In a bid to forestall violence in the forth-coming 2019 general elections, the National Orientation Agency (NOA), in partnership with other stakeholders, has inaugurated a Planning Committee to design and implement a Peace building programme ahead of the Elections.

The committee comprised of representatives of the Nigerian Army, Navy and the Airforce. Members are also drawn from the Nigerian Police, Office of the National Security Adviser, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Immigration, the State Security Services, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Peace Building Development Foundation (PBDF).

Other members of the committee are from the Ministry of Interior, the National Human Rights Commission, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, institute for Peace and conflict Resolution, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC)   

Performing the inauguration, the Director General of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari said a National Stakeholders Dialogue/Dinner for Violence-Free 2019 Elections was being planned to introduce a convivial and relaxed setting designed to encourage political and opinion leaders, as well as strategic professional groups, to fraternize and challenge the tendency towards electoral violence among political stakeholders.

He said there are already tell-tale signs of violence in the forth-coming elections coming from the recent Ekiti experience which call for massive sensitization for peace in line with similar efforts before, during and after the 2015 elections.

The NOA Chief Executive said his Agency was working together with Civil Society Organizations, security agencies, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties, media organizations and other stakeholders to ensure social harmony with free, fair and credible elections in 2019.

He charged the team to work out a template that will rely on the social communication channels as evidenced in the 2015 model which resulted in the reduction of tension during and after the election.

In his remarks, the Project Director, Mr. Kayode Bolaji of the Peace Building Development Foundation said the expected outcomes of the Dinner/Dialogue include showcasing efforts of leaders to ensure peaceful elections, thus encouraging their followers to do same and promoting the spirit of sportsmanship among politicians.

He said the successes and lessons learnt from the experience of the 2015 peace building efforts will be leveraged for similar efforts towards the peaceful 2019 elections.

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