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Jobs creation, actionable policies, panacea for peace in Niger Delta

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Partner for Peace, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in the Niger Delta, has identified poverty, unemployment, and weak leadership, as the major causes of conflict in the region, saying that job creation and actionable policies by the government remains the only panacea for peace.

The group said one of the major challenges facing sustainable peace in the region and Nigeria in general, is the political leadership, who are shying away from the truth.

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The NGO, which made the assertion in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, after their Annual General Meeting, said the truth is that there is poverty and great unemployment in the land.

Speaking during its AGM, themed, “Shaping Peace Together for Impact,” the National Coordinator of the group, Pius Akomolafe, said the group has over 10,000 members across the Niger Delta States and was poised to build peace in the region.

He said: “The Partner for Peace Central Working Committee came on stream towards the end of 2013, through the Peace camp that took place in Port Harcourt, River State.

“As the first of its kind in the South-South (Niger Delta), as a peacebuilding network, we foster peacebuilding, and the strengthening of the economic standard in the region, in a bid to build a society free of conflict.

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“The central working committee of partners for peace has set out modalities through her state chapters to build peace in every community in the Niger Delta.

“On this great day, I will love to share with you, our Organization’s mandate, vision, mission, thematic focus, and values.

“Partners for Peace; a non-governmental, non-partisan organization established in 2013, according to Nigeria law. P4P is dedicated to promoting peaceable livelihood in the Niger Delta through voices, actions, and network, through our mission.

“To build social capital around peacebuilding through amplifying the voices of positive actors, building a network of self-identified agents of peace and leveraging that network through facilitation, small grants, and capacity building.

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“P4P had carried out interventions across the nine states of the Niger Delta since inception, with achievable interventions ranging from: farmers/herders clash, de-radicalization of cultism/militancy, communal clash, land dispute to violence against women/girls.

“There is also Power tussle, chieftaincy tussle, reduction in criminality, media sensitization/awareness creation on peaceful coexistence, non-election violence, alternative livelihood/economic empowerment/rehabilitation for the ex-agitators to mention a few.

“Many interventions are still on-going in the nine states. This is the time to reflect on how far we have worked towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institution) thus these thought-provoking questions,” he said.

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Speaking on the challenges, he said: “The challenges are just one. We have leadership not partners for peace leadership. The political leadership, they are shying away from the truth. The truth is that there is poverty on the land, there’s great unemployment. It’s an idle hand that is the devil’s workshop.”

On his part, the Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa Command, Mike Okoli, commended the group for its peace initiative in the Niger Delta region. He urged them to take the message of hope and peace to the rural areas on the need to shun acts of violence and criminality.
 
Represented by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Vincent Amachree, he promised to partner the group for the safety of the group.

The Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Chairman in Bayelsa State, Samuel Numonengi, promised to partner with the group on publicity. Represented by Tonye Yemoleigha, he said they will continue to preach the message of peace, during, and after elections in the region.

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