By G9ija

The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) has called on Nigerians to bridge the trust gap among the different ethnic groups in order to realise the country’s full potentials.

Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, NIPR President and Chairman in council, made the call at the North-East Citizens Summit for National Integration, Peace and Security, organised by the institute, in Gombe on Thursday.

Sirajo said that the Nigerians should also dialogue more to address threats to national integration.

He stated that the essence of the summit was to engage citizens on non-violent communication toward resolving issues that have stunted the growth of the country
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According to him, trust building and dialoguing on issues of national unity and peace are key to integration as a nation.

The NIPR president said that Nigerians were once peace lovers and tolerant people, but queried, “how did we lose this? We must re-trace our step and build trust again.

“We must talk to one another, leaders must also listen to the people so that we all can move forward as a nation,” he said.

Sirajo decried the high level of mistrust amongst Nigerians and appealed to them to trust one another and lay aside issues that divided the country along ethnic and religious lines.

“We are worried by the deteriorating nature of relations in the country, the ever widening trust gap between leaders and the led as well as amongst Nigerians.

“Our relations in the past used to be better, we considered one another as one and we were blind to issues of ethnicity, tribalism and religious differences,” he said.

Sirajo further said that questions such as; where is he or she from? What religion, ethnic group is he or she were part of the problems of the country.

“These questions have done a lot of damage to our reputation and cohesion as a country, hence the stakeholders’ engagement to provide an avenue for Nigerians to dialogue for possible solutions,” he added.

The guest speaker, Prof. Andrew Haruna, a former Vice Chancellor, Federal University Gashua (FUGA), Yobe, said that with globalisation and constant contact, there was the need for understanding through dialogue.

Haruna said that dialogue was needed in ensuring understanding which would ultimately promote peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.

He called on the people to love more, preach peace and live peacefully.

The guest speaker urged the governments to invest more in education and promote inclusiveness in driving issues of governance.

He also appealed to the people of the North-East to support their state governments in promoting peace and enhancing development.