AS part of its contribution to address insecurity in Nigeria, the United Nations, UN, Weekend, advised the Federal Government, FG, to promote and ensure reconciliation in all segments of the country.
The UN, while bemoaning the worsening state of the nation, said that ensuring national reconciliation would help forestall the outbreak, escalation, continuation, and recurrence of conflict in the country.
The UN’s Resident Coordinator and Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the Kyrgz Republic, Dr. Ozonnia Ojielo, made this call during a one-day Seminar on Agenda for Peace building in Nigeria, in Abuja.
According to him, as the goal and the process to build a common vision of a society, the Federal Government must ensure that the needs of all segments of the population are taken into account, which encompasses activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation, and recurrence of conflict, addressing root causes, assisting parties to conflicts to end hostilities, ensuring national reconciliation, moving towards recovery, Reconstruction and Development, and emphasising that sustaining peace is a shared task and responsibility that needs to be fulfilled by the government and all other national stakeholders.
Ojielo, however, charged FG to take the prevention of conflict as a collective effort by collaborating with local to global, government and non-governmental, public and private sectors.
In his advocacy to the Federal Government and other concerned stakeholders, he pointed out that they must pursue policies that promote and sustain national cohesion and improve the material well-being of Nigerians.
His words: “The evidence shows that societies that possess more cohesion that have higher income levels; that promote more inclusive economic and political regimes; that have a more diversified economy, and a history of peaceful cooperation amongst groups will experience less violence.
“So, this is not rocket science. We know it, even in our own lives, it is not rocket science. If you have a history of cohesion, a history of peaceful resolution, the challenge for all of us is why is this not mainstream, in our behaviour, in our interactions, as members, as our governments, local governments, state and federal.
“The structural foundation for sustaining peace is that we must as a society, we must intentionally pursue policies that promote and sustain cohesion that increase the material well being of people that; that foster inclusive political and economic regimes.
“We have histories of peaceful relations and cooperation, we do. We can tell stories about how different ethnic groups and communities work together.
“We can tell stories about how different ethnic groups and communities work together. Our fathers, grandfathers, irrespective of their fates, have friends who said to me when I went to do a training for the Kaduna Peace Commission, in 2019, Muslim friends, when their children were ready to pass into adulthood, the ram that was needed was bought by their Christian friends, and vice versa.
“We have a history of peaceful relations among ourselves, we now need to go reinvent that history and make it happen. So what this says to us, my dear friends, is that the interactions between our politics, our economy and our society, are intertwined, you can’t just say you’re playing politics, that this is just politics, no, it is impacting on the economy, it is impacting on the society, it’s impacting on our cohesion.
“None of them can function effectively without the other. And all three are central to our desire for peace, for stability, for harmony in our country. And so I argue that we have now come to a critical juncture where we need a new national consensus, as Nigerians and to agree on what those should be.”
He, however, stressed that security is not the only solution and agenda for peace building in Nigeria but only a countermeasure.
“Issues that causes conflict do manifest as security challenges, but most of them are not security nature rather they stem from many driving factors like social, economic, environmental and even political problems.
“Therefore, security is not the only solution to peace building in Nigeria. We know that it is important to say that the outset that conflict prevention and sustaining peace cannot be achieved through an approach driven mostly by security considerations.
“Though security provisioning is important especially when violence is threatened or is occurring. However, it needs to be borne in mind that a security driven approach should be only one component of a much larger integrated approach to conflict management and resolution.
“Very often, the security approach should be the last option, rather than the first and easy option. So, if you have a social problem, you can’t use a tool box of security to address it,” Ojielo asserted.