…..As Members commends efforts at strengthening community structures for sustainable peace in the Niger Delta
By Victor Bieni, Asaba
As part of efforts towards deepening peace-building initiatives and promoting lasting peace in the Niger-Delta, a Non-governmental Organization based in Niger-Delta Region, Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger-Delta (PIND) has said that its group is committed to strategic engagement of notable traditional rulers and stakeholders to advice and take actions to prevent escalation of violent conflict that could derail peace in the Region. Through the strengthening larger state-level peace efforts and indigenous structures for peace, creating sustainable peace partnerships, encouraging collaboration and synergy amongst peace actors, providing support for economic development and most importantly, promotion of conflict prevention and Curtailing of escalation of violence in the Niger-Delta as PIND Inaugurates “Prevent Council in Delta State.
The media learnt this from PIND Executive Director, Mr. Tunji Idowu, who was ably represented by the Coordinator, Partners for Peace In The Niger-Delta (P4P), High Chief Lawal Africas during the Inauguration and Capacity strengthening for members of the Prevent Council in Delta State held on 7th-9th December, 2022 at Villa Toscana Hotels, Asaba, Delta State capital.
PIND Executive Director commended the traditional rulers (Institutions), Government representatives, peace actors, electoral and Security agencies, civil society organizations, Youths, women, and other critical stakeholders for their attendance and as members of the Prevent Council in Delta State. He stated that PIND has strengthened the capacity of over 10, 113 peace actors and intervened in over 2000 conflicts. He stated further that, the aim of establishing the Prevent Councils in the Niger-Delta States is to engage traditional Institutions as positive influencers and conflict mediators in their respective states and communities, and respond to identified potential precursors of violence and instability in collaboration with existing Partners for Peace Network Prevent Committees and other stakeholders at the state, local and community.
Before the formal Inauguration of the members of the Delta State Conflict Prevent Council, High Chief Lawal Africas who presented talks on various topics which covers conflicts analysis, prevention, management and control during the capacity strengthening for members of the Prevent Council in Delta State. He then urged the Council to act as response team, agents of PIND’s integrated early warning and early response system in Delta State and Niger-Delta Region.
Also as part of Strengthening the capacity of the Conflict Prevent Council, the event saw an in-depth theoretical and practical studies on various types of conflicts. The consultant to PIND, Egedegbe Edewor Esq., read the oath of office and Inaugurated the members of the Prevent Council in Delta State and urged them to be steadfast, conduct themselves as exemplary and agent of peace-building in the State.
PIND’s members of the Delta State Prevent Council as Inaugurated Included amongst others are: Traditional Rulers: Omu Anioma, HRM, Obi Martha Dunkwu, the Ovie of Ellu, the Ovie of Udu Kingdom, the Ovie of Ughelli Kingdom Security Agencies in Delta State: Delta NSCDC Commandant, Delta Police Commissioner, Delta DSS Director, Delta Immigration Commander, President, Delta State Non-State Actors, Delta state Commissioner for Information, Surveyor General of Delta State, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Lands and Survey, Special Adviser to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Peace-building and Conflict Resolution, ALGON Chairman, Delta State, Chief Shedrack Agediga, and other critical stakeholders, peace actors in the State to mention but a few.
The representative of PIND Executive Director, and Coordinator of The Partners of Peace In The Niger-Delta (P4P), High Chief Lawal Africas who stated that, over the years IPDU and the P4P have exemplified the efforts of local peace agents and worked with peace actors to respond in more coordinated and targeted manner to respond rapidly to conflicts dynamics in the region.
He read some of the objectives of the Council to include amongst others: To work as positive influencers and conflict actors, to engage peace and Security actors, to comprehend what the residents of targeted Communities consider as Security Peace, and Safety, to build social capital and engage grassroots community on peace-building efforts, to provide strategic advice to prevent the escalation of violence in the community, local governments and state levels.
Prior to the various groups interactive sessions by members of the Delta State Prevent Council, the event also saw the presentation of speeches by various group representatives, Institutions, interest groups as reactions, suggestions, action plan and way forward by the council to PIND leadership.
Some of the Stakeholders that spoke Included amongst others are: Pastor Egedegbe Edewor, who is a consultant to PIND where stated that, PIND has been in the business of peace-building since 2010, and had launched its peace-building Initiatives in the Niger-Delta Region in the year 2013 to build peace, capacity by which men, women and youths can work together to promote peace in their communities.
Dr Andrew Akhgibe who represented the Resident Electoral Commissioner, INEC Delta State thanked everyone present and stated that the program (Inauguration of Delta State Prevent Council) is coming up less than 80 days to the general elections. He urged everyone to avoid whatever will breach the existing peace in the state. He went further to inform all the members of the Delta State Conflict Prevent Council that collection of PVCs starts December 12, 2022 to end January 6, 2022.
In a good will message, Delta State Commissioner for Information. Charles Aniagwu also commended PIND for complementing the efforts of Delta State Government, various individuals, other critical stakeholders, Security Agencies in the promotion of Peace and Security in the State. Special Adviser to the Governor On Peace-building and Conflict Resolution, Chief Edwin Uzor also thanked PIND leadership on support towards achieving peace and security in the State, group’s capacity building efforts even as Congratulated his colleagues who were Inaugurated as members of the Prevent Council in Delta State.
Speaking also at the event, CP Mohamed Ali, Commissioner of Police, Delta State, who was ably represented by DCP Operation, stated that the Commissioner had commended the peace-building initiatives of PIND in the Niger-Delta Region, particularly Delta State. He noted that, Delta Police Commissioner has sent his greetings to all peace Actors in the State. According to Delta INEC Boss, “Traditional rulers, Youths, women, CSOs, journalists, critical stakeholders and so on are key to maintaining peace and order in the society as well as prevent conflicts”.
Obi Martha Dunkwu (Omu of Anioma) quoted Nelson Mandela “Peace is not the absence of war.” She enjoined the traditional rulers to always go close to the masses, so that they can understand their pains. She stated that it is when you understand the pains of the masses, that is when you can administer justice and create a peaceful environment. She emphasized that women should equally be brought into the picture in terms of peace building and conflict resolution because, women play pivotal roles in peacemaking.
DCI Francis Nhowu (Deputy Controller of Immigration, Delta State) was represented by ASI Akpagbugha Victor who stated that the program is life educating. He said he is very privileged to be a participant of the Prevent Council inauguration event and appealed that the body should be spread to the rural communities because conflicts arises everywhere but if we are properly guided, especially the youths, things will turn out for the better as lots of lives and properties will be saved.
The Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom was represented by Chief Onosia James Obriki (the Otota of Idjerhe Kingdom). He stated that the Prevent Council will play a very important role in peace keeping and conflicts resolution in Delta State. He stated that in carrying out their functions, the Prevent Council will be assisted financially and otherwise by PIND so as to make their jobs easier.
Elder Chief (Surv.) Okotie Vincent (The Itetebe of Udu Kingdom) said that the Prevent Council program is an all-encompassing meeting by people from all walks of life. He said all issues as regards conflicts were treated in the program. He opined that the volatile areas are the oil producing communities but they will be effectively handled by the Prevent Council.
Dr. Andrew Agboro, The President, Delta State Civil Society Organizations Forum while commending PIND on the Initiative of establishing Conflict Prevent Council in Delta State and strengthening capacity building for members of the Council, stated that the members will work to ensure that conflict does not occur in Delta State. He added that, the council will work with civil society organizations in the State to prioritize the engagement of critical stakeholders in peace-building, and also ready to overcome some of the challenges that may arise in the course of interventions. Speaking further, the representative of the PG Ndokwa Neku Union, Mr. Sunday Onyewonsa while commending PIND described the Inauguration and capacity building organized for the members of the Prevent Council in Delta State as a good development. He stated that peace process must be given more teeth by the council