Director General of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Dr Joseph Ochogu said its latest peace and conflict resolution course specifically designed for legislators will ensure effective service delivery to Nigerians.
Ochogu spoke at the closing ceremony of the National Peace Academy’s Strategic Legislative Course on Negotiation and Mediation for Taraba State House of Assembly which held Wednesday, August 30, at the institute.
Unlike the peace and conflict resolution courses targeted at community heads, opinion leaders and civil society organisations (CSOs), the course targets the lawmakers, who derive their powers from the masses whom they represent at the federal and state houses of assemblies.
Possessing ability to negotiate and mediate between conflicts both in their daily living and in conflict environment will enable them to engage the people better, to enjoy the dividends of true democracy.
“Once you have a representative with skills around empathy, sacrifice and the capacity to engage the people, such that Nigerians don’t suffer unnecessarily, then, you can change the mindset and mentality of those at the helm of affairs of government. You can then begin to see that service can be effectively delivered to the people. Once service is being delivered to the masses, governance and the well-being of people will improve, peace is built, and the society is all the better for it.”
The director, however, noted that the change will be gradual and incremental, but in the long-run make for a better society, what with the other state houses of assembly keying into the courses.
Speaking to the media, Speaker, Taraba State House of Assembly, Hon John Bonzana, the course provided insight to peacemaking, peace negotiations and conflict resolution.
“Nobody needs to be told the importance of undergoing such a training programme especially with the way our society is going today. We need to maintain peace in our society. We intend to practicalize all that we have learnt. We will establish a Peace House Committee in the Taraba State House of Assembly, they will be given free mandate to make peace where necessary.”
Hon Bonzana, however noted that, applies to immediate communities of the honourable members of the Taraba State House of Assembly, however, in major and complex cases, such as ethnic clashes between Tivs and Jukuns, legislators will brainstorm on how to involve government in its resolution.