OSPRE Pioneers Non-Kinetic Solutions for Southeast Security

Nigeria’s National Early Warning Centre, the Office for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience (OSPRE) has concluded the CONCORD INITIATIVE, a convening of experts to develop non-kinetic strategies for addressing the security situation in the Southeast Zone of the country.

The two-day technical workshop held in Awka, Anambra State, with the theme “Sustainable Peace, Inclusive Recovery and Durable Security” brought together state actors and civil society organizations from across the zone.

In a statement, the Head of Communications & Public Relations, OSPRE, Mrs.Nike Babalola, said the initiative was organised in collaboration with the Anambra State Government, the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), and the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund.

Speaking at the event, the Director General of OSPRE, Mr. Chris Ngwodo, spoke on the resolve of the Nigerian government to complement security interventions with broad-ranging non-kinetic measures aimed at rebuilding trust with communities in the Southeast and addressing their concerns and aspirations for peace and development.

He pledged the commitment of OSPRE to collaboratively develop multidimensional solutions to the multifaceted challenges of the zone with its partners.

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Benjamin Okezie Kalu, commended OSPRE for the initiative and noted its many areas of convergence with the Peace in the South-East Project (PISE-P), recently flagged off by his office.

The Deputy Speaker, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Mr. Sam Hart mni, expressed his commitment to collaborating with OSPRE to advance the cause of peace in the zone.

Also Read: Lawyer Advocates Collaborative Approach To Tackle Insecurity In Southeast Nigeria 

In his remarks, the Governor of Anambra state, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Gilbert Onyekachukwu Ibezim, emphasised the importance of collaboration and engagement with all critical stakeholders, including the government, traditional rulers, security agencies, and academics.

He also highlighted the need to address the root causes of conflict and the importance of dialogue and reconciliation. He commended the efforts of OSPRE in promoting peace and urged all stakeholders to continue their efforts towards resolving the challenges in the Southeast region.

In recent years, the South-east zone has been plagued by the activities of violent criminal gangs and a secessionist insurgency. Attacks on police officers, the military, and other security institutions across the region have heightened a climate of insecurity.

The Chairman of the Anambra Truth, Justice and Peace Commission, Professor Chidi Odinkalu, expressed his appreciation for the initiative, while highlighting the importance of acknowledging the economic effects of the insecurity on the people of the region and called for a sustained effort to address the situation in the Southeast which he described as “complex.”

Expert syndicate sessions formed part of the programme, with briefings and deliberations on cultural recovery, youth empowerment, the role of women in peacebuilding, transitional and restorative justice, and disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration.

Speaking on behalf of WANEP, the largest peacebuilding network in Africa, its Executive Director, Dr Chukwuemeka Eze in his keynote address called for greater interplay “between civil society, policymakers, and international partners” anchored to “an efficient, collective, and holistic strategy.” This, he said, would arrest the situation in the Southeast and the country at large.

Inaugurated in December 2022, The CONCORD INITIATIVE is OSPRE’s flagship national peacebuilding programme and is a convening of early warning, early response, peace, security and development actors to address human security crises in various conflict-affected locales across the federation.

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