An International NGO, Search for Common Grounds, has said the Nigerian Government loses $12 billion annually due to insecurity in the Middle Belt zone alone.
The SFCG Country Director, Sher Nawaz, made the disclosure in Jos, Plateau State on Tuesday during a one-day workshop organised by the NGO in collaboration with German Cooperation.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the workshop, tagged: “Advancing a Credible and Peaceful Media in Plateau State,” was aimed at sensitising the media on strengthening peace through their reportage.
Nawaz said: “Because of insecurity in the middle belt, Nigeria loses $12 billion annually.
“This was a research done by our sister organisation, Mercy Corps.
“It applied different techniques to get this figure.
“The loss has been incurred due to high level of insecurity.
“If people cannot go out and farm, it is actually some sort of cost; there was no one indicator to come out with this figure; they accessed multiple indicators.”
Nawaz said if insecurity was solved, the income per household in the Middle Belt would increase from 60 per cent to 210 per cent.
He added that the organisation, through its five-month long peace project on the Plateau, would use the media as a tool for conflict transformation in the state.
He said: “If the insecurity problem is solved, the household income in the Middle Belt will be increased from 60 per cent to 210 per cent.
“That is how life will change if there is peace.
“We are here for our start-up meeting for our five month-long initiative.
“We want to use the media as a tool for conflict transformation on the Plateau.
“The idea is that we build the capacity of the local media outlets and we will be able to transform the conflict in ways we can’t imagine.”
Also speaking, a civil society activist, Stephen Aluko, called on the Plateau State Government and its neighbours to embrace regional/state policing as obtainable in the South West to tackle insecurity in the zone.
Aluko said the media must set agenda for peaceful coexistence and not indulge in heating up the polity through their reports so as to enhance a peaceful society.
The state Commissioner for Information, Dan Manjang, thanked the NGO for its efforts at contributing to the wellness of the state.
Manjang expressed the state government’s commitment to peace and good governance, which, he said, formed the thrust for development.