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US Consulate promotes peace in the Delta

04 December 2013, 21:30Augustine Osayande

Abuja - The United States Consulate General in Lagos and the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) have launched a conflict mitigation initiative in the Delta region.

According documents obtained by this publication from the US embassy, this is part of the country’s strong interest in supporting peace, prosperity and security in Nigeria.

According to documents, essential to this is the stability of the resource-rich Niger Delta – an economic engine of the country, but a region historically prone to violence.

The absence of a ‘social contract’ at the local level, coupled with poor public service delivery, youth unemployment, environmental degradation, upcoming national- and state-level elections and the planned end of amnesty, leave the Delta vulnerable to renewed conflict.

Reducing that vulnerability is in the interests of both the United States and Nigeria, according to documents.

“From civil society groups to artists, youth leaders to dynamic politicians, many Nigerians in the Delta are challenging the narrative of violence and striving for a future of peace and prosperity. Local teachers, journalists, and religious leaders are joining forces to advocate for improved service delivery. NGOs and Nollywood stars are teaming up to discredit violence. If amplified, these inspiring stories can drown out the adage that ‘violence pays,’ and set the tone for a new public narrative of peace,” the document stated.

It added that by partnering with Nigerians already shaping a legacy of non-violent civic activism, the US government hoped to play a catalytic role in the Niger Delta.

“The initiative will capitalize on rapidly expanding media platforms to amplify a message of non-violence,’ the US Consulate General stated.

The Board of Directors drawn from the Consulate general and CSO will design and launch TV and radio shows and social media content, formats that are increasingly accessible throughout the Delta communities.

Featuring prominent celebrities and public figures, the campaign will showcase stories of communities and government working together to solve problems nonviolently, in order to inspire growth and improvement of such efforts.

– CAJ News


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