By MAUREEN OKON
ABUJA- The Federal Government on Tuesday called for collective efforts in preventing violence and extremism to bring peace 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 organised by the ministry in collaboration with Mercy Corps and United State Agency for International Development (USAID).
Tallen, represented by the Acting Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Idris Mohammed, said that the stakeholders forum was apt at this time when the country was experiencing insurgency and terrorism, threatening its peaceful existence.
According to her, for the past few years, government has been battling with different insecurity threats ranging from Boko Haram in the North-East to farmers-herders clash in the North-Central.
“ The Niger Delta militant in the South-South, the IPOB and ESN in the South-East of the county and banditry, kidnapping as well as internet/online social media and other forms of violent.
“It is disheartening to note that we keep loosing lives and properties, many people are being taken as hostages for ransom, and the displacement of millions of people all over Nigeria.
“ These result to loss of livelihood and consequently 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 violent and extremism in all ramifications to bring peace to our people, which is the essence of our gathering today to discuss the way forward,’’ she said.
The Country Director of Mercy Corps, Mr Ndubisi Anyanwu, said that the corps sole responsibility was to advance peace and stability by addressing and mitigating gender dynamics that perpetuate and exacerbate conflict.
Anyanwu, represented by Mrs Adesola Asogi, Acting Country Director, said that Mercy Corps was a Non-Governmental Organisation, which had been existing globally for over 40 years.
He said that the organisation had been in Nigeria for over 10 years, with a passion and mission to reach the most vulnerable people in the hardest to reach places and make their lives better.
“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) programme sits to promote and under which the initial correction for peace initiatives sits as well.
“Over the last 10 years, and incidentally, will be 10 years this year in Nigeria, we have worked around humanitarian interventions, Wash, nutrition, food aid and agriculture.
“Also, around peace building, which is why we are here today. And we are happy to share that over the last 10 years, we have impacted the lives of over two million beneficiaries, over 50 per cent of which are women,’’ he said.
Also, Dr. Garba Abari, the Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), said that the agency was created to educate citizens on government policies to be better understood.
“The National Orientation Agency is an agency of the government establish to educate and sensitise the citizens and in creating awareness on multiple programmes of government.
“We realise that peace building is very critical for any developmental policy of government to take place. So, we have constantly been engaging Nigerians through a programme tagged, ”building a people of peace”, he said.
He noted that the programme was done` through community engagements, town-hall meetings and community feedback.
He noted that NOA cut across the six geo-political zones of the federation, including the FCT.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that CIPP is a five-year peace building programme funded by USAID to prevent violent conflict in the most at-risk communities in six states in Northwest and North Central regions.
The forum has in attendant relevant MDAs, CSOs that will discuss pathways to strengthened the capacity of women, parent, and youths to address radicalisation and vulnerability to violent extremism.
The forum will also serve as a means of gathering information to develop content for a comprehensive guide on parenting for peace and preventing violent extremism.(NAN)