IPCR Holds Retreat On Self Assessment, Effective Response To Rising Insecurity

….Appeals For More Funding, Decries Office Space Accommodation For Staff

…Thanks President Buhari For Opportunity To Serve As DG

The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) on Monday holds a retreat to engage in institutional self-assessment towards effective response to the rising threats to peace, security and development in the country.

In his welcome remarks, the Director General of the Institute, Dr. Bakut Tswah Bakut, said that for the first time in 22 years of its existence, the Institute is providing a veritable platform that is bringing together past and present management staff; members of the National Assembly and Governing Council as well as the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss specifically about the Institute’s past, present and future journey.

He appealed to the Hon. Minister, the Distinguished Senators and Honourable members in the House of Representatives for appropriation of more fund to the Institute to enhance its operations and scope particularly in view of opening of Peacebuilding Offices across the country.

He disclosed that the retreat is designed to create platform for institutional self-assessment and self-reflection on the institutional journey so far.

He added that the retreat is also designed to map out strategies for responding to the threats to peace, security and development in Nigeria and Africa in general.

Dr. Bakut was optimistic that the deliberation at the Retreat will reposition the Institute for effective and efficient service delivery towards achieving sustainable peace, security and development in the country.

He said: “22 years down the line, the Institute has gradually evolved from cradle to prominence with attendant results that touch on its core mandates, that is; conflict interventions, capacity building, research, advocacy/sensitization and training policy briefs for the government.”

Listing the achievement of IPCR under his watch, Dr. Bakut said that over 150 Zonal Intervention Projects have been executed across the country.

On Peacebuilding Zonal Offices (PZOs), the DG said, “considering the rising spate of insecurity in the country and the need to position IPCR to effectively serve as frontline agency in Conflict Early Warning and Early Response, we established additional PBZOs in the following locations: Plateau, Gwagwalada, Ekiti, Lagos, Warri-Delta, Cross River, Katsina, Kaduna, Awka-Anambra. This initiative has significantly increased the Institute’s visibility as well as enhance its operations across the states.”

On Training and Capacity Building, the DG said, “the Institute through National Peace Academy (NPA) trained about 300 peacebuilders cutting across security agencies, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), public servants, religious and traditional institutions and business community.

“The NPA offers such courses as Basic Conflict Management Course, Advance Conflict Management Course and Strategic Conflict Management Course.

“Digitalized and Equipped the Institute’s library. Resuscitated National Conflict Early Warming and Early Response Hub.

“Signed MoUs with the University of Ilorin, Nile Unicversity, Al’Hikmah University Ilorin, Varitas University, Federal University Wukari, Bradford University and University of Sussex e.t.c.

“Signed an MoU with the Chinese Embassy on Africa-China research and exchange and held an International Symposiums late last year.”

On Conflict Interventions, the DG listed areas to include, “Anyamelu Local Government Area, Anambra State, Bwari chieftaincy tussle; Wara-Oja religious conflict, Land/Boundary Dispute betwen Amagu-Ikwo in Ebonyi and Adama.”

On the Conducted Research on Safe Community Initiative, Dr. Bakut listed “fact finding mission in Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Kwara, Borno, Yobe, Taraba, States etc.

“Procured 4 additional operational vehicles. Stabilized staff cooperative. Published over 20 institutional publications.”

Speaking on the challenges faced by the Institute, Dr. noted that funding and office space accommodation for staff have continued to bedevile the Institute.

He said: “We want to humbly appeal to the Hon. Minister, our Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members for the appropriation of more fund to the Institute to enhance our operations and scope particularly in view of opening of Peacebuilding Offices across the country.”

On Office Space Accommodation for Officers, he said, “our number continues to increase due to the intensity of work needed to be done. However, office space for most of our staff remains a challenge. This is as a result of the Interim Secretariat of the African First Ladies Peace Mission Office occupying part of the Institute’s building. In this regard, we appeal to their Excellencies to look into our plight.”

He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the rare opportunity given to him to serve the Institution as the fourth Director-General/CEO.

Dr. Bakut also expressed his deepest gratitude to the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs for his continued support and providing excellent leadership direction between the Ministry and agencies under his supervision, adding that he’s also indebted to the members of the Governing Council who have consistently be a source of courage to him.

Speaking on the topic, repositioning the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) for sustainable peace, security and national integration, the guess speaker, Prof. Sani Lugga, Waziri Katsina, decried the rate of insecurity in the country.

He lamented the rate of killing in the country, describing what is happening today as war. He added that he lost more than 11 of his relations to insecurity in Katsina state.

Prof. Lugga, who described the governor of Borno state, Baba Zulum as the best governor, decried the rate of kidnapping in the country, noting that thieves are no longer common in the cities, but have metamorphosised to kidnappers, which provide them easy assess to big money.

Declaring the retreat open, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said that the event couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Minister, who was represented by Ambassador Samson Itegboye, said that the country is in dire need of peace, adding, “in all fairness the Institute has performed very well.”

He acknowledged the role of traditional rulers in furthering peace and conflict resolution, admitting that they are been hampered by the necessary powers.

Cross section of past Director Generals