of conflict sensitive events.
Mr Onayiga advised bloggers, especially against hitting up the polity by feeding the public with sensational and unverified reports on inter-ethnic clashes.
“We should always be conscious of the negative effect of some media reports on otherwise peace loving people of Nigeria.
“The possibility of reprisals due to the indiscretion of a reporter is rife,” Mr Onayiga stressed.
This, he said, was particularly on innocent and hard-working Nigerians who had been cohabiting peacefully over the years in states other than their states of origin.
The VICCDA is a non-governmental organisation working to promote good conduct, improve journalists’ ethical conduct and capacity building.