By Emeka Nwokocha
Worried about the recurring crisis and insecurity in Nigeria, including violence against women, girls and the vulnerable, a non for profit organisation, Working Group on Women, Youths, Peace and Security in West Africa and the Sahel (WGWYPS-WAS), Nigerian Chapter, has launched a peace campaign hub, “#WORKINGROUPNG4PEACE,” to build sustainable peace and social harmomy in Nigeria.
The peace campaign hub was launched on Monday 18 March, 2019, at the head office of Development Initiative for Community Impact (DICI), in Warri, headquarters of Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
A press statement delivered by Pastor Bridget Affiah, Co-state Representative of WGWYPS-WAS, notes that goal of the Working Group in Nigeria is in sync with the United Nations Security Resolutions 1325 which inspire women and youth participation in conflict prevention mechanisms and peace building.
The statement further noted that the group is rolling out its pilot peace campaign programme to raise awareness in 14 states, on the need to eradicate violence against the vulnerable population including women, children, youth the aged, and people living with disabilities. The states include Abia, Benue, Borno, Delta, Enugu, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Lagos, Osun, Plateau, Rivers, Yobe and FCT.
The statement added that the peace campaign hub would tract, receive and disseminate relevant information that facilitates the peace building process across the communities in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, Mrs. Rachael Misan Ruppee, Co-State representative of WGWYPS-WAS, expressed concern about the ravaging incidents of violence, insurgency, communal crisis in Nigeria, even as she noted that women, girls and children often become vulnerable in the event of a violent occurrence.
She said, “We are keying into the peace development pathway to ensure Nigeria is rid of violence and all manner of conflicts, so as to restoring unity and promote the wellbeing of the teeming populace.”
Continuing, Ruppee noted that the Delta State Ministry of Women Affairs and other stakeholders, comprising the communities, traditional rulers, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and non governmental organisations (NGOs) are being incorporated into the peace process.
Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, Executive Director of Value Rebirth and Empowerment Initiative (VREI), one of the partners of the peace campaign group, described the event as a welcome development, noting its importance in engendering peace in Delta State and Nigeria.
“The event is timely, especially this time peace is highly needed to move our nation forward. For instance, the issues characterising the just concluded 2019 general elections, such as civil unrest, thugery which led to postponement and inconclusive elections are counter productive in our developing democratic system.
“As partners in the peace campaign, we will contribute our quota by incorporating peace programmes into our organisation’s activities to ensure everybody lives in peace, and when that is achieved, we would have succeeded in eradicating all manner of violence and atrocities that have bedevilled the country for so long a time.”
In the same vein, Dr. Andrew Agboro, Executive Director, One Love Community Development, emphasised importance of peace in the society.
He said, “as individual organisations working as a network, we will ensure we embrace, encourage and facilitate any process that brings peace to our society. That is the reason we are here today.”
Pastor Bridget Affiah, while fielding questions from journalists, said, “the essence of the peace campaign is to sustain peace in our society by applying a holistic approach to making the initiative work.” She added that protection of the vulnerable in the society, including women, girls and children was paramount in the peace programmes.
“We are working assiduously to achieve our goals, and we are working with the Delta State Ministry of Women and Social Development, and the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, including the communities, to ensure the government have a stake in the peace building network we have started.”
Other speakers at the event, Mr. Fischar Ogugu, Delta State Deputy Coordinator at Partnership for Peace in Niger Delta; Chief (Mrs.) Awhana Mercy of Hands to Help International Foundation; Mr. Collins Newuwumi, State Coordinator, West African Network for Peace (WANEP); and Mrs. Nefertiti Okotie of Neferok Development Initiative (NDI), spoke eloquently about the indispensable role the peace campaign would play in sustaining societal harmony, unfettered socioeconomic and political development of Nigeria.
The event was attended by the partners of the peace campaign group which include Ovie Brume Foundation, Neferok Development Initiative, THRIVE, VREI, DICI, Working Fingers Initiative, Gender Justice, CDPPI, Partners for Peace, REED Centre, Hands for Help International Foundation, and others