The Minister, Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Saturday disclosed that strategic meetings, consultations with Stakeholders in the Niger Delta Region, coupled with the support of the Federal Government has led to the current peace and stability being enjoyed in the region.
Akpabio stated this in his remarks, at the Special Stakeholders Dinner, organized by the Harvest Committee of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Cathedral of Unity, held at the Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
Represented at the event by his Chief of Staff, Sir Etekamba Umoren, Akpabio said, “In my search for peace, I have traversed the length and breadth of the Niger Delta Region meeting various stakeholders, in some instances, in the midst of clamour for hostilities, from Bakassi to Okrika, to Ogoni Land, Yenagoa, Warri, Gbaramatu, all in an effort to ensure peace”.
According to the former Senate Minority Leader, “We have also held various stakeholders’ engagements through the office of the Minister of State of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs with different Host Communities, all geared towards ensuring lasting peace in the region.
“The efforts of the Ministry with that of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Presidential Amnesty Program and those of the Youth Leaders of the United Ethnic Nationalities Forum have collectively helped to engender better understanding of issues and government policies resulting in the Region being the most peaceful in the country today.
“I am delighted to stand before this August gathering as I make my remarks on the ongoing discussions by the Methodist Church Nigeria, gearing towards inculcating a Culture of Peace and Unity in Nigeria.”
Speaking further, the former governor of Akwa Ibom State noted that “ the topic, “Building A Culture of Peace and Unity in Our Country” is very apt, considering the challenges of the times and the surreal manifestations of contemporary Society.”
Akpabio congratulated the organisers of the event, saying, “Permit me to congratulate the Methodist Church Nigeria for coming up with this programme. It is reassuring and rightly so, as this Dinner provides a veritable platform for all of us to cross-fertilize ideas which will engender peace and unity for our Country and the entire world.
“The Church and Government have inseparable mandates to ensure peace and unity among the people. Nigeria’s National Anthem is unequivocal its tenor; reflecting the spirits of the founding fathers of our Country and all patriotic Nigerians. It professes all compatriots “one nation, bound in freedom, peace and unity”, setting the tone for tonight’s dinner theme.
“It is worthy of note that Methodism has consistently reflected the lives, times and great contributions of John Wesley, whose labour of love is evidenced in the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ beyond leaps and bounds.
“However, Peace is a state of mind reflecting the interaction of socio-economic and political forces in the realization of the overall wellbeing of man. It implies the harmony of people and their relationship with society. It is a state of perpetual liberty and freedom from oppressive and unpleasant thoughts and emotions.”
Akpabio noted further that despite the current challenges facing the country, the Buhari-led administration was doing its utmost to bring the situation under total control saying, “I am confident that with the efforts of the current administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, we would soon overcome this national nightmare.
“No part of Nigerian landscape is under the control of insurgents, a far cry from what this administration met on ground in 2015. The Government alone cannot make this peace possible if we, as communities, religious and political leaders as well as citizens refuse to watch each other’s back.
“I urge all of you gathered here in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to love one another; working for the peace and unity of our dear Country.
“Therefore, for me, the unity of Nigeria and its cohesive existence is not negotiable. But let me once again thank the Methodist Church Nigeria for organizing this gathering. This dinner is a classic example of how we should relate with one another despite religious differences. It is indeed a great delight to have His Highness, Alhaji Nasir Ado Bayero, the Emir of Bichi, a Muslim, and a true believer in the oneness of Nigeria as the Special Guest of Honour at this occasion tonight, ” he stated.