In a stark call to action on International Peace Day, the Foundation for Peace Professionals (PeacePro) has demanded that the Nigerian federal government develop a comprehensive national peacebuilding plan to combat the rising insecurity plaguing the nation.
PeacePro contends that Nigeria cannot rely on the hope that security challenges will resolve themselves and urges the government to take deliberate steps to formulate and implement peacebuilding policies aimed at fundamentally altering the current state of insecurity.
Abdulrazaq Hamzat, the Executive Director of PeacePro, emphasized that the organization has consistently maintained that resolving the country’s insecurity issues cannot be accomplished solely through the use of force or even the commonly used “stick and carrot” approach.
Hamzat argued that insecurity in Nigeria has taken on a psychological dimension, where some citizens are trapped in a perpetual state of psychological warfare. While traditional methods may address physical insecurity to some extent, only a strategic peacebuilding plan can effectively reverse the mindsets that serve as the breeding ground for criminal actions.
Hamzat went on to point out a startling observation: there is little difference in the mindsets of bandits, criminals, terrorists causing physical insecurity in the country, and some citizens engaging in online conflicts.
He stated, “The same mindset that justifies bandits kidnapping people and terrorists terrorizing the nation is the same mindset that justifies some citizens perpetually waging war against the country in the digital space. Until this psychological battle is addressed, no significant progress can be made.”
Highlighting PeacePro’s past efforts, Hamzat mentioned that the organization had previously presented similar proposals to the government, with various initiatives designed to address the crisis.
However, he expressed optimism that the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu would be inclined to adopt a more civil approach to their peacebuilding endeavors. He urged the federal government to seriously consider these proposals as part of its commitment to ending insecurity in Nigeria.
The call from PeacePro is a poignant reminder that true peace cannot be achieved through military might alone and that addressing the psychological aspects of insecurity is equally critical.
It remains to be seen how the federal government will respond to this fresh perspective on the country’s ongoing security challenges.