United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

By Mohammed Baba Busu

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and West African Network for Peace Building Nigeria (WANEP) have urged state governments to establish peace building agencies to address insecurity in the country.

They made the call at a 2-day multi-stakeholder regional peace-building dialogue on “Integrated Approach to Building Peace in Nigeria’s Farmer-Herder Crisis” held on Tuesday in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

Mr Christian Okafor, UNDP representative at the event, said the dialogue was part of its project to support the governments of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba in their peace-building efforts in order to sustain development in the region.

According to Okafor, the dialogue brings together stakeholders from the various states to brainstorm on issues and recommend ways of ensuring lasting peace to the lingering conflict situations in the region.

He urged state governments to work towards establishing peace building agencies that would champion and coordinate peace efforts in the state for effective conflict prevention.

“We are here to ensure that states have peace-building agencies and peace-building agency laws.

“We are also installing Early Warning, Early Response system in Benue, Nasarawa, and Taraba, to be jointly operated by security and non-security personnel in the offices of the Secretaries to the States Government to comprehensively address every aspect of the crisis,” he said.

Okafor also stressed the need for state governments to replicate the dialogue with stakeholders from the local government level.

“We should be able to collectively secure our community through effective dialogue,”Okafor added.

On her part, Chief Bridget Osakwe, WANEP representative, noted that the current insecurity situation in the country required strategic alliance and inclusive approach to conflict prevention.

Osakwe said that such alliance could be built with institution in a holistic framework as Peace Building Agency.

She pointed out that the complexity of the plethora of conflicts had placed a huge financial burden on the state and agencies to respond.

“It’s now clearly evident that to improve on efficiency and effectiveness and sustained levels of response efforts by different actors and institution, there is need for comprehensive peace architecture that guarantees inclusive and gender-sensitive decision-making structure.

“UNDP and WANEP recognise the complexity and severity of the unfolding farmers-herders clashes in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states and is committed to promoting peace,” she added.

Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, while declaring the dialogue open, commended and thanked the organisers for choosing the state for the event.

He assured of his administration’s commitment to peace-building initiatives in the state and the region. (NAN)