By HABIBU HARISU
SOKOTO- The U.S. Institute For Peace (USIP) is to partner with the Centre For Peace Studies of Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, (UDUS) on ending banditry in the Northwest geo-political zone.
Rtd. Gen. Marthin Agwai, stated this during an inaugural meeting titled:” Convening with Stakeholders on Institutionalising Peace Building and Supporting Local Peace Facilitators in the Northwest states ” on Thursday, in Sokoto.
Agwai, who is a former Chief Of Defence Staff and member of the Technical Working Group (TWG) on Peace Governance Initiative, said insecurity has become a global challenge.
” We need to look at the causes of insecurity in the country.
“Our population is growing and if we continue growing in population the way we are, I think we will be among the first three most populous countries in the world.
” However, is our economy growing in that way? are there opportunities for jobs growing in that way?
” If not, we need to do something to either beef-up our economy or slow down our population.
“Today, people cannot go to their farm. they cannot travel for fear of uncertainties.
“That is the reason we are here. We have to work out modalities for tackling our security challenges and we cannot do that without involving the locals, because security is everybody’s business,” he said
Agwai noted that the committee has prominent Nigerians, including the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar as members.
On the issue of negotiation with bandits, he said it was not a bad idea, but however, advised government “never dialogue out of fear but never fear to dialogue” .
In his remarks, the Country Manager of USIP, Amb. Audu Zango, said the institute has facilitated the formation of peace building agencies in some states, as well as Network of Nigerian Facilitators.
Zango said facilitators have been supportive in organising workshops and dialogue platforms on peace building.
A participant, Alhaji Sani Umar-Jabbi, described the rising population in the country as a challenge, suggesting the adoption mechanisms for population control.
Umar-Jabbi underscored that importance of the initiative stressing that his domain- Gagi community and suburbs, served as notable examples of where inhabitants correlate freely irrespective of ethnic and religious differences.
He emphasised productive living, understanding and intercommunity relations among citizens remain hallmarks in establishing harmonious communities.
He further advised authorities to ensure active incorporated community leaders on peace, security and other related issues as they understand citizens’ differences and know goings-on in the society.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event witnessed presentations by Hajia Khadija Hahaja, the Director Kaduna State Peace Commission, Dr Chris Kwana of USIP, Mr Terfa Hemen and Emmanuel Bonet. (NAN)