2027: Peace committee engages women, youth, PwDs to promote peace, social cohesion

Ahead of the 2027 general elections and off-cycle election in Edo and Ondo states, the National Peace Committee (NPC), a non-governmental initiative has started engaging key stakeholders to reinforce the roles of youths, women, persons with disabilities, and the Independent State Peace Architectures (ISPAs) in promoting peace, reinforcing social cohesion, and rebuilding trust in Nigeria.

The engagement also stands as a beacon of hope, offering a collaborative framework through which peace and social cohesion can be promoted for the building of a better Nigeria.

The Head of Secretariat, National Peace Committee (NPC) and Executive Director of The Kukah Centre at a conference organised by The Kukah Centre on “Navigating Pathways to Promote Peace and Social Cohesion: The Role of Women, Youths, and Persons with Disabilities” in Abuja on Monday, explained that the rationale behind organizing a conference on promoting peace and social cohesion is to reinforce the roles of Independent State Peace Architectures [ISPAs] in consolidating democracy in Nigeria.

He expressed concerns that were linked to the emerging pockets of violence, tension, anxiety, uncertainties, the destruction of private and public properties, and kidnappings by bandits and other criminal elements coupled with physical attacks on vulnerable citizens, INEC infrastructures, and security officials.

“We are worried about deployment of identity, religious ethnicity in Lagos state to a point that it affected people’s social life where there are evidence where people’s houses were demolished, licenses of businesses are withdrawn and people were asked to return back to their state of origin and we wonder why all these will it happen in a country like Nigeria.

“We all know that it doesn’t happen in other countries. Nigerians are doing well outside the country and why is it happening in Nigeria. Why can’t we be a citizen with equal rights in any parts of the country you settled,” he said.

He said findings from the NPC Situation Room during the 2023 general elections in Nigeria showed that there was an intense sense of disappointment and disenchantment in a significant portion of the populace in the state.

He this impacted negatively on the trust levels of the populace, especially on the foundational institutions tasked with conducting credible elections and on the democratic processes put in place in the country.

He said this loss of faith poses a crucial risk, manifesting in heightened apathy and even the threat of violence looming over future electoral processes.

He explained that the National Peace Committee is not a constitutional body empowered by Nigerian law but just a group of eminent Nigerians that have come together to see how they can come together to contribute to peace and it is a moral intervention they are providing .

He said their work has become relevant but they can’t be everywhere so they mobilised and set up the Independence State Based Peace Architectures in 15 states and they identified influential respected people in those states that are non partisan and they maintain their objectivity and naturality .

He said the group are made up of 10 people that are inclusive with women and Persons with Disabilities, so their job is to intervene and support peace processes in those states and issues of voice and conflict that may be related to elections and not related and situations that is too difficult for them, they now reach out to the peace committee at that national level to use their convening power.

He said they have gotten more support to expand ISPA to the 36 states including the FCT .

He said the conference is a platform for open dialogue and discussion among the key stakeholders, to foster a better understanding of both electoral and non-electoral issues affecting our country Nigeria.