The Director General Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) Dr. Bakut T. Bakut has described civil society organizations as critical stakeholders in the management of peace and conflict resolution in Nigeria.
Dr. Bakut made this known on Wednesday 21st October, 2020 while speaking at a symposium on the “Role of Civil Society in Nigeria’s Core Conflict” organized by the Institute in partnership with Friedrich- Ebert- Stiffung Nigeria office.
Dr. Bakut Said “the role of civil society in Nigeria’s core conflict is very apt as a theme, and we acknowledge the fact that CSOs remain critical stakeholders in peace and conflict resolution as well as in nation building”
He explained that civil societies have been playing critical roles not only in peacebuilding but also in governance and socio-economic development of the country.
In peacebuilding, he said civil societies facilitate stakeholder dialogue to enhance peaceful coexistence, they conduct advocacy and capacity building for harmonious living, enhance local ownership and inclusion through the involvement of diverse groups in discussion around security-related issues.
“Civil society influence critical policies that promote unity and national cohesion, provides humanitarian support to vulnerable groups in conflict and emergency situations”
Dr. Bakut further explained that civil society engage in conflict analysis which involved gathering of information, monitor development and provides early warning systems on situations that can lead to violence.
On Conflict Resolution: Dr. Bakut said “CSOs have access to parties involved in conflicts and have the ability to bring the parties to dialogue. They can as well induce local population to get involved in long-term reconciliation efforts”.
On Conflict Negotiation, he said that CSOs are pivotal in conflict negotiation/peace talks in Nigeria. They popularize peace deals, put pressure on belligerent, and mobilize popular support for the peace process.
“I want to seize this opportunity to plead that dialogue remains the only potent tool for achieving peace. We do not have any other nation except Nigeria so we are enjoined to contribute meaningfully towards its growth, development and stability” Dr. Bakut added.
In his remarks, the Resident Representative, Friedrich Ebert Stiffung, Daniel Mann, represented by Programme Manager, Chidiebere Ugwu said that the symposium would help to explore the roles of civil societies in peacebuilding and conflict management in Nigeria’s major conflicts.
He said it would bring under scrutiny how civil societies interacted with the formal security actors in the country. “It would also analyze how traditional and religious intuitions as well as international organizations get involved in conflict management and resolution in Nigeria”, he said.