Unemployment is a major source of violent conflict, which firms and private citizens must help reduce through investments in conflict prone societies, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria has said.

He explained that in this context, investment could help to prevent conflict and stabilise a post conflict society.
“The more people have chance of increased interactions in business, the more they could be encouraged to forget their differences,” Mallam Ali stated in Accra at the inauguration of the head office complex of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP).

“Aside from creating employment opportunities, they can also invest directly in the business of peace and security by assisting the security agencies, both financially and morally, in the discharge of their duties.
“This is because, the responsibility of providing security is too daunting to be left to the government alone,” he added.

The event, which coincided with the launching of a book entitled: “Strides and Strains of Civil Society Organisations in West Africa: The WANEP Story”, was chaired by Mr Alain Marcel Da Souza, the ECOWAS Commission President.
In attendance were the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Dr Sam G. Doe, the first Executive Director and Co-founder of WANEP and Mr Emmanuel H. Bombande, the second Executive Director and Co-founder of WANEP.

Mallam Ali said private citizens and business organisations operating in a conflict prone environment must be socially responsible, most especially in terms of observance of environmental and social standards as well as human rights code.
He said to ensure this, such firms must have mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating their operations on regular basis.

Mallam Ali said it was necessary for business organisations to make contributions to the reduction of conflicts around them by investing in corporate social responsibility projects, most especially in areas of health, education, housing and enterprise development.

He urged private citizens who were in position of influence as leaders to guard their utterances to their followers on sensitive issues.

“Although the project of peace and security is daunting and cannot be left to government alone, government should provide the necessary leadership through evolving and furthering agenda that promote peace through public policies,” he stated.

He said the goal of sustainable peace and security was everybody’s project and most likely to be achieved if government and all the stakeholders work in partnership.

He said businesses and citizens had roles to play in ensuring peace and stability.
“WANEP is a private initiative. Yet, it has achieved so much at preventing and managing conflicts in the West African region for upwards of a decade now. This is not a small achievement,” he said.

Mr Chukwuemeka B. Eze, the Executive Director of WANEP, said with the co-operation of governments, ECOWAS, the African Union, and development partners, WANEP had continued to act as a catalyst in implementing programmes and specific activities that supported Africa Peace Agenda.

Source: GNA

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