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Foundation Seeks Communities Engagement In Non-Violent Approaches To Conflict Resolution

The Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria has called for continuous engagement of community members to embrace dialogue and non-violent appr...

The Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria has called for continuous engagement of community members to embrace dialogue and non-violent approach to resolve potential issues capable of igniting violence.

Its Country Director, Rev. Joseph Hayab, said this at the sidelines of the 2021 Peace and Development summit, organised by the Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, at the University of Abuja on Wednesday.

He noted that for Nigeria to attain sustainable peace and development, it ought to strengthen the capacity of the people in local communities to promote a culture of peace through capacity-building, workshops and sensitisation.

This, he noted, would help in building consensus and bond of friendship towards genuine reconciliation that will ensure unity in diversity, reduce tension and tribal conflicts.

“Nigeria ought to engage diverse community members to embrace dialogue and another nonviolent approach to resolving potential issues capable of igniting violence.

“We must encourage the formation of Community Peace and Reconciliation Committees as community structures at the community level,’’ he said.

According to him, insecurity challenges in Nigeria have been in existence for many decades, resulting in colossal loss of lives and properties, polarising communities, and destroying moral values.

He said the insecurity challenges ravaging the nation were multifaceted, ranging from ethnic, economic, ideological, religious, and political conflicts, depending on the context at hand.

““We” versus “Them” syndrome has been a serious challenge to this nation and could be attributed to being the root cause of most of the problems.

“It is the major driver, giving birth to the trio: 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.

“ However, most of the conflicts started as economic, social, or political, but ended up with religious connotations, to cap it all, Nigerians will not experience peace until identity-based conflicts are addressed,’’ h added.

Hayab said the youth, often, accused of being in the forefront of committing evils or perpetrating violence in society, have to be actively involved and strengthened to desist from committing mayhem in the society.

According to him, women as major stakeholders in peace building, must be encouraged and supported to play their role in inculcating discipline to their children.

He said this would help in changing the mindset of the youth who were into illicit activities and breeding a new set of a generation that result in achieving a serene environment.

The country director noted that the need for political elites to involve youth in decision-making processes and give them the needed support and mentorship for addressing restiveness, militancy, and cultism in Nigeria.

He said that relevant civil society organisations and academia ought to intensify efforts and have a platform to share best practices and learning towards mitigating at the community level.

Hayab added that peace building activities should be community-based for taking ownership and sustainability.

“Conflicts and mediation practitioners should adhere to the “Do No Harm” principle in their outreach for effective conflict resolution strategy,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that GPF had launched the One Family Under God Peace building campaign in Nigeria, engaging people of diverse ethno-religious backgrounds in volatile communities.

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