The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) held a crucial discussion on September 27, 2023, at Merit House in Abuja, which centered on the theme “Nationality Question in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges, and Potential Solutions.”
The event was organized to shed light on core problems facing the nation and proposed viable solutions. During the event, the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, emphasized Nigeria’s multicultural nature with over 250 distinct ethnic groups, each rich in cultural heritage.
However, he highlighted multifaceted challenges ranging from ethnic and regional divisions to resource allocation issues and citizenship concerns. Policies like subsidy removal and changes in electricity tariffs have significantly impacted the populace, resulting in widespread hardships.
Comrade Emmanuel stressed the necessity of proactive measures to mitigate the adverse effects of such policies. He advocated for inter-ethnic dialogue, cultural exchange programs, constitutional reforms ensuring equal citizenship rights, and policies prioritizing the development of marginalized regions through improved education, healthcare, infrastructure, and employment opportunities. Additionally, he urged for meaningful dialogue, reconciliation initiatives, and increased inclusion of youth in governance, acknowledging their pivotal role in national growth and development.
Senator Shehu Sani, a key speaker at the event, addressed the intertwined challenges of politics, leadership, followership, and poverty plaguing Nigeria. He called for a shift in leadership focus, advocating for leaders committed to unification and development rather than political connections. He emphasized the need to move away from compensatory and sentimental politics to drive meaningful progress in the political sphere.
Mr. Henry Ndukwe, representing the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), discussed the pressing issues of insecurity and drug abuse in society. Highlighting alarming statistics from a 2018 drug survey, he stressed the urgent need for a sustainable approach to combat drug trafficking and abuse, focusing on intelligence gathering, value orientation, and proactive enforcement strategies.
Barr. Uche Offodili reiterated that every nation faces unique challenges, emphasizing Nigeria’s issues related to ethnicity, culture, resource distribution, and negligence. He urged unity and active participation from all citizens to achieve a better nation, calling for responsibility and accountability among public office holders.
To address the nationality question and pave the way for a thriving, inclusive nation, it is crucial to promote the rights and dignity of all Nigerians, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds. The collective efforts of the citizens, embracing diversity, will drive progress and build a stronger, more unified Nigeria.