Security stakeholders haves suggested the establishment of Federal Ministry of Peace and Conflict Management with parastatal agencies in each of the states as a solution to the insecurity ravaging the country.
The stakeholders spoke at a one-day validation workshop held in Akure, Ondo State capital, attended by representatives of various security agencies and other sectors of the nation.
The One-Day Peace Advocacy on Conflict Mitigation and Sustainable Peace associated with Farmer/Herder violence and kidnapping in Southwest Nigeria, was organised by Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR).
They urged the Federal Government to ensure that economic well-being of the citizens was made paramount and as well provide a lasting solution to the twin-problem of unemployment and poverty.
Majority of the speakers noted that conflict was a phenomenon that had been in existence since the creation of the world and would always be with man.
Hence, they said, there was a need for a coordinating ministry for conflict resolution.
They emphasised that if the ministry had been in existence, the Fulani-herders, the EndSars conflicts that rocked the nation would have been averted or abated.
In his own submission, Dr Akinwumi Gideon, state Chairman/Commandant, Vigilance Group of Nigeria, Ondo State chapter said that establishment of a coordinating ministry would help in mitigating conflicts and insecurity,
According to him,, conflict, which is capable of claiming lives and properties, bringing down an entire economy of a nation is worth of having a ministry dedicated to it.
“The ministry will be saddled with the responsibility of investigating, researching, addressing, mediating in matters that is capable of bringing conflicts at all levels of governance.
“To ensure that adequate measures are taken to prevent any issue from escalating into a major conflicts across the regions of the country.
“This ministry can have parastatals agencies in each of the state for closeness and prompt response to matters and issues before it escalates into conflict and crisis.”
He also suggested the establishment of ranches with cultivable forages and pastures.
He further suggested inclusion of the three major languages of Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo in school curriculum and regulate the minimum age of herders to be 18 after made to pass through some formal education.
Dr Olumuyiwa Apanisile of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife in his presentation stressed the need for everybody to be security conscious alaways.
Apanisile identified corruption, poverty, inequitable distribution of resources, ethnic and religious tension as some of the causes of violent conflict, noting that 434 lives were lost to conflict in the Southwest between 2016 and 2020.
He advised the participants to always be conscious of their community, stressing that, “if you protect community security, you are protecting national security and therefore suggested that schools and campuses should be well fences and gates.
He said that government at all levels should make such a requirement before issuing licences to commence operations.
He further charged every Nigerian to always be proud of the country, saying, “cultivate the habit of patronising made-in-Nigeria goods to improve the economy of the country and as well assist the small enterpreneurs to stay in their businesses.
“Sustainable peace is a fundamental element required for development, it only becomes sustainable if it sustained for a long period of time.”
He stressed the need for unity, equatable distribution of resources, well functioning Institutions, tolerance for diversity and human rights, security from physical harm and access to food and shelter
The Director-General of the IPCR, Dr Bakut Bakut, commended the stakeholders for their contributions to major conflict in the country.
“I cannot make any statement now on the Southwest because we are yet to get to the final stage, the researcher just submitted his findings and stakeholders have contributed too, it remains a policy framework yet to be submitted to the government.
He appreciated the research by Apanisile of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, co-presented by Dr Taiwo Akinola and Temitayo Odeyemi with a promise to do justice to the findings.
“The stakeholders can help influence and reinforce safe security behaviors among those they lead, while it also allows them to take ownership in security strategies, contributing to their development and fulfillment, and creating greater benefits organisation – wide,” the DG submitted.
The highlight of the seminar was the presentation of the research finding to the stakeholders, who also contributed to the way forward in ending conflicts. (NAN)