Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have advocated for showing love, tolerance and engaging veterans identified in communities to foster social cohesion and security in the FCT.
The residents made this call at the 1st Abuja Residents Townhall and Security Summit (ARTSS) 2023 on Tuesday in Abuja.
The summit is tagged ‘Social Cohesion and Security in an Ideal Capital City: the cost of inaction, bridging the gaps’.
In his remarks, Mr Jude Ezeobi, Chairman Neighborhood, Estates and Residents Association of Abuja Forum (NERAAF) said the summit was organised to find ways of achieving social cohesion among residents.
Ezeobi said the focus was to seek to find the best possible ways to live better and safer in FCT.
The chairman therefore called for the cooperation of all participants to brainstorm and come up with solutions to challenges confronting residents especially as it pertains to security.
Speaking at the summit, Sheikh Muhammed Khalid former Chief Imam of NASS Legislative Quarters Mosque said safety was key to an ideal environment adding that an environment that was not safe could not be referred to as home.
Khalid said in building strong neighborhoods we must think of building bridges that remove the gabs created by language, geographical location, religion, education etc.thatbis the meaning of social cohesion, it’s all about togetherness.
“We are talking of having an ideal capital city, an ideal capital city has to be inclusive, people must come together bro ensure they benefit from togetherness.
“One of the key issues of having an ideal city is safety. We need a secured environment before we can call an environment our home, Abuja is a place where every citizen aspires to come, all the 36 states governors come to Abuja.
“If we create a united capital automatically we create a united nation, all those differences we have should be able to bring about unity in diversity for our nation.
Khalid said that our togetherness was important as a healthy social set up of people was a stronger set of people and we could only do this if we love and care about the well-being of our neighbors.
Brig.-Gen. Christy Ogundimu (rtd), Vice President, Games Village, Residents Association called for a door to door interaction of neighbors to get to know eachother.
“We should get interested in what happens to people around us, be tolerant and show Godly love to eachother.
“We should be our brother’s keeper, visit eachother, organise games and sports festivals, jogging that will make people get together and know the man living next door.”
Ogundimu said when these are done they would go a long way to combat the challenges of insecurity, drug abuse and other vices besetting the territory because it would give room for intelligence and information sharing among residents.
On his part, Veteran Commander Abiodun Herberts, National Coordinator, Retired Members of Nigerian Armed Forces (REMENAF) called for the engagement of veterans.
Herberts adviced that residents should look out for retired members of the armed forces in their communities and engage them in the security architecture of the communities.
“Often times we do not take advantage of veterans. If there is one segment of the society that should not be taken for granted it is our veterans especially the young ones.
“We should identify them, and give them the responsibility to curb insecurity in our society, I therefore call on policy makers to engage ex-servicemen in the security architecture of the country.
“One of the danger of not engaging them is encouraging them to go into vices because of the wealth of experience they had acquired in service,” Herberts said.
The veteran commended President Muhammadu Buhari for introducing the debarment allowance to ex-servicemen which according to him goes a long way to deter any veteran from engaging in vices.
Dr Jumai Amadu, acting Director, Reforms Coordination and Service Improvement (RCSI) FCT, also Coordinator FCT Call Centre urged residents to utilise the FCT Call Centre in addressing any issue ranging from water to security.
Adding that the centre was there to cater to the needs of the residents but that that the centre would need the cooperation of the residents to serve them better.
Ahmadu said there was also the FCT Citizens Platform which according to her was a robust platform where every resident can create an account and contribute to the well-being of the city.
She said the address is ‘www.myfct.agov.ng’ and called on residents to log on to it.
“We use this slogan ‘ See something, say something and it gets sorted out.
“We are partners in progress, with a functional neighborhood association like this helps government to make appropriate budget on what you really need thereby serve you better.” Ahmadu said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit was hosted by Neighborhood, Estates and Residents Association of Abuja Forum (NERAAF).(NAN)