Foundation canvasses use of dialogue to address insecurity
By Bridget Ikyado
Rev. Sr. Agatha Chikelue, the Executive Director of Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace (COFP), has called for the use of dialogue in addressing insecurity in the country.
Chikelue made the call at the inauguration of 50 Fellows of which nine are foreigners that represents the sixth set of COFP on Tuesday in Abuja.
The cleric said that Africa has been bedeviled with various challenges in its pursuit for peace and development.
She listed these to include human rights abuse, poor governance, social injustice, growing fanaticism, human and drug trafficking, food insecurity among others.
“Approaches frequently deployed by governments in addressing these problems like the military interventions, only addresses the symptoms rather than tackling its root causes.
“This is the reason why their actions have failed to quench the raging fire; rather it aggravated tensions and triggered more support for violent extremism and insecurity.
“This erroneous approach on peace building must change if we truly want peace and development in Africa.
“Thus, at this point, dialogue seems to be a better option that is worth trying since violence will only begets violence,” she said.
The executive director said that the curriculum of the fellowship programme, had been designed to provide for building and strengthening peace intentionally.
Chikelue said it was carefully crafted to inspire and engage participants in topics that are pertinent to their local realities.
“Building on our common humanity and shared values is what the COFP Fellowship programme does.
“It gives people in the positions of authority and influences the ability to discover their potentials, access regenerative forces in order to become more efficient leaders and peace actors,“he said.
She said that three modules make up the one year COFP Fellowship programme evolving the programme into a yearly event.
Chikelue said that it brings together 40 to 70 national and international actors, leaders, and civil society organisations from all over the continent.
In his remarks, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, founder of COFP said that the issue of peace and security cuts across the entire continent and should be addressed at the continental level.
Onaiyekan said that the foundation was fast developing and needed to look inward for funding.
“In the same line, we are also exploring ways of asking participants and their sponsors to accept some responsibilities for the funding of the programme.
“This is the obvious way to sustain the programme,” he said.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Tony Abba one of the new fellows said he would focus on environmental peace.
He said that unhealthy use of the environment was a source of conflict which many people are not talking about.
“I will engage and make people see reasons why care for the environment is a recipe for sustainable peace,“he said.