In commemoration of the 2023 World Day for Social Justice, Nigeria’s federal and state governments have been urged to address the high level of social injustice in the country.
The International Organisation for Peace Building and Social Justice (PSJ) and CONAECDA Office of Minority and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights made the call at a press conference on Monday, February 20, 2023, in Jos, Plateau State.
In the speech delivered by the Executive Director of PSJ, Ishaya Inuwa Durkwa lamented that there is injustice everywhere in Nigeria, and it appears that the government whether by commission or omission is either willing but not able, or able but not willing to solve these problems.
According to him, from all indications, not enough attention is been given to issues of social justice and the government must be seen to demonstrate the will to attend to the issues of social justice.
“No nation on earth can prosper without peace and peace is a direct result of social justice. Wherever there is anarchy, tension, and crisis, the root cause when checked carefully is on the basis of lack of social justice. Social justice in its simplest definition is giving to everyone what is due them,” Ishaya stated.
He noted that while Nigeria as a State is faced with serious problems of youth unemployment and under-employment; the blooming population, the rise in the displacement of families and communities; the destruction of lives and livelihoods, and the impact of displacement of farmers has not only impacted on the livelihoods of present generations of aged and young adults but is a sure guarantee of a very grievous future for families and children caught in the web of these violent conflicts.
While acknowledging the efforts of the government in many ways that they have been able to demonstrate or willed the sword of justice in our nation through a series of programs or interventions to negotiate with agitators to deradicalize members of militant groups and crush defiant groups, PSJ and CONAECDA called on the government to strengthen such interventions.
“However, as good as these interventions are, sometimes we can’t help but question the scale of justice. To this we say; the scale of justice is not balanced because while we deradicalize and reintegrate militant groups in which case they are the aggressors, we leave their victims unattended to. Many of the victims are women that have become widows, some children that have become orphans, and all together they live as strangers in IDP camps, they live as destitute in their own fatherland.
“There are cases of land grabbing, villages that were sacked, houses burnt and destroyed, farmlands destroyed, kidnappings, banditry, and all forms of crisis from the North East to the North West, North Central, South-South, South West and South East. No geo-political region is spared. Now all these atrocities going on, only proves the fact that the scale of justice is must be balanced. When we rehabilitate the aggressor; we must of necessity rehabilitate the victims by acts of restorative justice.”
The two organizations called on the government and people of influence and goodwill to come together and see that justice is given to people who are waiting for justice, noting that people’s lands that were taken should be restored to them. People who are abducted should be released.
“Where is Leah Sharibu and many like her? We believe it is the duty of the government to ensure the welfare and protection of its citizens. We are willing to continue to collaborate with government and civil society organizations to continue to encourage our government to see that social justice is seen in our nation. We will continue to build peace in our communities while we call for social justice.
“The only way we can prosper as a people is by restoring humanity to those whose dignity is stripped away. We conclude with this quote by Willy Brandt which says; “Peace is not everything, but without peace, everything is nothing.” And what brings peace is social justice.”