The United Kingdom has warned that rising conflicts could destabilise Nigeria ahead of the 2023 elections.
The British government also blamed the crisis on injustice and impunity as well as weak judicial institutions, insisting that the conflict posed an existential threat to Nigeria’s unity and development.
Speaking at the launch of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Peace and Inclusive Security Initiative in Abuja on Thursday, the Development Director, UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Mr Chris Beecroft, observed that peace and stability could be achieved when the causes of conflict in society are managed through strong, fair, and responsive governance mechanisms at community, state, or federal level.
He said, “The rise in conflict risks destabilising Nigeria’s democracy in the run-up to the 2023 elections. There is an active insurgency in the North-East; farmer-herder conflicts are extending across the country; resource conflicts in the Delta; tension in the South-East; and banditry in the North-West.
“Conflict destroys lives, destroys livelihoods, destroys hope and ambition for the future. Conflict represents an existential threat to Nigeria’s unity and its development.”
Beecroft explained that the use of the police and army would only be part of the solution, as he called for greater emphasis on reconciliation, mediation, arbitration, and access to justice which he described as vital components of a vibrant, resilient, and effective social contract.