The Director-General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) Dr Bakut Bakut, has urged graduates of the institute’s Basic Conflict Management Course (BCMC) to apply the knowledge they have acquired to mitigate conflicts.
Bakut gave the charge on Friday in Abuja while speaking at the graduation ceremony and award of certificates to the graduating students.
The director-general expressed satisfaction with the general conduct and performance of the course participants, stressing that “it takes commitment to be able to make it from the beginning to graduation.’’
“Since we started this programme in 2016, we have never had it so good because apart from the BCMC, we also have the advanced professional and fellowship programmes.
“We are also in affiliation with the University of Ilorin, to which graduates of our advanced programmes who meet up the requisite academic requirements can go on to pursue their MSc in Conflict Management,’’ he said.
He explained that the training was part of the capacity-building efforts of the institute, as statutorily required, to enable participants to identify conflict variables, as well as understand, negotiate, and prevent conflicts.
“When you come for a training programme like this, you learn how conflicts start, how to advise, respond, and negotiate peace.
“So, essentially, we train people in all these with a view to mitigating conflicts.
“Our professional programmes include Early Warning, Peace-building, and Mediation, among others, but you have to go through the basic training before you qualify to do the professional course.
Dr Bosede Awodola, Director of IPCR’s National Peace Academy, in her closing remarks, thanked the graduating students and urged them to make best use of the knowledge they had acquired wherever they found themselves.
Lt. Cdr. Uzor Igwe, one of the graduating students, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the course had broadened his mind in relation to aspects of conflict mediation and analysis.
“It has helped me to keep an open mind and have the patience to accommodate both sides in a conflict, while remaining as neutral as possible,’’ he said.
Mr Roberts Ekemini, another participant, said the training made him to understand the root causes and underpinnings of conflict, stressing that he learned that institutional and structural defects were the root causes of conflict.
“It has helped me, as a conflict manager, to always shift my focus from the physical manifestation of conflict to the root causes whenever we find ourselves in conflict zones,’’ he said.
Participants were drawn from all walks of life, including the military, the police, other security agencies, the academia, civil society, and the National Emergency Management Agency, to mention a few.