The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) has urged state governments in the Niger Delta to adopt its Partners for Peace (P4P) model to address conflicts in the region.
P4P Program Manager Nkasi Wodu said this in the P4P case study report titled “Partners for Peace in the Niger Delta – A Platform for Collective Action in Conflict-Prone Region” released in November 2020.
Due to the constant communal and cult clashes in the region, PIND, a non-governmental organization committed to economic development and restoring peace in the region in 2013 established the P4P, a Network of grassroots volunteers mobilized to prevent, mitigate conflicts and promote peace building in the region.
The P4P Network recruited over 10, 000 peace actors from various communities in the nine Niger Delta states, empowered and trained them with the view to addressing conflicts and restoring peace in their communities.
“The P4P model, which is rooted in the social network theory, is effective in peacebuilding and conflict mitigation in the Niger Delta,” said Wodu, while urging state governments and other peace organizations to adopt the model.
According to him, the idea of the P4P Network was to keep the level of violence as low as possible, particularly in key communities of interest while also building the social infrastructure and social capital for long-term sustainable peace.”
P4P Network Coordinator Africas Lawal revealed that between 2015 and 2019, the P4P network handled 713 conflicts in the Niger Delta, adding “The P4P network model is accepted because it is indigenous to the people.”
Wodu said there was a need for sustainable peace-building infrastructure to be domiciled in each state to facilitate access to more local actors and ensure peacebuilders operate across the region. This led to the creation of network chapters of P4P in each of the nine states of the Niger Delta that managed conflicts in their communities.
The peace actors consist of traditional rulers, government officials, civil society actors, reformed militants, security operatives, youth leaders, women leaders, small enterprise owners, private individuals, and others.
Wodu said the peace actors receive early warning signs and go into the communities and meet the and broker peace with the people involved in the conflicts. A combination of conflict prevention, resolution, and management, mediation, arbitration was adopted to restore peace in the region.
The Edo State P4P Chapter, for example, gained recognition from the State government following a peacebuilding intervention they carried out between two warring communities in the State. According to the members, “Because of land dispute between two communities – Umunokhua and Urevbe both in Orhionmuon Local Government Area, lots of people had died, some beheaded. We were able to intervene. We did our best, we spoke to both parties, we saw traditional rulers and they agreed to stop the conflict. Through that, the government has recognized us,” adding that “Anytime we go out for peace talk, people want to identify with us.’’
According to him: “P4P members were able to take actions that addressed potential sources of conflict before it reached a point where the parties involved see violence as their only recourse. In other instances, where conflict is already in existence, the P4P actors helped conflicting parties to find a peaceful solution to their disagreement using informal alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as negotiation, arbitration, mediation, and diplomacy.”
Wodu said the P4P started with 100 peace actors in 2013, adding that the number later increased to over 10, 000 members in 2019. “Anytime I see people we have trained in their little corner making a difference, it blows my mind,” he said.