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Sir: The global peace index (GPI) produced annually by the Institute for Economic and Peace, a nonpartisan and non-profit organisation in Sydney, Australia, in its 14th edition placed Nigeria among the least peaceful countries in the world. Nigeria occupies 40th position out of the 44 countries assessed for their peacefulness. Global peace index (GPI) uses internal and external indicators for its measurement of peacefulness in countries around the world. Among internal factors, it identifies violent demonstrations, intensity of internal conflict, violent crime, political terror and political instability, terrorism impacts, and death from internal conflicts. On external indicators, it identifies peace keeping finding, neighbouring countries relations and external conflicts.

The GPI report comes at an auspicious time considering that some states in the Northwest are currently experiencing daily killings of innocent lives by suspected bandits.

In the last one month, Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto states have been on spot for daily attacks from rapacious bandits who have continued to sack communities with impunity. Even with the acclaimed success in the war against the dreaded Boko Haram, the war is far from over. Our armies are always repelling the attack on communities by the insurgents. Also, the remnants of insurgents have continued to ambush and kill our gallant troops. Besides the twin evils of banditry and Boko Haram, relations between the diverse ethnic and cultural groups have continued to deteriorate. Religion and communal tensions pervaded our land.

The Global peace index (GPI) report is not far from the truth. It aptly captures the realities of the situation. Religion, which is supposed to promote peace, unity and national cohesion, is being exploited to cause division. With a population of approximately 200 million and over 350 ethnic groups, such upheavals cannot be entirely ruled out. Our defective federalism, unfortunately, has failed to take care of our diversity. Besides, our ruling elites that should have served as unifying factor have derailed. Since our return of democracy, our ruling elites have continued to twist and manipulate religion for political gains.

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Sitting at 40th position above 44th war-torn Somalia on the GPI is certainly not encouraging. Notwithstanding, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our political leaders should address the underlying causes of lack peace in the country. There is the need for government to tackle the high rate of illiteracy and poverty in the land. Injustice is another factor that adds salt in the injury. Government should be inclusive and carry everybody along in respective of his/her ethnic or religious differences. The global peace index report should serve as a wakeup call to the government.

Ibrahim Mustapha, Pambegua, Kaduna State.

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