Justice vital to enduring peace in Nigeria – Alia

Gov. Hyacinth Alia of Benue
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By Maureen Okon

The Governor of Benue, Rev. Hyacinth Alia says justice is vital to restoration of sustainable peace and stability in Nigeria.

The governor, represented by his Deputy, Mr Samuel Ode, made this known at the Mercy Corps Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP) National close out and dissemination event, on Monday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the five-year CIPP programme, funded by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in six states, has come to an end.

The states were Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Benue, Kogi and Plateau.

The intervention was done in 24 LGAs in these states.

Alia said that there was a close relationship between a peaceful society and the delivery of justice in countries across the globe.

“Benue Government is conscious of the fact that CIPP intervention is transit, and we cannot continue to rely on only this intervention for peace keeping within our communities.

“I want to pay a special tribute to the government of the United States of America through USAID for the peace building efforts and generally for helping this great country Nigeria, in deepening democracy and other aspect of our national lives.

“I think that there’s a close nexus between peace in our society and justice, conversations around peace all over the world has established that there’s a nexus between a peaceful society and the delivery of justice,’’ he said.

He lauded the Chief Judge of Katsina State and his counterparts across the country for the elaborate work they are putting in place to ensure quick dispensation of justice.

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The USAID Mission Director, Ms Melissa Jones, lauded Mercy Corps for being at the forefront of promoting peace in Nigerian communities.

She said that USAID was a small part in actualising the joinery of peace in some communities in Nigeria.

Jones said politician, faith and traditional leaders should strive to deepen peace building efforts across Nigeria.

“It is in your hands that peace is possible. USA government is pleased to be a small part of this incredible journey,” the director added.

She said that peace building was important to any nation’s progress and development.

“Let me reflect on the realities of violence. Violence destroys lives, children, marriages and our communities and violence in many instances has destroyed many nations, but peace heals, and it is eternal as all the great prophets talk about peace.

“The greatest politicians are known and are remembered for peace.

“Martins Luther King said that, the ark of morality is long and its bends towards justice; at the end of the day we all strive for peace, so why is it so hard to obtain or for us to come together to cross lines to be close?”

She said that the CIPP intervention had demonstrated “something extraordinary”.

“It shows that a small and definite peace can yield remarkable results and individual training in conflict mediations skills has helped to resolve 100 of disputes before they are escalated further,’’ Jones added.

Mr Ndubisi Anyanwu, Mercy Corps Country Director, said that as CIPP was rounding up, it has brought about hope to a region grappling with complex challenges.

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“We all know the narrative; violence fueled by competition for dwindling resources, climate change, and political tensions.

“These conflicts have devastated communities in the North West states of Kano, Kaduna and Katsina and North central states of Plateau, Benue and Kogi.

“Villages burned, livelihoods destroyed, lives tragically lost – the human cost has been immense,” he added.

Anyawu said that the intervention was to empower communities to become architects of their own peace.

“Alongside our partners we embarked on a transformative journey. We empowered communities to become architects of their peace and resilience.

“CIPP was not about imposing solutions. It was about equipping community leaders, religious leaders, women, youth, and government officials with the tools they needed to resolve disputes peacefully.

“We provide training in conflict management, negotiation, mediation, and early warning systems and responses.

“We fostered dialogue, reconciliation, and economic interdependence,’’ he said.

NAN reports that the USAID-funded CIPP programme worked with communities to address the root causes of conflict and build sustainable peace structures.

Mercy Corps, a leading global organisation, works in more than 40 countries around the world powered by the belief that a better world is possible. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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