By Usman Shuaibu
The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution has urged lawmakers to consider creating peace building offices in each of the country’s senatorial districts towards promoting peace and strengthening security nationwide.
The Director General of the institute, Dr. Bakut Bakut gave the advice in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja.
According to Bakut, one of the mandates of the institute is to conduct research into the causes, patterns, dynamics, actors and forces behind conflicts and insecurity in the country and Africa at large.
He described legislators as critical pillars in peace building as they were in a position to strengthen peace structures at the local level where most conflicts manifest.
The DG said that the institute had also designed a major conflict prevention strategy to get people and their communities involved in governance.
“The policy will consider and integrate the people as the first line for the development policy based on their priority needs.
“Different groups such as traditional institution, religious leaders, youth, women and people with disabilities within a community will be equipped with relevant skills and knowledge to design their community development plan.
“Legislators have the responsibility to ensure that people live in peace in their various communities.
“They are expected to sensitise their people and to come up with a decision on the kind of project to embark on, that will not create conflict, but engender unity,’’ he said.
According to him, peace is an all-inclusive phenomenon that can only be achieved with the involvement of all, especially in an arm of government such as the legislature.
He, therefore, advised legislators to work closely with the institute in the execution of some of their constituency projects in order to sensetise the people to the importance of peace building and prevention and management of conflict through capacity building.
“This is the reason behind the idea of creating peace building offices in each senatorial district across the country,’’ he said.
“We need more hands and funds to sustain the offices when created. That means it will require us to recruit more staff.
“We are taking it gradually; we will get there some day.
“By 2020 I will be asking the government to give me permission to recruit some people that will be posted to the various peace building offices,’’ the DG said.
Our correspondent reports that the institute had designed a framework that would deliver peace and development programmes/projects to mitigate conflict and promote peace across the country.