Benue State Peace Commission Bill Signed into Law
September 23, 2022
Makurdi, 22 September – The Executive Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom signed the Benue State Peace Commission Bill of 2022 into Law. This law establishes a functional State Peace and Reconciliation Commission with the mandate of ensuring timely management of emerging disputes and positive transformation of working relationships between government, civil society and the community. The Commission will also advise the Government on pathways for peaceful resolution of conflicts that ensures systematic integration of conflict-sensitive approaches to development in key social and economic processes, while promoting reconciliation to rebuild the social fabric of society.
While signing the bill, the Benue State Governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom noted that, “I would like to commend thecontinuous technical support and accompaniment by UNDP in facilitating and ensuring ownership in the process leading to the signing of the Bill.” He further highlighted the State’s willingness to collaborate with stakeholders stating that, “We are fully committed to meeting all the requirements of the implementation of the Bill and I urge all of us to join hands to bring about peace and see development flourish in Benue State.”
Mr. Ortom expressed his profound gratitude to the UN agencies, led by UNDP under the UN Multi-Agencies “Peace Project” implemented since 2018 and is aimed at transitioning from humanitarian relief to long term development to the people of Benue. Mr. Ortom stated that, “I am very happy to report that this partnership has already led to the execution of a number of legacy activities such as the convening of a State level stakeholder’s engagement and peace dialogue, the technical guidance on the drafting of the Peace Commission Bill, and coordination of the rehabilitation and resettlement of internally displaced persons.” He further added that “additional support has also included the provision of shelter and livelihood support in five local government areas of Agatu, Buruku, Guma, Kwande and Log, setting up of the North Central Peace Hub in Benue State and the establishment of Benue Agri-business Innovation Hub to stimulate job creation and youth empowerment.”
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Matthias Schmale, called on the state and local government to commit in operationalizing the Bill. He mentioned that “A true test of peace in Benue State will be linked to the implementation of the content of this Bill, specifically early warning of and early response to conflict issues. Hence, an integrated prevention is urgently needed to mitigate the social, economic and security risks in the region.” Mr. Matthias further added that, “The UN will in collaboration with all our partners, continue to support the Benue State Government in its pursuit of peace and stability.”
Speaking about the Peace Commission Bill, Mr. William Tsuma, UNDP Senior Advisor and Coordinator, Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding, stated that “Benue State have today taken a significant step towards peace. They have been a great partner to support as we worked towards the drafting and successful passage of the Bill. What Benue has achieved is significant, the hard work starts now and UNDP will continue to play a supportive role in that pursuit of peace in the State and the wider North Central region.”
Under the Project, jointly implemented by UNDP, UN Women, UNHCR, FAO and OHCHR, over 1400 beneficiaries across five(5) Local Government Areas in Benue State are being trained in different skills such as crop production, pasture/fodder production, livestock production, poultry farming, tailoring, hairdressing, metal works and auto mechanics. Additionally about 100 households are being provided shelter, an ICT-based conflict early warning and early response systems (CEWERS) have been installed in the State and the Benue State Peace Commission is being established with the support of the State Government.
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