The Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri on Thursday said majority of Nigerians lack access to basic social services due to the greed of a few.
Omeri said in Kaduna at a one-day capacity building workshop for NOA’s Social Justice Officers in North-East and North-West zones, that the “social entitlements of citizens” are being cornered by a few individuals, thereby impoverishing the citizenry. “Despite our enormous resources, we are yet to make significant progress in the area of the social entitlement of citizens.
“The resources of the state are still in the hands of a few people while the vast majority of the populace live in adverse poverty and lack access to justice.
“This obvious wide gap between the rich and the poor, with its attendant frustration and mistrust, often leads to social strife and upheavals thereby heightening conflicts and insecurity.”
The situation, he noted, had left the citizens with no alternative than to ventilate their frustrations, pains and dissatisfaction on others.
The DG said that the social justice programme was designed to bridge existing gaps and empower citizens to attain justice outside the realm of the courts.
“Our ultimate objective is to engender a peaceful and harmonious coexistence among Nigerians,” he said, adding that the workshop was also to equip the participants with relevant information and skills to mediate among aggrieved citizens.
In a remark, Governor Mukhtar Yero, respresented by the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Mr. Timothy Gandu, said the social justice programme would facilitate peace and harmony in the society.
Yero stressed that peace can only be maintained where citizens are treated justly and fairly, irrespective of ethno-religious differences.
He noted that the programme would not only enhance access to social justice in the country but also deepen democracy.
“We are aware that the rule of law and social justice are the basic essence of democracy. It is therefore a step in the right direction at this time for NOA to embark on such a laudable project of trying to ensure that people are treated fairly wherever they may reside in the country.
“There are numerous victims of social injustice and persecution within our communities that cannot seek redress through the conventional judicial system. Many of such people have languished silently in pains as they lack the capacity to get justice.”
He advised the focal officers to pay special attention to issues causing tension within communities and between individuals, so as to reduce the level of conflicts in the country.
The governor pledged to treat all residents of the state equally, adding that “nobody is a second class citizen in Kaduna State, we are all one with equal opportunities.”