The Vice-Chancellor of McPherson University, Ajebo, Ogun State, Francis Igbasan, has urged the Federal Government not to take sides in the ongoing war between Israel and Palestine because of the diversity in Nigeria.
Igbasan made the call at a conference organised by the National Association for Christian Studies held at the university’s auditorium on Tuesday.
According to him, the Israel-Hamas war is an agelong war that has its roots in land dispute rather than religious coloration as being misconstrued in some quarters.
He stated, “The Israel-Hamas war started recently. As the conflict continues to generate a ripple effect on citizens of Israel and Palestine surrounding nations, the international community is feeling the heat. Peace has taken a ‘flight’ out of the two countries!
“For 70 years, Israel and Palestine have continued in the struggle to gain superiority over each other while at risk of invoking the interests of surrounding nations like Iran, Lebanon, and Syria, and some countries have been taking sides.
“The United States and some Western countries have declared support for Israel. Some other countries have declared support for Palestine. The war is still raging and peace has taken a flight’ out of the two countries.”
He stressed further that it would be in the interest of the nation for President Bola Tinubu not to give in to pressure from any quarter to take sides with any of the warring countries.
“On whether Nigeria should take a side in this Israel-Hamas war, I suggest President Bola Tinubu should not give in to the pressure. There are many complex undertones to the war. In my opinion, President Tinubu should tread with caution. He should not be swayed by religious sentiments and bigotry.
“The war is taking the colouration of a religious war, truth is, it is more of a geographical [land] war. Sincerely, nations should start considering other alternative to international conflict resolutions,” Igbasan said.
In his remarks, the President of NACS, Afolorunsho Dairo, noted that the sustainable development of any nation cannot be possible in an atmosphere of conflict.
He urged stakeholders to work towards achieving global peace among nations.
“Peace-building and sustainable development initiatives by their nature aim at achieving deep and significant change in a society. To have this profound impact, even at the community level, collaboration is essential. Virtually no individual, organiSation, or initiative can on its own have a meaningful impact on issues of violence and peace at the community level.
“This challenge has become central to the peace-building field. This challenge is not actually new, nor is it unique to peace-building, but the problem is now more acute in Nigeria and that is why organisations in peace-building fields like Human Rights, Humanitarian Assistance, Conflict Resolution, etc. must work earnestly to achieve the expected peace,” he said.