I am delighted to welcome you all to the inauguration of the Delta State Advisory and Peace Building Council. Today’s event is the first step in the fulfilment of the second aspect
of our S.M.A.R.T agenda, which is Meaningful Peace Building Platforms aimed at Political/Social Stability.
The Delta State Advisory and Peace Building Council, which has just been created is an improvement over the Delta State AdvisoryCouncilthathadbeeninexistencesincetheyear2000. The slight modification in nomenclature is designed not just to make the Council S.M.A.R.T compliant, but to also reposition it in line with global trends in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and transformation, post-conflict reconciliation, and peace management.
Peace building covers a broad range of issues such as inclusive growth, economic development, educational advancement, health improvement, religious harmony and environmental sustainability. It seeks not only to resolve or avert conflicts, but to also formulate policies and build relationships that help to maintain peace and justice. Ultimately, the goal of peace building in any society is the enthronement of human security, and that refers not just to the absence of violence but the presence of food security, financial security, educational security, health security, and social security.
As a State we have witnessed remarkable progress in the attainment of peace and security under the current democratic dispensation. We certainly need to commend the efforts of past administrations in the State at containing youth restiveness and militancy, which nearly ground our economy to a halt in the wake of our nascent democracy.
It does appear, however, that kidnapping, cultism, sea piracy and crude oil theft with their attendant economic and environmental challenges are beginning to rear their ugly heads. I am also concerned about the emerging trend of inter/ intracommunal land disputes, conflicts between oil companies and their host communities, post-amnesty agitations as well as clashes between Fulani herdsmen and local farmers. All these constitute serious security threats that we must confront with boldness and decisive action.
I believe that government should continue, at all times, to find ways to strengthen the foundation of our unity as a State. In furtherance of this objective, I have deemed it fit to appoint these men and women of proven integrity, exemplary character, and statesmanlike disposition into the Delta State Advisory and Peace Building Council. These are illustrious Deltans who have continued to distinguish themselves in their various fields of endeavour and are passionate about our developmental aspirations as a people.
The terms of reference and responsibilities for the Council are as follows:
- Have power to study the general socio-economic and political situations in the State and render advice to government;
- Advise on issues that can lead to healthy relationship between the Executive arm of government, the Legislature and the Judiciary. This objective shall also be adopted as regards the Local Government Councils;
- Carry out in-depth studies and render advice on issues, which can strengthen harmonious relationship with the Federal Government and other States in the Federation;
- Study the causes of conflicts among the various communities in the State and advise on measures to effectively mitigate them;
- Advise on appropriate peace building mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of the various peace programmes of government; and
- Deliberate and advise on any matter referred to it by government.
I charge members of the Committee to note the seriousness of the task before them, as history beckons on them not to disappoint our people. This administration is relying on your ability to relate with the communities and grassroots organisations in your areas and help them to connect with the policies and programmes of the administration. And you must consult widely and painstakingly, in a variety of ways, to ensure we understand the needs and views of local communities. In the task before you, no voice is too small and no opinion is irrelevant.
- Speech at the inauguration of the Delta State Advisory and Peace Building Council at the EXCO Chambers, New Government House, Asaba.