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CSOs float network on conflict prevention, peace-building in Nigeria

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CSOs float network on conflict prevention, peacebuilding in Nigeria

Last Updated on August 3, 2023 by Fellow Press

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have formed a network to foster collaborative efforts toward conflict prevention and peacebuilding across communities.

The network — Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflicts (GPPAC), is working through 15 regional networks
across the world to prevent violent conflicts and build peaceful societies.

Mr Rafiu-Adeniran Lawal, the Regional Representative of GPPAC, West Africa, made this known at the GPPAC Nigeria inaugural meeting on Wednesday in Abuja that the meeting is focusing on “The Role of Civil Societies in Fostering Peace, Security and Social Cohesion.”

Lawal said that the event’s theme was chosen to encourage synergy among members toward finding solutions to the
plethora of peace and security threats across the country.

According to him, GPPAC seeks a world where violence and armed conflicts are prevented and resolved by peaceful means based on justice, gender equity, sustainable development, and human security for all.

“As the Regional Representative of GPPAC West Africa, I am committed to driving the decentralisation of GPPAC within the region, mobilising civil society organisations for peacebuilding and ensuring that members take ownership of the network.

“We will establish and set up GPPAC national networks in all West African countries.

“We have had considerable successes in Niger Republic, Ghana, and Senegal, where National Focal Points have been appointed.

“The purpose of the national networks is to strengthen the agency and capacity of actors to foster collaborative efforts toward conflict prevention and peacebuilding across communities in West Africa.”

Lawal listed the three main priority areas that would guide the GPPAC West Africa network agenda in accordance with the strategic framework to include locally led peacebuilding, women and youth peace and security.

He said conflict-sensitive approach to climate-related risks and other emerging threats would also be given adequate attention.

He added that GPPAC’s main functions by the International Steering Group are: promoting acceptance of conflict prevention, support for regional efforts to raise awareness regarding the effectiveness of conflict prevention and undertake parallel efforts at the global level.

He said others include mobilising CSOs’ early response action to prevent conflicts, supporting CSOs in developing capacity to contribute to early warning systems, and intervening effectively in impending crises.

He said that GPPAC would mobilise coordinated CSOs responses based on early warning of impending conflict escalation; and pressure governments, regional organisations, and the UN system to respond to early warning information in response to regional requests.

Prof. Charles Ukeje, Professor of International Relations at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said CSOs add value to government work by providing timely information and insights into conflicts.

Ukeje said CSOs also serve as early warning givers to government and other stakeholders, and act as intermediaries between states and the society.

He, therefore, urged government to see CSOs as partners in progress, adding that “when government sees CSOs as active collaborators and stakeholders in the maintenance of peace and security, the approach would be different.”

Ukeje also urged CSOs not to portray themselves as oppositional elements but collaborate with government to build bridges.

Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development,
commended GPPAC for the initiative.

Represented by Mrs Agnes Aneke, the Director, Special Duties, Sani-Gwarzo said armed conflicts destroy societies, causing hunger, health challenges, displacement, destitution and underdevelopment.

He said “stability and unity are essential for any nation embarking on development process and one of the keys to achieving this is the development of strategies for the prevention of violence in all its forms.

“The case of nations such as Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Rwanda, and Sudan to mention a few, calls for reflection on the causative factors of violence that led to the armed conflicts, devastating impacts, and post-war consequences on these nations.

“There is need to remind ourselves of the essence of peace and national cohesion as the only ways to guarantee economic growth and stability.

“We must orient our young ones on the core values of tolerance and respect for one another.”

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Gunmen kidnap another Catholic priest in Anambra

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Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Fellow Press

Anambra State based Catholic priest, Reverend Father Christian Ike, has been abducted by assailants.

The clergyman was reportedly taken away by the assailants on Sunday, along Amagu junction, Ndiokpaleke, in Ajali community in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

An eyewitness in the area, who narrated the incident our correspondents, said the priest was returning alongside two other persons from an early morning Mass at St. Michael Catholic Church when the assailants double-crossed his vehicle.

The source said unknown gunmen kidnapped the priest and took some personal belongings in the vehicle, but the reason for the incident has yet to be ascertained.

The eyewitness said, “The priest and two other persons were returning from St. Micheal Catholic Church, where they attended morning service.

“On getting to Amagu Junction, their vehicle was double-crossed by armed men operating in three vehicles, while the other two other persons escaped the scene, the criminals took away the priest and some personal belongings of the occupants in the vehicle.”

Confirming the incident, the Anambra State police spokesman, SP Tochukwu Ikenga, said the command had deployed its intelligence and operational assets for the priest’s possible rescue unhurt.

He added that further development will be communicated as it unfolds.

Ikenga said, “Anambra State Police Command received the information of the abduction of Rev Father Christian Ike and has deployed its intelligence and operational assets of the Command for possible rescue unhurt.

“Eyewitness account revealed by 10:30 am on 16/6/2024, the priest and two others were returning from St. Micheal Catholic Church Ndiokpaleke where they attended morning service, along Amagu Junction, they were double-crossed by armed men operating in three vehicles, while the other two escaped the scene, the criminals took away the priest and some personal belongings of the occupants in the vehicle.

“To this end, the Command has activated its intelligence and operational assets for possible arrest of the assailants and rescue unhurt of the priest.”

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Minimum wage: Archbishop urges compromise

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Last Updated on June 9, 2024 by Fellow Press

Archbishop Joseph Ojo, General Overseer of the Calvary Kingdom Church, Okokomaiko, Lagos State, on Saturday urged labour leaders and the Federal Government to reach a compromise as regards a new minimum wage.

Ojo made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

The archbishop described wage negotiation as a social contract that should be approached with empathy by parties.

According to him compromise is needed in the matter to save the country from anxiety.

“They should consider the fact that the unemployed are much more than the few that are in government employment.

“The federal, states and local governments only employed some workers.

“Others are in firms owned and operated by individuals that might not be able to pay higher wage.

“The higher they push it, the higher the inability of the unemployed to survive, because firms, which struggle to pay staff, may not talk of hiring new ones,” he said.

The cleric said that lack of employment might result in increase in crimes.

“There are private sector employers, who cannot cope with what the federal or states will offer,” he added.

The cleric said that high wage bill might compel private schools to increase school bills to meet up with overhead costs.

“Some parents will not meet up, and their children would be forced to drop out of school,” he said.

He also advised governments to consider subsisting social-economic variables, such as cost of food items, transport and medical bills, and offer a sustainable minimum wage.

“The parties ought to put all these into consideration to achieve progress in their negotiation,” the cleric said.

NAN reports that the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress are now demanding N250, 000 as a new minimum wage.

The Federal Government has offered to pay N62,000.

Negotiations are ongoing.

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