Women Peace Councils in partnership with Community Initiative to Promote Peace have appealed to government and other stakeholders to expedite action aimed at ending the current insecurity across the country.

This was contained in a statement issued at peace building workshop organised by Mercy Corps in commemoration of international day of peace held in Kaduna.

Speaking on behalf of the various Councils, Hajia Bilkisu Zango of the National Association of Women Journalists Kano Chapter, lamented the vulnerability of children and women to kidnapping and sexual violence.

The Council identified violent extremism, strive for political control, ethnic and religious divide among others as threat to peace and security.

”We are deeply concerned by the premeditated violent attacks directed at men, women and childremn attributed to lack of respect for rule of law, proliferation of small arms, and the committing of crimes with impunity. In particular, the significant risks of kidnapping and sexual violence against women and children living in the rural communities require urgent attention. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemioc has aggravated socio-economic challenges, including poverty and insecurity”.

”Violence has negative consequences for the victims, their families, and the society at large. A study on the economic cost of farmer-pastoralist conflicts conducted by Mercy Corps in 2015 predicted that Kaduna State had lost between 12% – 22% intrernally generated revenue because of farmer-pastoralist conflict. Similarly, in 2016 , the United Nations estimated the global cost of violence against women to be $1.5 trillion, equivalent to approximately 2% of the global gross domestic product(GDP)”.

The statement said while it aknowledges efforts by government at tackling the menace, there was need for urgent and effective strategies to end practices that constitute grave violation of human rights.

The forum maintained the need to ensure that culprits of violent and criminal acts are brought to justice while relevant agencies be held to account for any misconduct.

It emphasised the need for multidimentional approach and inclusiveness to address the myriad of conflicts among communities in Nigeria.

”Peacebuilding actors need to work together to develop and implement innovative ways to constructively engage religious and traditional institutions, ethnic leaders, youth groups, womemngroups, people with disabilities, political leaders,and civil society in identifying local solutions to the current crisis.The representation of local perspectrives and their voices remain critical to improving outcomes of conflicts management effort and finding common grounds in addressing the root causes of conflicts at all levels. This effort,should promote justice, equity, and fairness in addressing ethno-religious conflicts and use of shared natural resources”.

The Community Initiative to Promote Peace anchored by Mercy Corps is a platform geared towards managing and preventing conflict in Nigeria’s middle belt and North West.

Godwin Duru