Peace is more than just the absence of war and violence
Peace is not the absence of conflict – but the ability to manage conflict constructively, as an important opportunity for change and increased understanding, celebrating and learning from difference, not to harm, but also to nurture, all individuals
The United Nations Security Council has created peacekeeping forces as part of the measures taken to fulfil its mandate to maintain international peace and security. The role and mandate of such forces have evolved, from traditional peacekeeping, such as ceasefire monitoring missions, to more robust and broader mandates of peace enforcement and peace building. They are typically deployed in conjunction with parallel humanitarian, political and diplomatic efforts. The Security Council can mandate ‘coercive’ or ‘offensive’ measures, and can authorize regional intergovernmental bodies (e.g., African Union, ASEAN) to manage peacekeeping activities
Without peace, we can never achieve a future free from poverty, hunger and inequality — those same ambitious ideals were laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by 193 countries at the UN nearly five years ago
UN Peacekeepers help bring stability, facilitate humanitarian assistance, support democratic institutions, and help bring a sense of normalcy in fragile areas where conflict has sowed sometimes for generations.
Ambassador Abdullahi Bindawa is a Nigerian educator, Peacekeeper, Humanitarian worker, and security expert with vast experience in peace keeping mission and the most widely recognized young leader in Africa continent.
His educational / security achievements and plans to promote economic self-reliance among Africans are impressive with record of accomplishment as a peacekeeper and nonviolence trainer promoting peace, justice and human rights against violence, intimidation and terrorism in Nigeria and Africa in general, as one of the few certified Kingian Nonviolence Trainer in Nigeria,
As a social change activist, his mission was to organized and educates adult education for democracy with emphasis on special projects and system related to nonviolence, and social responsibility with a focus on institutionalizing the capacity to provide training, research, peace education, and public information about nonviolent approaches to reconciling unjust social conflict and violent conditions.
Abdullahi Bindawa’s journey in humanitarianism began early summer 2013 at the University of Rhode Island (URI) of the nonviolent civil right campaigns. He traveled the world promoting peace in a just and sustainable world. He was involved on intervention and prevention training, peace nonviolence in Nigeria and United States Universities. He participated in dialogue as a National delegate of interfaith leaders provided an opportunity for direct ongoing involvement in violence against women’s and counter violence extremism campaign, awareness through 2010 to 2020. He was recognized as a leader who combines skills of organizing social movement experience with innovative ideas about the philosophy of peace learning and leadership education.
His experience from grassroot have been an advantage to coordinating and directing projects, he traveled near and far and had attended training programmes, courses, seminars, meetings, both locally and internationally in all aspect of Humanitarian development.
In this interview with ADEWALE ADENRELE, Ambassador Abdullahi Bindawa speaks exclusively about his challenges, career, experience, campaign against terrorism; violence against women’s and counters violence extremism campaign. He also proffers a lasting solution to terrorism, banditry and insurgency in Nigeria.
Below are excerpts:
You are a certified Kingian Nonviolence trainer from Nigeria with a background in international affairs, a previous career as a UN peacekeeper and having served in numerous assignments around the globe. What have been the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of leadership for you?
Thank you so much for asking this important question, I don’t know how to express my happiness for you though, I would not be where I am today without the help of countless individuals. Whenever I see someone in a leadership position, I try to learn from him or her. Whether the example is positive or negative, there are lessons to learn and apply or not apply to my own leadership styles. It’s most effective to “teach people to fish, rather than giving them fish”, I have had mentors throughout my life who have taught me how to fish.
Whenever I was getting involved in planning large scale events for the community, I meet someone twenty years older than me and began following his path and having conversations with him about how best to interact with people who would know what’s best” for me to do, how to lead young generations, and the best ways to give instruction to youths who were sometimes five times my age. I ended up talking what I learned from him and build the largest district in recent history. I will continuously push myself to learn and observed so that I can become a highly effective leader who supports others and myself in all I do. My peace building and diplomatic leadership will constantly be developing and show up in who I am and how I am in both formal and informal relationship.
Emergence of terrorism in Nigeria is traceable to factors such as Bad governance, Religion extremism, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, political greed and foreign influence, as a security expert, what are major reasons for the growth and spread of terrorism and what is the lasting solution?
I have watched with dismay the indiscriminate Killings of our people in recent time and I feel I should voice my opinion on the matter. We have been fighting an internal war with Boko Haram propagandists using our Armed Forces, State Security Service (SSS) and the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), but yet war is not the answer to resolve the Boko Haram Conflicts.
I can offer no answer to question 1 and 2 above, but I will suggest a possible solution to question 3, and the answer I will give will provide an immediate solution if we follow it through.
Why do I voice my opinion now to Control Arms?
- The Niger Delta conflicts were resolve through negotiations and campaign awareness
- The IRA conflicts in the United Kingdom were resolved through negotiations.
- The Etta conflicts in Spain were resolved through negotiations.
- The US government is still fighting Al Qaeda even after the death of their leader with reported death of US citizens worldwide.
- After fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan for many years, the US government is negotiating with the Taliban to find a lasting solution to the conflicts. This is a war the US government cannot win without Arms Control Awareness.
Sir, what then is my solution? It is simply that you constitute an International Commission of Inquiry into the issue of Boko Haram Conflicts and Implements its recommendations.
Membership of the commission could be along this line.
- A Judge of the International Court of Justice as Chairman
- Both National and International Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice
- The Sultan of Sokoto
- Security Experts/Consultant
- Emir of Borno
- Representatives of the Senate and the House of Representative
- A Prominent lawyer as Secretary
- A Prominent journalist, and 3 Ordinary Nigerians.
Let us stop this war and let all Nigerians witness the commission of inquiry lives on TV with all the stakeholders including Boko Haram, members in detention voicing the issues and solutions.
What Nigerians need is jobs, good education, electricity and good roads, jobs being the most important. We can create jobs in their millions by making Arms Control awareness through positive way of agriculture in North and South, open coal mining for green coal electricity generation in the East. Once we do this, Boko Haram members will take jobs and join other law abiding citizen of this our great Nation.
We can have peace; our late President Umar Musa Yar’adua has laid the foundation via his work in resolving the Niger Delta Conflicts.
Boko Haram members are ordinary Nigerians just like all of us looking for daily living. Poverty has no doubt led to the foundation of Boko Haram.
Since 2009 millions of our people lost their jobs due to government’s interventions to make Nigeria a better place, however our government and ministers neglected our people. If we must take actions to make Nigeria great lets also think of the consequent and the social needs of our people. When the British Government saw that the mining industries are to close, they invested billions through regional development agencies. The results of these agencies are employments, retraining for coal miners and grants to business to relocate to these areas. We can do the same in our country and not neglect our people with all the Support by Coalition of Arms Control Campaign.
Finally I appreciate your responded on time and let me also concludes with quotation,
Many Nations have sung the songs of freedom, after travelling the valleys of death. Our own time will come in Nigeria when we shall sing the song of Victory
I am confident we will sing the song of victory with your organization of Coalition of Arms Control Campaign through Positive awareness in Nigeria and Africa in generals.
Recently, Nigeria service chiefs were replaced with new chiefs and yet they were unable to tackle banditry, kidnapping and robbery, Do you think our security has been politicized?
In a time when divisions, violence and attacks are increasingly making international headlines, I want to share with you some solution of hope. They are a reminder of what can be achieved when we work together, peacefully.
Since January, 2013, Boko Haram has taken control of Marte, Mobbar, Gubio, Guzamala, Abadam, Kukawa, Kala Balge, and Gamboru Ngala, Local government areas in Northern Borno State. Unfortunately, numerous attempts at negotiating with the Islamist group, including the previous presidential Amnesty offer extended to its member, have stalled due to gross distrust on both sides, and the factionalized leadership of the group’s different cells.
And some of the politicians are hiding under the shadow of Boko Haram to attacks their political opponents. Recent reports have also revealed that some members in the Nigerian security sector have strong links to Boko Haram. In Feburary, 2012, the commissioner of police in charge of criminal investigations in Abuja, Zakari Biu, was dismissed from the Nigeria Police Force for his role in the escape of Boko Haram suspect Kabiru Sokoto. Sokoto is believed to mastermind the bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla Niger State in which over 40 people died. Sokoto’s escapes also lead to the sacking of the former Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim. and if you can remember when Niger Delta Militants kidnapped and sometimes Killed expertrate in reaction to abandonment of oil spillage and destruction in their region, the government awarded them with scholarship, sent them overseas and others became multimillionaires from contract settlements crime was handsomely rewarded.
When Boko Haram killed women and children and kidnapped many into the forest, we negotiated sent some overseas and still pay huge ransom for new kidnappings of children daily we still do not know the identity of Boko Haram, but have their account numbers to pay ransom. When bandits kill farmers, we held round table meetings with them, appeal to them to stop, no talk of arrest, we reward them and ask them to give peace a chance, and even offered them some billions. When politicians and some governors steal their state dry, when confronted by EFCC, we cry foul play and term it is ethic persecution, we stand by our brothers and sisters found stealing. Despite everyday parading of suspects from Armed Robbers and Kidnappers, there is no information about prosecution.
You decided to resign from military peacekeeping assignment as a soldier of peace and join the league of humanitarians, can you tell us what hasten your decision and why do you choose this path?
There is no greater sense of pride than when you raise your hands and take an Oath to protect and defend your nation from all threats, but I understand that wars and militarism make us less safe rather than protect us, that they kill, injure and traumatize adults, children and infants, severely damage the natural environment, erode civil liberties, and drain our economy, siphoning resources from life-affirming activities. I commit to engage in and support nonviolent efforts to end all winnable and preparations for war and to create a sustainable and just peace.
As I spent all my entire in military background before I joined the presidential office and other international organizations, and I remain an important and respectable member of United Nations Committee of Expert on Public Administration (CEPA), United Nations, Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and United Nations Peacekeeping Training Centre (UNPTC) and United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA). Whenever it was require me, I have done my duty to the International community; I have never been accused of sponsoring international terrorism. I have a proud record in contributing my military and security experience, my materials resources and my diplomatic efforts in support of the United Nations and African Union (AU). My blood has been spilled so many times in foreign soils in the cause of world peace.
.What are your major responsibilities as a Youth Ambassador for Peace at United Nations and how have you impact your position on populace?
Perhaps establishing International Youths Humanitarian committees to work and create awareness could be a good idea. We can develop presentations about Global Goals, prepare an active citizenship framework to promote the use of Global Goals in projects; promote the importance of collaborating with societies. We can discuss the Global Goals with committees to let them see what is needed in their community.
The numbers of young people in many developing countries today are unprecedented, highs, in both absolute and proportionate terms. This potentially gives rise to a demographic dividend, an opportunity for rapid growth and development brought about by a bulge in a nations working age population. It also brings new challenges for countries in providing decent work and education for these young people, with serious risks in terms of political and social instability if potential of these youthful cohorts is not captured.
In most developing countries, particularly in sub-saharan Africa and South, and central Asia, a significant share of young people lives in rural settlements.
As pressures on food production systems increase, rural economies diversify and become more integrated with larger towns and cities and the pace of urbanization accelerates, the productive roles of these young people will have important consequences for development.
We can’t wait any longer for government to fill the gaps. We have seen what happens when we leave it to institutions. Handouts aren’t the answers, our presence is the answer. When we leave serving others to government and corporations, we lose the opportunity to find meaning and significance in our own lives.
As a Youth representative at United Nations Association, what are the needs in Nigeria, what will it take to build entrepreneurship and employment in Nigeria, Africa and what are you trying to do to move the needle?
As international Humanitarian aid worker and also a Diplomatic security consultant and understand the importance of collaboration when it comes to preserving the well-being of society. I also believe that it is the people of the community who should have the largest voice when it comes to keeping their people-healthy and safe, allowing people in community to speak up and take part in the decision making process will only prove to benefit the community as a whole. After all, it is the people of the community who experience these life changing events and those are the same people who must rebuild and resume their lives when the water dries up and smoke clears. I say let them speak, let them looking forward to a mutual beneficial relationship, politically, business wise, socially and economically.
African Development Magazine would like to be part of your team reporting your activities; would you consider partnering with us and what will be your commitment to ADM?
I am honored to accept your gracious invitation to join the ADM in reporting my International activities and I gratefully accept your request for partnership. I have long coveted an opportunity to share a stage with Guild members and to educate as we promote the social developments around the globe. I shall certainly strive to be an active and inspirational member of this exceptional Media. Thank you for the recognition. I look forward to meeting with you in person.
What advice would you give the younger ones?
A word for our young generations we are all equal, Hausa, Fulanis, Ijaw, Igbo, TIV, Yoruba, Muslim and Christians, we need to all carry each and every one along.
We should be our brothers and sisters keeper, and as a democratic Nation we should be more focused on protecting the lives and property of our people, we need also to be diplomatic in our dealing with one another.
I am a true believer in patriotic Nationalism and I am going to be always available for you all and discuss any Nations issue and for those of you that want to connect and chat concerning women’s rights, security, education, and our unemployed youths, it can always be an avenue of discussion, to foster a great outcome on all issues that needs attention.
I am promising our young women’s that we are going to come up with a big well prepared term to plan our young women’s future with a master a great use of all opportunities that will be available to us all. We should remember that we are the future of not only Nations alone, but the worldwide at large, so let’s change our footsteps on development goals and take a most reliable productive movement for our young women’s upcoming fresh graduates in Nations, I will want o also advise us all to not relent in our efforts on trying again and again, not to always rely on the government alone, because the future of Nations as a countries is going be on Agriculture and Natural resources.
Let us all join hands and create a network of wholehearted individuals that will be trust worthy and will work for the masses and the people that wouldn’t care who gets the credit nor what they get out of what they’ve spent in building for the future of our young women’s and girls. Be it infrastructural development or young women empowerment.
We only need young future leaders that will work on behalf of the people for the people and by the people of Nations for progress, not for political gains or reinstatement.
My doors will always be opened for discussion like I have mentioned above so whoever picks interest in international collaboration that come along with any progressive idea to pilot a collective job creation chain that will be revisited again and again as a suggestion to require actions on time.
Thank you for sharing with ADM.
You are welcome. Thank you.
Abdullahi Bindawa DSC is a UN Peace Ambassador and International Outreach Coordinator at Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies, The University of Rhode Island (URI), USA.
Honorary Board Member for UN-NGLS Stakeholder Selection Committee for President of the UN General Assembly’s High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding & Sustainable Peace at UN Headquarters, New York – USA
Senior Fellow for United State Institute of Peace (USIP), Washington DC, USA
Research Analyst – Conflict Early Warning & Assessment, at Fund for Peace (FFP) Washington DC, USA.
Senior Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University, California, USA
Counterterrorism Research Analyst & International Security Consultant Arab Institute of Security Studies, Jordan.
International Humanitarian Aid Worker & Global Peace Leader.
Consultant for USAID West Africa Reacting to Early Warning And Response Data (REWARD) Country Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (CRVA)
Social Cohesion & Development Specialist 2018/2020 World Bank Crisis Recovery & Resettlement Consultancy Field Mission – Northeast, Nigeria