The Federal Government of Nigeria has, on August 2nd, 2022, called for collective efforts in the prevention of violence and extremism and in bringing peace and harmony to the citizens. The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, made the call at the National Stakeholders’ Forum on Parenting for Peace in Abuja. The forum was organized by the Ministry of Women Affairs in partnership with Mercy Corps and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Idris Mohammed, who represented the minister, relayed Tallen’s message that the stakeholders’ forum was appropriate at this time that the country was experiencing insurgency and terrorism, which were threatening its existence. According to the minister, for the past few years, the government has been battling different insecurity threats, which include Boko Haram in the North-East, the farmer-herder clash in the North Central part of the country, the Niger Delta militant in the South-South, IPOB and ESN in the South East, and banditry and kidnapping.
“It is disheartening to note that we keep losing lives,” says the minister.
She said, “It is disheartening to note that we keep losing lives and property. Many people are being taken as hostages for ransom, and there is the displacement of millions of people all over Nigeria. These result to loss of livelihood and consequently loss of billions of naira, resources continuously wasted leading to depletion of national resources which ultimately may contribute to the nation’s depleting economy. All hands must be on deck to prevent violence and extremism in all ramifications to bring peace to our people, which is the essence of our gathering today to discuss the way forward.”
Country Director of Mercy Corps, Ndubisi Anyawu, said that the corps’ sole responsibility was to advance peace and stability by addressing and mitigating gender dynamics that perpetuate and escalate conflict. Anyawu, who was represented by Adesola Asogi, Acting Country Director, said that Mercy Corps was a non-governmental organization (NGO) which had been existing globally for over 40 years. He said that the organization had been in Nigeria for over 10 years with a passion and mission to reach the most vulnerable in places hardest to reach and to make their lives better.
Different organizations give their mission statement.
He said, “That is where we are in Mercy Corps. That is who we are as Mercy Corps. Our focus areas include interventions in development, the humanitarian space, and peace building. Which is where the Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP) program “sets to promote and begin the initial correction for peace initiatives as well. Over the last ten years, we have worked around humanitarian interventions, wash, nutrition, food aid, and agriculture. Over the last ten years, we have impacted the lives of over two million beneficiaries, over 50 percent of which are women.”
Dr Garba Abari, the Director-General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), said that the agency was created to educate citizens on government policies to be better understood. He said, “The National Orientation Agency is an agency of the government established to educate and sensitize the citizens and create awareness on multiple programs of government. We realize that peace building is very critical for any developmental policy of government to occur. So, we have constantly been engaging Nigerians through a program tagged ‘Building a People of Peace’.” He noted that the program was done through community engagements, town-hall meetings, and community feedback. He noted that the organization transcends the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory.
USAID funds a five-year peace building program.
The CIPP is a five-year peace building program which is funded by the USAID to prevent violent conflict in the most at-risk communities in six states in the North-West and North-Central regions of the federation. Relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) attended the forum to discuss pathways to strengthen the capacity of women, parent, and the youth in order to address radicalization and susceptibility to violent extremism. The forum also serves as a means of gathering information to develop content for a comprehensive guide on parenting for peace and preventing violent extremism.