Peace-Building and Conflict Management in Communities Through Law: A Panacea for National Development


The centrality of peace in the socio-economic development of any society can hardly be over-emphasised. Genuine development can take place in a society with some modicum of peace. This makes it imperative for indigenes of communities that have been torn apart through several years of conflict or crisis to be concerned about the promotion of peace, justice and development in their areas. On this score, societies emerging from civil wars, authoritarian regimes and other conflict situations must accordingly give primacy to issues concerning the restoration of peace and justice in their territories. Not only do such prolonged conflicts and crises destroy the physical infrastructure in organized societies, but they also often have far-reaching adverse effects on the perception and relevance of peace and justice in the new environment. One avenue through which this can be achieved is the recognition of the role of non-governmental organizations in promoting the values of peace-building and conflict management in communities. Although this paper deals with peace-building as a panacea for national development, its central focus will be the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. This approach is adopted because the peculiar position and significance of the Niger Delta region to the economic and political stability of Nigeria is well-documented.  As the region with the largest deposit of crude oil and gas, which is the mainstay of the economy,[1] the Niger Delta necessarily occupies a central place in the economic destiny of Nigeria. It is pedestrian that the exploration and exploitation of crude oil is now a common phenomenon in the area and the presence of numerous oil locations and gas flare points all over the region is a clear confirmation of the prevalence of oil-related activities in the Niger Delta.