An international symposium convened by the Centre for Peace Studies of the Usman DanFodio University, Sokoto, has beamed its searchlight on the security situations in the Northwestern region of Nigeria and the Middle East region where Israel is crrently at war with Hamas, and has come up with major recommendations on the way forward.
The one-day symposium, with the theme, “Pathways to Enhanced Security and Conflict Resolution – Northwestern Nigeria and the Middle East in Perspective,” was, according to a communique, chaired by Abubakar Sokoto Mohammed, mni and had as lead speakers, Dr Murtala Ahmed Rufa’i, Brigadier General Sani Usman Kukasheka (Rtd) mni, Professor Sunday Ochoche fwc and Professor Isah Muhammad Maishanu.
While Rufa’i spoke on “Assessing the Role of Community Based Security Outfits/Initiatives/Institutions in Conflict Resolution and Promoting Security in Northwestern Nigeria,” Kukasheka dealt with “The Imperative of Innovative Strategies for Mitigating Conflict and Security Challenges in Northwestern Nigeria.”
Ocheche handled the subject, “Exploring New Diplomatic Options Towards Conflict Resolution in the Middle East” and Maishanu looked at “Historical Dynamics of Israel–Palestine Conflict: The Way Forward.”
The communique, endorsed by Abubakar Sokoto Mohammed, mni, Chairman, and Professor M. T. Usman, Director, said that speakers and other participants observed, among others, that the emergence, in the North Western region of the country, of community based security outfits are as a result of the failure of the state to provide adequate security and that the challenges of insecurity are “associated with the prevailing abject poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, bad governance and inadequate provision of social and economic infrastructures by governments.”
The major cause of the conflict in the Middle East region was identified to revolve “around issues relating to land and nationhood which had become a complex matter since the immigration of the Jews and subsequent creation of Israel.”
Noting further that “the Middle East conflict for the past seventy years had led to horrendous bloodshed, destruction of properties and displacement of populations, social and economic injustices which largely affect ordinary civilians,” the symposium pointed out that the “Palestinian Question has defied amicable solution within the framework of the United Nations Resolutions and International law because of the insincerity, bias and other forms of prejudices exhibited by some of the major actors in the region and outside.”
Based on the presentations and contributions of participants, therefore, the symposium recommended “that the composition and operational activities of community based security outfits should be all inclusive, devoid of ethnic and other types of socio-cultural differences,” and that “policy makers at all levels of government in Nigeria should urgently address the issues of poverty, unemployment, injustice and lack of infrastructures as a means of tackling insecurity” that is based on economic deprivation and other issues of bad governance.
It also recommended that “State Governments in the northwest region should as a matter of urgency set up a regional security outfit to complement the efforts of the conventional security agencies in combatting the menace of insecurity.”
The communique also stressed that “Peace Resolutions agreements based on the two-states solution should be implemented under the supervision of the United Nations without further delays” and that it is imperative for there to be “sincere international mediation and negotiation in resolving other outstanding contentious issues in the Middle East conflict.”
The virtual symposium, held on Thursday, November 9, 2023, was “in continuation of the mandate of the Centre for Peace Studies, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto to carry out researches and make interventions as well as looking for solutions to social, economic and political crises.”
The communique commended the symposium “as another successful academic activity,” and encouraged the Centre for Peace Studies “to maintain the tempo in organizing more activities of this nature as contributions towards peace building and conflict resolution nationally and internationally.”