ACHIEVING LASTING PEACE, A FEAT ACHIEVABLE THROUGH COLLECTIVE EFFORTS
Friday Bako, Jos
Peace is indeed not just the absence of hostility and violence, it depicts the domiciliation and dispense of justice to persons or groups in a community, State, Nation and World at large.
It is no longer news that Nigeria is struggling with numerous challenges ranging from destructive violence attacks, kidnapping, Bandits, Boko Haram, ISWAP, Militancy and other forms of crimes against humanity that has adversely affected National peace, unity, harmonious living and relationships.
The incessant violent attacks have created fear, suspicion as well as lack of mutual trust and understanding.
It is indeed sad to note that people no longer live the way they did in the past as there are high segregated settlement.
It is known fact that cultural, structural, social, religious, economic and political factors are responsible for most violence in the Country.
Injustice and bad governance has aggravated violence and other forms of insecurity.
Justice need to be seen prevailing and good governance entrenched if lasting peace is to be achieved.
Perpetuators of all forms violence and insecurity should be made to face the full wrath of the law once arrested to serve as deterrent to others and not given royal threat.
Concerted efforts and strategies have been employed by government, security agencies, CSOs, NGOs, Associations, Religious Leaders, Traditional Rulers, the Media, persons and groups toward the restoration of peace and broken relationships.
How genuine these efforts and strategies are as well as their impacts so far also matters.
The aforementioned have made efforts leading to the development of constructive personal, group, and political relationships across ethnic, religious, class, national, and racial boundaries.
Peace building is vital considering where destructive violence has led the Nation to. Peace building becomes a veritable tool for conflict prevention; conflict management; conflict resolution and transformation, and post-conflict reconciliation.
Peace building should be all inclusive and be seen working at all levels of the society to establish and sustain relationships among people locally and globally. All citizens must be seen working with patriotism to achieve peace.
Security agencies, government at all levels, the Media, CSOs, Traditional Rulers, Religious Leaders etc should be seen playing cardinal part in the peace process.
We have seen efforts by key actors who are working round the clock to achieve lasting peace on the Plateau. These actors are contributing immensely to the restoration of peace and need to be encouraged and supported.
Some of these Actors include among many;
- OPERATION SAFE HAVEN: As part of its effort to restore lasting peace and guarantee adequate security in Plateau State, the Special Taskforce has gone beyond kinetic to effective non-kinetic strategies which has proven to be the best way to achieve peace in Plateau State and in Nigeria.
The Security outfit under Maj. General CC Okonkwo has been working tirelessly to reduce crime and address the violence bedeviling the State.
Since Maj. Gen. Okonkwo took over the mantle of leadership as the Commander Operation, he has met with several stakeholders which include Journalists, Religious Organizations, Traditional Rulers, Leaders from violent Flashpoint Communities and Online Reporters on better ways to achieve lasting peace and reduce crime to the barest minimum.
He has raided some no-go areas in Jos and effected the arrest of many hardened criminal elements who currently behind the bar.
Having known that guns & bullets alone cannot achieve and guarantee lasting peace, Maj. Gen. CC Okonkwo has been deploying community engagements where critical stakeholders from Communities affected by violence are brought together to air their grievances and ways to address same.
Operation Safe Haven under Gen. Okonkwo has provided Community-based projects cutting across all divides like renovations of schools, dredging of boreholes, and giving foods and sanitary reliefs to Internally Displaced Persons in Plateau and Southern Kaduna, organized medical outreaches, organized dialogues and mediation meetings in conjunction with CSOs and Community-based organizations to address conflicts among members of several communities affected by violent attacks. What the Security Outfit needs is the support of the public as he has always reiterated his zero tolerance to crime and commitment to achieve a more peaceful, safer and secured Plateau which will be an envy of all as it was in the past.
Maj. Gen. Okonkwo is carrying all critical stakeholders along in his effort to achieve greater peace.
Despite being a crime fighter who is working towards the protection of our territorial integrity, Maj. Gen. Okonkwo has also proven to be a Bridge Builder and a genuine Peace Advocate who is demonstrating diligence and professional prowess in discharging his duties. We look forward to seeing greater improvement.
- OPERATION RAINBOW: In fulfilling its mandate of “strengthening the security network in the State for sustainable peace, security and economic development” the outfit has been playing critical roles through strategic community engagements to achieve greater peace and unity which in turn will enhance socio-economic development and prosperity.
I have witnessed roundtable peace dialogue organized by Operation Rainbow between Angwan Rukuba, Dutse Uku, Angwan Rogo, Laranta, Nasarawa Gwong, Farin Gada, Kwanan Shagari, Dilimi etc which it started in January, 2020. Operation Rainbow has also employed non-kinetic approach towards resolving violent conflicts.
The establishment of the Security Outpost and Surveillance Tower is also helping to detect, prevent and minimize crime within the Dutse Uku, Jos Jarawa and the Jos general area by providing a grassroots-based intelligence gathering system to assist security agencies in responding effectively to distress calls within the Jos metropolis.
- Plateau Peace Building Agency: This agency was established to bring people together, encourage them to air their views on conflict, repairs relationships and achieve societal reformation.
The Agency has recorded some achievements, but there is need to be more all-inclusive because for peace building to be effective everyone affected by a destructive conflict has to be involved in the process of building peace.
- THE NIGERIA SECURITY AND CIVIL DEFENSE CORPS (NSCDC): This security outfit too has contributed immensely and still playing critical role in peace and security in Plateau State.
- THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE: The Police Force has continued to do its best in maintaining law & order as well as crime fighting and forestalling violence despite its numerous challenges.
- CSOs & NGOs: Many NGOs & CSOs have continue to propagate peaceful coexistence and their efforts are yielding positive results.
- Religious organisations
- Traditional Rulers
- Certain individuals, Associations and Groups.
- The Media
Since no meaningful development can be achieved in a chaotic, hostile and violent society, all hands must be on deck to achieve lasting peace.
There is no alternative to peace and the absence of peace affects all irrespective of the social, religious, political and regional inclinations.
Achieving lasting peace is possible if we all agree to eschew destructive violence and unhealthy sentiments.
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