The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized the 2nd National CSOs Consultative Meeting on Peace and Security with the support from Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Program (NSRP).The consultative forum was to air their views and make recommendations where necessary on how to combat the National Security threats and peace building at all levels. The forum featured participants who were drawn from stakeholders across the various thematic areas which include Women Focused NGOs, FBOs, Youth and Labor Organizations, Media and CBOs including office of the National Security Adviser of the country. There were 31 participants in attendance including representative of the NSRP. After exhaustive deliberations on the issues of “Concept of Peace Building, Assessment of Nigeria National Security Threats and the Role of Civil Society in Peace Building”
Also, the forum agreed on key recommendations to the National Peace and Security Forum chaired by the Director General of National Institute on Peace and Reconciliation based on the feedback delivered by the CSOs delegation on the forum. The meeting had the following observations and recommendations:
• That the underlining National Threats in Nigeria can be traced to Rising and increasing poverty, registration of indigene and non-indigene by some state government which contravenes citizenship, the spate of impeachments and threats spreading across the political landscape, unemployment, unethical pronouncements by some state government, election rigging, massive and unprecedented level of corruption, Ebola Virus et al
• Violence in Nigeria since the return to democracy in 1999 were offshoots of political infighting as presidential committee in 2011 virtually indicted all almost all state Governors for arming the youths.
• Only 10% of wealthy Nigerians controls 41% of National Wealth in the midst of mind bugling poverty, 5.2 trillion Naira are the cumulative reported corrupt cases in selected dailies between 2011 and 2014; this is more than the National Annual budget which brings it to a monthly theft of 220 billion Naira which again is more than the annual budget of 18 states put together. A figure which has largely brewed anger amongst the larger populace with feelings of exclusion.
• There are 52million out of school children globally, 5 countries account for these figure while Nigeria alone accounts for 10.5 million. 8.5 million of these figure are domiciled in the North – West and North East respectively which invariably increases the army of the Boko Haram Militia.
• The Nigeria Police and Nigeria Army authorities have not demonstrated commitment to the National Peace Security Forum considering that such forum should play complimentary role in the ongoing effort against the spread of insecurity in Nigeria.
• That there is lack of political will from both our policy makers and Political Parties to incorporate strategies to fight insurgency and control negative impact of conflict Nigeria.
• That over militarization of public events is becoming rampant that need to be controlled.
• Civil Society Organizations should increase advocacies at all levels to put government on the spot light towards ensuring a near zero and decreasing poverty, deregistration of indigene and non-indigene by some state government and entrench the culture of citizenship, be more objective rather than subjective on issues of impeachments and threats spreading across the political landscape, create employments, be more ethical in making pronouncements, election transparency, reduce corruption and stem the Ebola Virus to achieve the desired result in the fight against insurgency in Nigeria.
• That Government and Civil Society Organizations should embark on civic education as well as build capacity of the Electoral Management Bodies (EMB’s) in the conduct of all election towards 2015 and beyond as a major instrument in curbing election related conflicts and violence in Nigeria.
• CSOs should work with security institutions to ensure that the permanent hurricane of corruption that is currently spreading violence should be mitigated by providing adequate social welfare and equal resource distribution amongst the citizens as a panacea to reducing angst, conflict and structural violence.
• Government should invest massively in Education in Nigeria and the North in particular as a means of increasing knowledge and de-radicalize both converted and intending armies as well as ensure synergy of strong information sharing to aid counter terrorism in Nigeria.
• There is need to enhance and strengthen civil/military relations in order to curb conflict provocation while the Police and Army are encouraged to use the National Peace and Security Forum as a platform to achieve such feat.
• There is urgent need for the government to empower the affected conflict communities economically and socially to alleviate their suffering as a demonstration of solidarity to the plight of victims of insurgencies.
• That prevention is generally believed to be better and less expensive than cure. Apart from the high cost of remedying the destruction caused by conflict as exemplified in the damage to the society and human person in the form of collapse of critical infrastructures as a result of conflict, undermines accountability and transparency in the management of public affairs and stunted socio-economic development amongst others.
Participants thanked CISLAC with the support from NSRP for providing the platform for engagement. The process was acclaimed to be catalytic to strengthening the progress towards the Nigeria peace transformation agenda with various stakeholders, especially the current era of insurgency in the country. CSOs thanked responsive security institutions such as the DSS, NIS, NSCDC and FRSC to continue to increase visibility on the National Peace and Security Forum whilst the Police and Nigeria Army were charged to be more responsive.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
Protest 2 Power Initiative
Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria
Sister Rosemary Ukata-
Center for Women Studies and Intervention (CWSI)