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NSCDC launches Community Peace Ambassadors

Ojelabi, a Deputy Commandant, said that NSCDC was training street urchins or "Area Boys”, Oodua Peoples’ Congress, National Union of Road Transport Workers, motorcycle and tricycle associations members on peace culture.

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NSCDC boss, Abdullahi Muhammadu Gana play

NSCDC boss, Abdullahi Muhammadu Gana

(Leadership)

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has launched the Civil Defence Community Peace Ambassadors to inculcate peace culture into the youths toward building a non-violent society.

David Ojelabi, Head, Peace and Conflict Resolution Unit, NSCDC headquarters, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Kaduna that the initiative would build peace at the grassroots.

Ojelabi, a Deputy Commandant, said that NSCDC was training street urchins or "Area Boys”, Oodua Peoples’ Congress, National Union of Road Transport Workers, motorcycle and tricycle associations members on peace culture.

He said that other beneficiaries were members of Cattle Breeders Association, farmers, community youth associations, students unions, and youth wings of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

According to him, the NSCDC in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) targeted the youth groups because they are susceptible to violence.

Ojelabi said that NSCDC had resolved to transform the identified groups usually associated with violence into agents of peace in line with the change agenda of the present administration.

"The objective of this initiative is to form a Community Peace Building Network for the purpose of early warning and early response to conflicts.

"The youths are the engine room for conflicts when it comes to people that are used to perpetrate violence. You can hardly see the aged carrying arms and killing people.

"These instruments that are used for violence are the same instruments that that we want to use to fight violence by inducting them into peaceful and non-violent means of settling disputes.

"They will be the advocates of change that we need in the society, they are the ones who will carry the banner of peace and non-violence in their various communities.

Ojelabi said that the first batch of trainees from the South West geo-political zones were recently trained in Ibadan and that of the North West geo-political zone had just concluded their workshop in Kaduna.

According to him, the two batches of the trainees had already been formed into Community Peace Ambassadors and Nigeria will begin to see the peace gradually returning to the country.

He said that the peace network would function like Community Development Associations, adding that those who had been trained would train other group members to expand the network.

"This community-based peace network involves everybody - the NSCDC, police, military, religious institutions, traditional and community associations will be represented.

"The Community Peace Ambassadors will be meeting from time to time to nip in the bud whenever a crisis is brewing before it breaks out to become violent conflicts.

"They have been taught how to resolve conflicts amicably among themselves and with different groups without recourse to violence or inviting security personnel.

"When they cannot settle it, they have been given the contacts of relevant NSCDC and other security agencies officials to contact to nip the crisis in the bud.

Ojelabi said that NSCDC had Peace and Conflict Resolution officers in all the states and local government areas of the country, who would be coordinating the activities of the Peace Ambassadors.

He said that the Directorate of Crisis Management of NSCDC has a Peace Club, a specialised unit to collaborate with states and local governments to ensure effectiveness and sustainability.

"If we don’t put our efforts into building peace, we will put even more efforts it into battling with crisis.

"NSCDC will cover the whole Nigeria with the message and culture of peace and every Nigerian must contribute his quota to peace so that Nigeria will be peaceful once again.”

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