THE ROLE OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS IN CONFLICT AND PEACE BUILDING IN NIGERIA

THE ROLE OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS IN CONFLICT AND PEACE BUILDING IN NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Peace  building  is  the  identification  and  support  of  measures  needed  for  transformation  toward  more  sustainable,  peaceful relationship  and  structures  of  governance,  so  as  to  avoid  a  re-lapse into conflict, (UN, 2007). Peace building is also perceived as attempts to conquer the structural, relational and cultural contradictions hastily causing conflict, especially in strong support of peace making and peacekeeping.  Inspirations of peace building are drawn from developmental imperatives facing mankind and conflict resolution initiatives, (Ifesinachi, 2009).  Again  efforts  of  peace  building  may  be  imported  from  outside  the  system  thereby  overlooking  the  structures  and  cultures  of  the  parties  concerned.  The approach to the efforts of peace building could be bottom-top and or top-bottom. Which-ever  base  the  efforts  are  directed  to,  the  end  results  must  be  in  respect,  promotion  and  use  of  local  human  and  socio-cultural  resources.  Peace building has assumed such a prominent position  in  the  minds  of  the  international  community  members  and  all  peace  lovers  in  the  world.  Hence  the  call  for  everyone  to  contribute  in  making  peace  a  reality. 

Non-governmental organizations NGOs, are usually non-profit and sometimes international organizations independent of governments and international governmental organizations (though often funded by governments) that are active in humanitarian, educational, health care, public policy, social, human rights, environmental, and other areas to effect changes according to their objectives. They are thus a subgroup of all organizations founded by citizens, which include clubs and other associations that provide services, benefits, and premises only to members. Sometimes the term is used as a synonym of “civil society organization" to refer to any association founded by citizens, but this is not how the term is normally used in the media or everyday language, as recorded by major dictionaries. The explanation of the term by NGO.org (the non-governmental organizations associated with the United Nations) is ambivalent. It first says an NGO is any non-profit, voluntary citizens' group which is organized on a local, national or international level, but then goes on to restrict the meaning in the sense used by most English speakers and the media: Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to Governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information.

NGOs are usually funded by donations, but some avoid formal funding altogether and are run primarily by volunteers. NGOs are highly diverse groups of organizations engaged in a wide range of activities, and take different forms in different parts of the world. Some may have charitable status, while others may be registered for tax exemption based on recognition of social purposes. Others may be fronts for political, religious, or other interests. Since the end of World War II, NGOs have had an increasing role in international development, particularly in the fields of humanitarian assistance and poverty alleviation.

The number of NGOs worldwide is estimated to be 10 million. Russia had about 277,000 NGOs in 2008. India is estimated to have had around 2 million NGOs in 2009, just over one NGO per 600 Indians, and many times the number of primary schools and primary health centres in India. China is estimated to have approximately 440,000 officially registered NGOs. About 1.5 million domestic and foreign NGOs operated in the United States in 2017.

The term ‘NGO’ is not always used consistently. In some countries the term NGO is applied to an organization that in another country would be called an NPO (non-profit organization), and vice versa. Political parties and trade unions are considered NGOs only in some countries. There are many different classifications of NGO in use. The most common focus is on "orientation" and "level of operation". An NGO's orientation refers to the type of activities it takes on. These activities might include human rights, environmental, improving health, or development work. An NGO’s level of operation indicates the scale at which an organization works, such as local, regional, national, or international.

The term "non-governmental organization" was first coined in 1945, when the United Nations (UN) was created. The UN, itself an intergovernmental organization, made it possible for certain approved specialized international non-state agencies — i.e., non-governmental organizations — to be awarded observer status at its assemblies and some of its meetings. Later the term became used more widely. Today, according to the UN, any kind of private organization that is independent from government control can be termed an "NGO", provided it is not-for-profit, non-prevention, [clarification needed] but not simply an opposition political party.

One characteristic these diverse organizations share is that their non-profit status means they are not hindered by short-term financial objectives. Accordingly, they are able to devote themselves to issues which occur across longer time horizons, such as climate change, malaria prevention, or a global ban on landmines. Public surveys reveal that NGOs often enjoy a high degree of public trust, which can make them a useful - but not always sufficient - proxy for the concerns of society and stakeholders.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Previous research works on the role of NGOs and International Organisation in preventing conflict and peace building Insurgency affected areas shows that there is no government that can take on single handily, the weight of peace building in form of aid. Among the various actors that participate in these processes are the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), which fulfil a pivotal role in terms of establishing and maintaining essential services like assisting refugees and internally displaced populations and helping to strengthen societies.

NGOs increasingly work “in the field,” providing humanitarian relief and development assistance in post terror places. As they carry out their work, they face many serious problems. Insurgencies often deny them access to those in need, terrorist groups demand payoffs, and local violence threatens the safety and even the lives of field personnel. Donors also subject these NGOs to political pressure, diminishing their neutrality. Nongovernmental Organizations face a lot of challenges in the discharge of their duties often caused by Insurgent activities. They are faced with the dilemma; should they negotiate with terrorists to deliver aid, or should they maintain independence and impartiality. Some Nigerian agencies like WACOL operate only through local partners because they cannot negotiate with terrorist-affiliated groups. Red Cross has resorted to having armed escorts and allow Movement for Peace in Africa Awake to supervise the aid distribution. Although impartiality is valuable for the long term humanitarian aid agencies feel they are forced to compromise these principles in an effort to gain aid access according Osueke (2006)

1.3. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

With the spate at which insurgence has dealt a heavy blow on some areas, economically, socially and otherwise, this research work will seek to highlight challenges of insurgency. Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and International Organisation, the role of NGOs and International Organisation in peace building and the way forward.

So as to achieve the purpose of this research the following will be looked into:

       i.            To assess the role of NGOs and International Organisation in preventing conflict and Peace Building.

     ii.            To examine the effectiveness of NGOs and International Organization in preventing conflict and the peace building in restive areas.

  iii.            To identify the way forward for NGOs and International Organisation in the peace building campaign.

1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS

So as to achieve the objectives stated above, the following research questions were used as a guide in achieving the objectives of this research work:

       i.            What are the roles of NGOs and International Organisation in preventing conflict and peace building?

     ii.            How effective have NGOs and International Organisation been in preventing conflict and peace building?

  iii.            What is the way forward for NGOs and International Organisation in the peace building campaign?               

1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

To solve the problems mentioned in the research questions, the following hypothesis are formulated:

Ho:     NGOs and International Organisation are not effective in preventing conflict and peace building campaign

H1:     NGOs and International Organisation are not effective in preventing conflict and peace building campaign

1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

One of the benefits of this research work is to researchers and academics. It will be of tremendous help to governments and their agencies in tackling insurgency and the challenges that comes with it.

The findings and recommendations of the researcher will help bring to the fore the role of Nongovernmental Organizations and International Organisation in preventing conflict and peace building coupled with limitations to their work.

It will also be readily available for international organizations that may need insight into what it is like for NGOs working in affected areas.

1.7. SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This research work focuses solely on the role of Nongovernmental Organization and International Organisation in preventing conflict and peace building. It also touched the challenges of Insurgency and how it affects the work of NGOs.

Based on the findings of this study, another research area touched is Peace building.

1.8. LIMITATIONS OF STUDY

This research work was carried out under a tight schedule. The time frame was short in between lectures and private studies.

1.9. DEFINITION OF TERMS

Peace Building: Peace building is a process that facilitates the establishment of durable peace and tries to prevent the recurrence of violence by addressing root causes and effects of conflict through reconciliation, institution building, and political as well as economic transformation.

NGO: Non Governmental Organizations

Conflict: Conflict refers to some form of friction, or discord arising within a group when the beliefs or actions of one or more members of the group are either resisted by or unacceptable to one or more members of another group. 


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