In a paper titled ”The Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa’, former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan stated that ”In 1996 alone, 14 of the 54 countries of Africa were afflicted by armed conflicts, accounting for more than half of all war-related deaths worldwide, and resulting in more than 8 million refugees, returnees and displaced persons. The consequences of those conflicts have seriously undermined Africa’s efforts to ensure long-term stability, prosperity and peace for its peoples. By not averting these colossal human tragedies, African leaders have failed the peoples of Africa; the international community has failed them; the United Nations has failed them. We have failed them by not adequately addressing the causes of conflict; by not doing enough to ensure peace; and by our repeated inability to create the conditions for sustainable development. This is the reality of Africa’s recent past. It is a reality that must be confronted honestly and constructively by all concerned if the people of Africa are to enjoy the human security and economic opportunities they seek and deserve’’ Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan; in a paper titled: ”The Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa’
In the paper, the founder of Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria, Bishop David Oyedepo, declared very strongly that ”Poverty cannot be adduced for the reason of Insurgency, noting that: ”As recently reported in international media, Two Syrian brothers born of same parents who are citizens of Belgium joined the jihadist fighters in Syria. They were young men who had good jobs but chose to join the jihadist. It is not class discrimination either, otherwise villages raided by Insurgents should not have come to play; because their inhabitants are poor people, living on subsistence farming. ”It is also not about oppression of the high and mighty; otherwise, the issues of the abducted Chibok Girls in Nigeria should not have been part of the fight. Oyedepo, in the paper presented at the 9th Convocation Ceremonies of Covenant University went philosophical, pointing out that home-grown approaches are the recipe, stating that ”I have always believed in finding indigenous solutions to indigenous problems. You will agree with me that in the animal kingdom, all animals find local solutions to their local problems. ”They do not travel neither do they import goods and services, yet they succeeded in providing solution to all their problems. ”It is also common knowledge that in the plant kingdom, trees do not move, yet from the same position they are able to access all they need. But man is the most intelligent creature of all of God’s creation, yet because he will not take responsibility, he has not succeeded to find solution to his own local problems. ”Someone once said, you are not a failure until you start looking for who to blame for it. ‘’No amount of foreign interest or support that will be a substitute for our indigenous engagement in finding solutions to the issues of our day.
Oyedepo continued: ‘’I have always believed that no solution can be more enduring than home-grown solutions.” Worried by the continued buffeting of the continent by armed conflicts, Africa’s leaders have met to attempt to find a home-grown solution to the problem of insecurity and conflicts on the continent. However, it welcomes interventions from foreign nations to tackle the hydra-headed problems.’’ As African leaders grapple with the situation, a commentary in the Nigerian Guardian Newspaper edition of September 17, 2014 asserts that ”While it adopts religion as a catalyst, terrorism blossoms in a society where government officials are too selfish to think of the welfare of its citizens; where the ruling elite refuses to build institutions that cultivate the character of people, where government overlooks incidents of social discontent and treats issues of structural injustice with kid gloves. ”Only when African leaders have been able to purge themselves of the inordinate power-craze and misappropriated privileges that negate genuine moral leadership can they muster the moral courage, political sagacity and wisdom to fight terrorism.”
Similarly, the Punch Newspaper, in its editorial of September 4, 2014, noted that ”African countries coming together in a Joint Defence arrangement is, therefore, an idea that should be supported. ”Unlike the Arabs who would rather wait for the US and Britain to provide their conflict resolution needs, Africa has a lot to gain by sticking together on matters of security. ”Apart from the promised US funding, African countries should be ready to fund their own security because no development can take place in an atmosphere of insecurity.” This position was apparently influenced by the 2014 US-Africa Leaders’ Summit on terrorism at which the United States promised about US$70 billion worth of investments in the continent by both the American government and its private sector. A breakdown shows a pledge of $37 billion from the government and $33 billion from the private sector as investible funds targeting specific areas of pressing needs, prominent among which is the challenge of insecurity posed by Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabaab in Somalia and other radical groups in the Sahel. Additionally, President Obama stated the possibility of raising an African Rapid Response Partnership with sufficient capacity to respond to terror attacks and other conflicts on the continent and promised to invest $110 million per year in the next three to five years for this purpose, insisting that “the entire world has a stake in peacekeeping in Africa.”
Security breaches have continued to threaten social stability, harmony, and fundamental human rights of the citizenry globally. Regrettably, finish solutions have continued to elude the whole world; though in various degrees. Given their strategic roles in societal development, the civil society, family units, and others exercising parental influence, have prominent roles to play in preventing security breaches, conflicts, their management, and resolutions. Such occurrences like terrorism, acts of intolerance, kidnapping and other forms of inhuman conducts which were hitherto unknown to Africa, have recurred in the past few years. Peace and security are essential to development and progress on a sustainable basis. Those who disturb the peace of the society are not unknown to the citizenry. Why such incidents are curtailed in Western nations because everybody regards security as his/her assignment. I witnessed, on a few occasions, United States Immigration officers search people carrying diplomatic passports, but who are no diplomats. In one instance, bitter cola was collected from a Minister of the Federal Republic at the Airport Immigration post and shred in our presence. This is where the Rule of Law works for the purpose of protecting others. Any strange movement is reported and security agencies move fast in public interest, no matter who is involved. There is, indeed, the need for commitments of timely engagement in a quest to find solutions to looming dangers, by finding the way out of security breaches before they degenerate to calamitous situations. Evidently, belief systems, youth development, and people exercising parental responsibilities need to be more involved and become interested in playing their roles. What must be the common concern of all is how to engage the social systems in arresting insecurity and adopt measures to combat all acts of violence through cooperation by the civil society with governments that must also be responsive.