Alex Enumah in Abuja
As Nigeria prepares to join the rest of the world in commemorating the 2016 United Nations (UN) International Day of Peace, the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), has said it would use the occasion to appeal to militants in the Niger Delta, Boko Haram insurgents in the North East and all other aggrieved persons in the country to observe a twenty-four cease-fire, thereby given peace a chance.
IPCR Director-General, Oshita Oshita, who disclosed this in Abuja during a chat with newsmen on the level of preparedness for the 2016 UN International Day of Peace, said the call formed part of the message of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon in observance of the day.
“The message is to all aggrieved persons and all conflict actors to cease-fire for at least 24 hours and allow peace to prevail so that they can rethink the part they have taken. We want to draw attention of all conflict actors to say, let us come back to our senses. I think Nigeria should be at the forefront because we are currently been threatened by violence at all fronts”.
The IPCR boss added that part of activities lined up to create awareness for peace include a novelty match, peace walk and lecture. He explained that the UN in realising the crucial role peace played in the socio-economic development of any nation chose the theme, “Sustainable Development Goals: Building Block for Peace”.
“The 17 SDGs of the UN cannot be achieved without peace. It is a cutting edge issue, you cannot eradicate poverty without peace, neither can you provide quality education outside a peaceful atmosphere”, he said.
While attributing the recent resurgence of polio in parts of the country to the prevalence of conflicts, which he noted prevented aid workers from getting across to children caught up in the cross-fire, the DG however harped on the need for good governance which he believed was an antidote to many of the conflicts in the country.
He berated government at all levels for investing very little in peace building efforts, adding that if 30 per cent of their security votes are invested in peace building a lot of the challenges faced today would not have surfaced.
He said, “Peace is the foundation for any sustainable development. When there is no peace we all are collectively vulnerable because you don’t know when it would hit you.
“If we do peace building, we would not have to invest huge amount in reacting to the consequences of violence. The return of polio today is facilitated by conflicts in the area”.
He appealed to all Nigerians, particularly, those he described as conflict actors to embrace peace and dialogue, noting that no conflict has ever been resolved through violence.