The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPRC) and the United Nations have called on all Nigerians especially the militant groups in the Niger Delta and the Boko Haram insurgents to embrace peace so that the nation can have a chance to develop.
This admonition was made on Thursday in Abuja during a press conference to commemorate the forthcoming 2016 International Day of peace held at the Peace Institute in Abuja, with the theme: “Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks For Peace.” The Day is commemorated every Sept. 21 in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution 55/282 of September 2002.
Director-General of IPCR, Prof. Oshita Oshita, in his opening remarks said IPCR had made several peace-building interventions adding that the Peace Day would provide all aggrieved persons and groups with another opportunity to embrace dialogue in the interest of the country and humanity.
According to him, the Day also required all aggrieved persons and groups to ceasefire for at least 24 hours on the Day as a respect for humanity, stressing that “in the context of Nigeria, the 2016 International Day of Peace requires all aggrieved persons, groups and conflicts actors ceasefire for at least 24 hours and allow peace to prevail.
“We demand all parties involved in crisis in the country, to ceasefire as no crisis can be resolved by violence; it still has to come to a roundtable for meaningful resolution. “We want to draw the attention of all conflict actors on the need to come to our senses to bring our country to the path of dialogue and development,” he said.
He decried the destruction of lives and property by insurgents saying “we are collectively vulnerable when there is no peace,” even as he appealed to state governments to ensure the commemoration of the day in their respective states, to underscore the importance of entrenching the consciousness of peace in the public and private conduct.
Oshita lauded the President Muhammadu Buhari- led Federal Government for degrading the Boko Haram, which he noted had brought peace to the country and enjoined all Nigerians to join hands with the federal government to promote peaceful coexistence in order to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Take a decision to be a peaceful person today and help to underscore the significance of the “change begins with me” philosophy of the federal government. ‘With peace, we can all have an economy and an investors-friendly country to help create jobs for our youth,” he said.
In his remarks, Peace and Development Adviser of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Dr Zebulon Suifon Takwa said that Nigerian leaders must intensify efforts to extricate the country from the current security challenges confronting it and lamented that the new cases of polio in Northeast Nigeria were due to crisis in the region.
“The return of polio in Northeast Nigeria has been facilitated by the Boko Haram crisis and we are now spending hundreds of millions of naira to try to combat it. “If ministries, departments and agencies had been spending just five per cent of their budgets in supporting peace-building, we would have re-oriented the minds of the citizens. “Peace should not be a slogan for rhetoric, but we must all invest in it and it involves money,” he said.
In the same vein, Mr Peter Mancha, Deputy Programme Manager, UN Women, noted that all hands must be on deck to mainstream peace-building in development agenda, saying that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals could not be achieved without peace. He pledged that the UN Women would continue to work in Nigeria in the area of women, peace and security.