The Country Director, Global Peace Foundation Nigeria, (GPFN), Rev. John Joseph Hayab, has opined that insecurity can be curtailed in the country by strengthening the capacity of the people in local communities to promote a culture of peace through capacity-building workshops and sensitization.
Speaking on the theme, “Fostering peace and sustainable development in Nigeria: The pragmatic approach”, organized by the University of Abuja, Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies on Tuesday, Rev. Hayab noted that it would help in building consensus and bond of friendship towards genuine reconciliation that will ensure unity in diversity, reduce tension and tribal conflicts in the country.
To attain sustainable peace and development, the Country Director stressed the need to engage diverse community members to embrace dialogue and another non-violent approach to resolving potential issues capable of igniting violence.
He suggested that the government should encourage the formation of community peace and reconciliation committees as structures at the community level as a way of ensuring better understanding among Nigerians.
He noted, “The youth, often, accused of being in forefront of committing evils or perpetrating violence in society have to be actively involved and strengthened to desist from committing mayhem in society.
“Women as major stakeholders in peacebuilding must be encouraged and supported to play their role in inculcating discipline to their children, it will help in changing the mindset of the youth who are into illicit activities and breeding a new set of a generation that results in achieving a serene environment.”
The Country Director of GPFN stressed the need for political elites to take into cognizance the need to involve youth in decision-making processes and give the youth the needed support and mentorship for addressing restiveness, militancy, and cultism in Nigeria.
He opined that economic empowerment with which the community members of diverse backgrounds should be tightened together as cooperative societies for livelihood means, believing that one of the major drivers of conflict in Nigeria is poverty.
He believed that this would not only reduce poverty among women and youth but also increase unity and mutual understanding by coming together to pursue a common goal.
Hayab employed relevant Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Academics to intensify efforts and have a platform to share best practices and learning towards mitigating at the community level as a means of bringing people of diverse opinions together to share ideas to common interests for the survival of the society.
He stressed for peacebuilding activities should be community-based for taking ownership and sustainability, adding that conflicts and mediation practitioners should be applying the “Do No Harm” principle in their outreach for effective conflict resolution strategy.
The Country Director said, “Insecurity challenges in Nigeria have been in existence for many decades resulting in colossal loss of lives and properties, polarizing communities, and destroying moral values. The insecurity challenges ravaging our nation are multifaceted, ranging from ethnic, economic, ideological, religious, and political conflicts, depending on the context at hand.”
He lamented that it could be deduced that Nigeria is faced with identity-based conflicts for decades, hampering sustainable peace and development.
According to him, the “We” versus “Them” syndrome has been a serious challenge to the nation and could be attributed to being the root cause of most of the problems, saying that it is the major driver, giving birth to banditry and kidnapping in the North-West, insurgency (Boko Haram) in the North East, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and Militant groups in the South East and South-South respectively. To cap it all, Nigerians will not experience peace until identity-based conflicts are addressed.
In achieving sustainable peace and development in Nigeria, he suggested that identity-based conflicts must be squarely addressed through a community-driven approach, stressing that there cannot be any development in an environment or atmosphere devoid of peace.
Rev. Hayab explained that theGlobal Peace Foundation (GPF), Nigeria, launched the One Family Under God Peacebuilding campaign in Nigeria by engaging people of diverse ethno-religious backgrounds in volatile communities across the North-West, North Central, and the South-South regions to mitigate identity-based conflicts, enhancing social cohesion and sustainable peace and development through a community-driven approach.(Dailypost)