Hamza Al-Mustapha, former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, on Thursday said he would reduce the violent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria through entertainment and sports. Al-Mustapha, who was represented by Professor Emmanuel Danladi at a press briefing in Abuja, said that sustainable peace can be achieved when celebrities are co-opted as bridge-builders and emissaries of peace to crises-torn areas of the country.
According to him, the social tension existing between farmers and cattle-breeders can be reduced to barest minimum when they are brought together to engage with entertainment figures and sports icons. To this end, Al-Mustapha disclosed that he has embarked on a ‘Peace in Nigeria’ project, through APIS, as part of his contribution to peace building and enhancement in Nigeria.
DAILY POST gathered that APIS is a training, consulting, research, re-orientation and rehabilitation centre of Al-Mustapha Peace, Unity and Development Initiative (APUDI). The former CSO said: “Our country has lost billions through violence clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
“Hence, we are going to take the bull by the horn by bringing together farmers, herdsmen, entertainment figures and our former international footballers to have novelty matches and cultural dance festivals in selected cities in Nigeria.
“Through such entertainment activities, we can reconnect farmers and herdsmen, calm their frayed nerves and make sure there is stability positive peace in their cries-torn communities.
“The unwarranted social tensions caused by herdsmen and farmers have affected negatively the development of our country, because no economic and political target can be met in an unpredictable social environment where there is ethnic distrust, religious intolerance, and destruction of agricultural and other productive sectors of the economy all of which are fueled by politicians who feed fat when the country is in national crisis.”
Similarly, veteran Nollywood actor, Ejike Asiegbu, said the peace initiative by Al-Mustapha, which centres on the use of entertainment and sport as bridge-building tools was a practiced accepted all over the world. He said that entertainers, as role models in the society, want to contribute to making Nigeria a place that is good for peace and conviviality so that people can love themselves and appreciate one another.
“There is nowhere that you will talk about peace and security that you will not talk about using entertainers – who are more trusted; who people are used to; who people love; understand and can relate to.
“Our counterparts in Europe go to war-torn areas to build bridges and make peace. It is a way of giving back to the society and being in the public space.
“There is absolute need for us to able to meet the people and bring about sustenance of peace and by extension good security.
“As role models, we want a place that is good for peace and conviviality. So that people can love themselves and appreciate one another,” Asiegbu said. With Daily Post