N’Delta Ministry commences devt of people driven regional peace-building policy

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The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) has commenced the development of a policy to promote sustainable peace and economic development across the nine states of the Niger Delta region.

The policy is being developed and facilitated for the MNDA by Foundation for Partnerships In The Niger Delta (PIND)

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The policy titled “Niger Delta Regional Peace building Strategy” NDPRS is getting inputs from all segments of society across the  nine states across the region from May 15 to 19.

Speaking at the Bayelsa Town Hall meeting on Thursday, Dr Dave Udofia, Peace Building Programme Manager at PIND noted that the partnership with MNDA was an outcome of several years of impactful work on peace advocacy in the region.

“Our involvement in this policy development is sequel to the effect of our work in the Niger Delta for years, we have been at the forefront of promoting sustainable peace and economic development in this region and it is evident.

“We are adopting a bottom to top approach in developing this policy and we are involving all segments of the society from youths, women, community leaders, political leaders, market women and security agencies.

“This unique approach using town hall meetings will ensure that the people facing the challenges and gaps make suggestions to solving the problems as o identified. The strategy is largely driven by input from the people and not foisted on the people,” Udofia said.

Participants in three groups identified extreme poverty , marginalisation , lack of resource control bad leadership at community and political level was, insecurity , poor parenting amongst others as major challenges to sustainable peace.

The stakeholders also made short and long term suggestions to the listed challenges.

Chief Chinedu Arthur-Ugwa, an national executive member of Ohanaeze youths in his contribution noted that leaders of non indigenes in Bayelsa have imbibed religious and ethnic tolerance to promote peaceful coexistence in Bayelsa.

According to him, the suggestions by participants to the government to pay greater attention to the developmental needs of people based on the priorities of the people was key to maintaining peace.

He appealed to the MNDA to ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the town hall sessions adding that the country is lagging behind in the area of implementation of policies.

Also, SP Asinim Butswat Police Public Relations Officer in Bayelsa noted that the security agencies require the collaboration of all stakeholders in the region to build sustainable peace.

He said that inter agency cooperation amongst the security agencies has resulted to successful operations targeted at reducing crime and making the Niger Delta region peaceful for legitimate economic activities.

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