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The Cross River State Commissioner of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Sylvester Nsa, has stressed the need for peace in the Niger Delta for the development of the region.

Speaking during a stakeholders’ engagement forum organized by the NDDC in the state in Calabar, Nsa called on all stakeholders to work in unity for the purpose of lifting the region despite any differences.

Nsa, who described peace as a veritable instrument for nation building, said conscious efforts are being made by the Commission in the state to ensure it is achieved.

The forum had as its theme, “Peace as a panacea for the sustainable development in the Niger Delta region”

He said the region has a great advantage in terms of manpower and mineral resources, but needs peace to prevail so that dreams can be translated to reality.

“Elections are over. The Nigerian nation and its people should preach peace at all times. What we need now in this country is peace and not war. The Nigerian nation is urgently yearning for development and this can be achieved by Nigerians themselves,” he said.

Presenting a paper at the forum with the title “Effective communication as a veritable told for peace building in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria”, Dr Ndifon Ejoh, said with the seeming failure in the use of force, the only approach to achieve peace in the region is non-violent communication.

According to him, the non-violent communication strategy offers core processes of empathy and honest self-expression, aimed at healing and resolving deep-seated conflict such as the Niger Delta conflict.

Prof Roibito Ekpiken-Ekanem, who also presented a paper on the role of women and youths in peace building, said engendering peace building processes should ensure that women’s interests and needs are addressed and also acknowledging their role as peace builders.

She said the absence of women in peace processes and the failure of peace agreements to promote gender equality can lead to the perpetuation of discrimination against women and their continued marginalization in the post-conflict rebuilding of society.

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