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A CRITICAL STUDY ON THE ROLE OF NGOS IN PEACE BUILDING AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Highest on the list of prime value for Nigeria a town in Bornu state, Nigeria, is peace. Peace is the most valuable public commodity, yet the most elusive (Francis David, 2006). These four years (2009-2014) of Insurgency has brought loss of lives and halted economic activities in various parts of Nigeria. The activities of bokoharam have brought devastating effects on Nigeria which has resulted in loss of lives both human and livestock, suffering, destruction of infrastructures and public/private facilities, disruption of economic/socio-economic activities like agricultural, trade etc. This situation has threatened not only the internal peace and security of Nigeria but also the peace in Nigeria and beyond. So alarming is the fact that most of these areas affected by insurgency lack the will to stop this social charade and have fallen prey to continuous usury and subtle manipulation by politicians who take advantage of this situation to involve in shady deals like kidnapping and arm deals using insurgency as a cover (Chiedu, 2013). Peace building has therefore become the most pressing challenge faced by Nigeria at large and Nigeria in particular. This situation is so partly because of feudal system of leadership which encourages total submission to authority without question which carries with it, ineffective terror control means.
Despite the effort of government through its institutions like the armed forces, religious bodies, NGOs etc, to curb the excesses of insurgence in Nigeria, peace has continued to elude her and sustainable development, stopped. On that note, this project will seek to show the role of NGOs in peace building.
Although insurgency is not easily defined, it may be said to be the use of force, usually violent, as a means of coercing a target population to submit to the will of the terrorists (Asika,4:2009). Insurgency is intended to elicit or maximise fear and publicity, making no distinction as to combatants and non combatants in a conflict.
There is no legally agreed upon definition of the term ‘Insurgency’, but a recent United Nations (UN) document describes it as any ‘act which is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act’. The word ‘Insurgency’ is both emotionally and politically laden, particularly as it imports issues of national liberation and self-determination. Insurgency takes many forms, including political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious and ecological issues. The taxonomy of Insurgency, including precipitating motivations and considerations, is now a subject of intense study. Whether the one as seen in Nigeria can be reduced to a type may be an interesting subject, but for purposes of this work, the primary concern is the threat of insurgency. Insurgency is one objective of organised terrorism, just as terrorism is one of several strategies of insurgency. Both terrorism and insurgency may be used by states in their internal operations. Terrorism and terrorist tactics constitute part of the strategies and tactics of insurgency. The operational tactics are essentially those of guerilla warfare. The object is to intimidate, frustrate and raise the feeling of uncertainty, imminent danger and the loss of hope, so as to cripple or limit all aspects of human activity and normal livelihoods. Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, MEND and, lately, Jama’atu Ahlissunnah Lidda’anati Wal Jihad, are currently international and local Nigerian examples of terrorist networks. Until recently, Nigerian terrorist activity was thought to be motivated by ethnocentric considerations. Currently, there appears to be a pronounced religious content in the character of insurgency in Nigeria. A few of the earlier experiences merit examination here, as a guide in estimating the character, trend and intensity of the current campaign, as well as the role of NGOs in peace building in Nigeria.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Previous research works on the role of NGOs in peace building in Insurgency affected areas especially Nigeria shows that there is no government that can take on single handily, the weight of peace building in form of aid. Among the various actors that participate in these processes are the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), which fulfil a pivotal role in terms of establishing and maintaining essential services like assisting refugees and internally displaced populations and helping to strengthen societies.
NGOs increasingly work “in the field,” providing humanitarian relief and development assistance in post terror places like Nigeria. As they carry out their work, they face many serious problems. Insurgencies often deny them access to those in need, terrorist groups demand payoffs, and local violence threatens the safety and even the lives of field personnel. Donors also subject these NGOs to political pressure, diminishing their neutrality. Nongovernmental Organizations face a lot of challenges in the discharge of their duties often caused by Insurgent activities. They are faced with the dilemma; should they negotiate with terrorists to deliver aid, or should they maintain independence and impartiality. Some Nigerian agencies like WACOL operate only through local partners because they cannot negotiate with terrorist-affiliated groups. Red Cross has resorted to having armed escorts and allow Movement for Peace in Nigeria (MFPIM) and Africa Awake to supervise the aid distribution. Although impartiality is valuable for the long term operation in Nigeria, humanitarian aid agencies feel they are forced to compromise these principles in an effort to gain aid access according Osueke (2006)
With the spate at which insurgence has dealt a heavy blow on Nigeria, economically, socially and otherwise, this research work will seek to highlight challenges of insurgency. Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the role of NGOs in peace building in Nigeria and the way forward.
So as to achieve the purpose of this research the following will be looked into:
To assess the role of NGOs in Peace Building.
To examine the effectiveness of NGOs in the peace building in restive areas in the North East.
To identify the way forward for NGOs in the peace building campaign.
So as to achieve the objectives stated above, the following research questions were used as a guide in achieving the objectives of this research work:
What are the roles of NGOs in peace building?
How effective have NGOs been in peace building in Nigeria?
What is the way forward for NGOs in the peace building campaign?
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