By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria -As the world commemorates the International Day of Peace, an environmental expert, Olanike Olugboji-Daramola, has warned that the negative effects of climate change, environmental degradation, and weak governance will continue to increase the risk of conflicts while exacerbating existing ones.
She gave the warning at the 2023 International Day of Peace celebration organized by the group, One Tribe Initiative, in collaboration with Transformation Initiative for Societal Development, (TISD) in Kaduna on Thursday, September 21.
Olugboji-Daramola who was a guest speaker at the event said it cannot be overstated that the climate crisis is generating an increasing threat to global peace and security; noting that conflict between and among communities and armed groups is increasingly being affected by a changing climate.
In her presentation; “Climate change: A threat to Global Peace” she said climate actions/solutions should be integrated into peace-building efforts and the strategies be driven from the bottom up.
Olugboji-Daramola who is also the Founder/Program Director, of the Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment, (WISE), however, posited that only with more sustainable, climate-sensitive development and environmental management can the limited natural resources, a driver of various conflicts, be preserved. “Doing so will offer more ground on which peace and security can be built,” she added.
Earlier, the Executive Director of One Tribe Initiative, Ms Magdaline Musa, said to shape peace together, the world must promote dialogue, understanding, and not division; saying peace requires us to address root causes of conflict, such as poverty, inequality, and injustice.
While noting that the day served as a powerful reminder of the world’s shared aspirations for harmony, unity, and cooperation, she explained that in the face of global challenges, from the ongoing pandemic to environmental crises and social inequalities, our dedication to peace becomes even more critical. “We must recognize that peace is not isolated from these challenges; it is interconnected to them.
“A peaceful world is one where everyone has access to healthcare, where our environment is protected, and where no one is left behind. Let us remember that peace is not a destination, but a continuous journey, one that requires our ongoing dedication and effort,” she admonished.
Musa also noted the pivotal role of education in peace-building, pointing out that educating young people about the values of tolerance, empathy, and respect for diversity, will empower them to become peacemakers of tomorrow. “We must invest in education that promotes critical thinking and encourages a global perspective, so our future generations can navigate the complex challenges ahead with wisdom and compassion,” she added.
Similarly, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Director of Transformation Initiative for Societal Development, (TISD), Paul Ayis, informed that the day’s event is a wake-up call for immediate action because there are lots of work to be done.
While he said people can’t sit by and think that peace is a ready-made product or could be given, he said that “peace is the result of the action, an action to accelerate progress”.
According to him, TISD is glad to mark the day alongside One Tribe Initiative, because this is something the organization has been looking forward to as part of its objectives to collaborate with other civil society organizations that are promoting peace and harmony in society.
Also, the Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, (FIDA) Kaduna branch, Aisha Abdu Mohammed, said women and children are most affected by conflict because it is their spouses, sons, and family members that are out there fighting.
She called for the inclusion of women in peace talks since they are peace builders and are supposed to not only build peace and harmony in the family but also the society at large.
“It is very important that when peace talks are being done women should be put at the forefront. Men are mostly the perpetrators of conflicts while the women are the peacemakers,” she said.
Speaking on the sideline, the National President of Northern Youth Council of Nigeria, (NYCN), Isah Abubakar, said young people should realize that at their level there are other things they can do to better their lives.
He said young people have potential and could be more productive, creative, and innovative to have a sustainable lifestyle. He, however, said if one is looking for an alternative “shortcut” to success, he will become part of those that will cause chaos in the society.
The NYCN national president also said to curb young people from engaging in antisocial vices in society, there is a need to seize the opportunity of a day like this to look inward and ascertain the values we can add to any society we find ourselves by maintaining peaceful coexistence among the people in that very neighbourhood.
“We must use this very special day to also remind ourselves to be creative, especially young people from the north. We must be content creators because we have seen where content creators take away lots of youth from the streets in the southern part of Nigeria,” he advised.
He lamented that content creation is very poor in the north and it is not selling. “Advertising companies are not coming to the region so that we can have a livelihood through what we give out on social media.
“There should also be a call for us to see how we can make comparisons with what our younger southern counterparts are doing there to make money, aside from dependents on Governments to also see how we can add value to our content here to also give us a livelihood,” he posited.