Foundation for Peace Professionals (FFP), an independent Non-Governmental Organization reputed for rating level of peacefulness in states across Nigeria has presented its maiden edition of Nigeria Peace Index report at the Caux Forum in Geneva, Switzerland.
The presentation was made on 10th July, 2019 at the Initiative of Change (IofC) Towards Inclusive Peace program for 2019.
In a statement by Abdulrazaq Hamzat, the Executive Director of FPP, the organisation said that FPP’s mission is to transform conflict to opportunity for growth and development among people of various backgrounds and ethnicity.
According to Hamzat, this is the second time Caux Forum will be inviting the organisation to its program in Switzerland.
While the organisation could not make it to present the Nigeria Peace Index report in 2018, it was able to do so this year, through alternative arrangement.
Nigeria Peace Index (NPI) is a national index, focused on measuring peace tendencies through foundational indices in the 36 states of Nigeria.
The indicators used in Vision of Humanity’s renowned Global Peace Index (GPI) report was adopted in making Nigeria Peace Index with slight adjustments made to suit local use.
In the maiden edition of the index, Osun State became most peaceful state in Nigeria, followed by Kogi, Ekiti, Kwara and Imo state respectively.
To design the Nigeria Peace Index (NPI) report, five (5) broad indicators were adopted namely; crime rate, level of human rights abuses, rate of poverty, level of education, and rate of incarceration.
Under these five broad categories, there are sub-indicators, which include rates of communal clashes, kidnapping, extra-judicial killings, unlawful arrest and detention, armed robbery and many others.
Describing how the NPI contribute to transforming violent extremism in Nigeria through Peace building lense, Hamzat explained that, measuring peace at national level allows a country to assess the social, political and economic factors that create peace.
The NPI allow peace builders in Nigeria to change the narrative, by concentrating advocacy on foundational indices of peace to improve peace fabrics in the society, rather than on crisis and insecurity.
According to Hamzat, consistent broadcast of negative messages by advocate of sectional, religious and partisan interest is a major factor brewing violence in Nigeria.
“While it is true that every country has its own challenges, countries that allowed negative messages dominate its media space gradually slide into greater violence and insecurity”.
“Nigeria Peace Index is advocating countering such negative narrative, through improved awareness on fundamental issues that make peace attainable.”
“By focusing the discussion on fundamental indices of peace rather than on crisis management, we are channeling efforts towards advocating for improvement in those factors that make the society empowered and less prone to conflict and insecurity”.
Hamzat further explained that, perception of peace or that of conflict can be shaped by external factors, such as media reports, and the more coverage of negative stories in a state, the greater the perception of lack of peace.
However, that is not the case with the NPI, which was designed based on facts and verifiable data, he said
“NPI is helping leaders at various states in Nigeria come to term with fundamental issues needing proper attention to guarantee long term peace and it is also helping peace builders pay more attention to other sectors that are crucial to long term peace building for the purpose of improved advocacy”.
Additionally, Hamzat said concerning violent extremism, particularly in the north east that, Nigeria Peace Index found that Taraba state is the most peaceful state in the north east region and it is the state with least human rights violation.
We can therefore say that human rights violation is a major trigger to violence in the north east and with an improved justice system and provision of alternative dispute resolution centers, peace building maybe enhanced in the region. He concluded.