Central Nigerian Plateau Peace Building Agency says an alternative to violence is needed to solve insecurity in the African economic giant.
Security Agencies saddled with the responsibility of providing peace and security are already “overstretched”, said Director General of the PPBA, Mr. Joseph Lengmang, Tuesday.
According to Lengmang, low public trust in national security agencies has further weakened their capacities to fight insecurity.
“When the people can’t trust the army, how will they share information with you? Sometimes the Military are even perceived to be complicit. We need to clear that biggest elephant before we can take any further step. And in dealing with this problem, it takes more than just increasing budget to security agencies. We need to pay attention to peace building mechanisms,” said the Peace Agency boss in a meeting with Bloggers and Online Media practitioners in Jos.
Peace Building is about placing ordinary communities at the center of peace and security decisions, said Mr. Lengmang.
“It is about allowing the people to vent, to talk, to lend their voice, to disagree only to agree,” he said.
“How do you organize ordinary communities to do extraordinary things for peace? How do you put them at the center of critical decision making processes that affect peace and security in those communities?
“How do you create enabling environment to take ownership of the process? How do you create stakeholdership even from potential peace spoilers? This kind of conversation is very key, it’s very central to securing a sustainable future,” said the Official.
The Plateau State Peace Agency, Lengmang said exists to provide proactive solutions to conflicts – “solving issues at their latent stages by mobilizing, galvanizing and even stimulating critical thinking by a vast majority of stakeholders.”
Having succeeded in reducing tensions and mutual distrust after years of ethno-religious violence in the State, Mr. Lengmang called for a national replica.
He said, “If we have this approach from this level up to the national level – Plateau State has one, Kaduna State just followed. Benue, Nasarawa and Adamawa are on the way. If we have this all over, just imagine the value with the too many ungoverned spaces that we have in this country, communities can fill those gaps.
“Other countries are doing it – Ghana has a peace Commission, Liberia has one, Kenya has one and I think these naughty issues of security especially in a society like ours that is highly Polarized along ethnic and religious lines will be resolved at the level of a national peace Commission.”