Annual Perception Survey shows increased relevance, value and effectiveness of conflict management mechanisms

Findings of the 2022 Annual Perception Survey (APS) indicate improved public perception of the relevance, value, and effectiveness of a range of conflict management mechanisms supported by the Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) Programme. The APS was conducted by Practical Sampling International (PSI), an independent polling organisation. It polled a total of 5,017 respondents from six states - three MCN target states (4,415) and 3 contiguous control states (600). 

Well over half the respondents (57%) think that conflict prevention / response mechanisms are very relevant, valuable and effective (up from 54% in 2021 and at the highest level it has been across all the five years of surveys). 

There has been a further decrease in the number of people that think the mechanisms are not relevant, valuable or effective (6%) down from 7% in 2021 and 17% in 2019. This number is also at the lowest level of all the five years-indicating the impact of the MCN Programme in strengthening conflict management capability. 

The influence of the MCN Programme is also evidenced by the comparative results of the poll in the control states of Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba where 39% thought their local conflict management mechanisms were very relevant, valuable and effective (a fall from 47% in 2021), with 14% thinking they were not very or not at all relevant (up from 8% in 2021).

The survey showed improved perceptions of some of the main institutions supported by MCN. For instance, the traditional justice system continued to receive positive approval by the public, as 92% of respondents said they would seek their services for their justice and conflict resolution needs. The survey showed that respondents were mostly satisfied with the traditional justice system with some 47% saying it works very well and 45% saying it is satisfactory. Significantly, there was a marked difference in the views of male (43%) and female respondents (52%) who think the system works well indicating a return on the efforts of the programme to mainstream gender and social inclusion in the support for the traditional justice system. 

The APS also showed that there is high confidence in Community Peace and Safety Partnerships (CPSPs): 93% of respondents said they would refer a safety / security matter to the CPSP if the need arose. 

Borno adopts code of conduct for traditional rulers

The Borno State Government and the Borno State Council of Traditional Rulers have adopted a code of conduct for traditional rulers. The code of conduct, which stipulates acceptable norms and rules of behaviour for traditional rulers in the state, was prepared with support from the MCN Programme as part of its interventions to strengthen community conflict management mechanisms. 

An event was held to adopt the code of conduct on 13 December 2022 at the Palace of the Shehu of Borno, Maiduguri, Borno State. Participants included traditional rulers, senior government officials, security officers, representatives of civil society organisations, and the media.

Borno is the last MCN target state to adopt a code of conduct for its traditional rulers with support from the programme.

“The approved code of conduct will guide the behaviour, conduct and actions of traditional rulers as they work to earn the respect of the people and maintain the long-cherished institution. Therefore, I urge all traditional leaders in Borno to get a copy of the code of conduct and put it into practice in their daily lives and interactions.”

His Eminence, Alh. Dr Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-Amin Al-Kanami CFR, Shehu of Borno and Chairman, Borno State Council of Chiefs

Yobe stakeholders commit to sustain initiatives to strengthen traditional justice system

Members of Emirate Councils in Yobe states and other stakeholders have committed to sustain the initiatives of the MCN Programme that strengthen the capacity of the traditional justice system. The commitments came at the Practice Dissemination Events organised with Bade, Damaturu, Fika, and Pataskum Emirate Councils with support from MCN in November 2022.

Presentations at the events revealed that the four Emirate councils have handled 22,262 disputes since MCN initiated training activities and provided support to establish Record Keeping Centres. Of those cases, a total of 20,836 (94%) have been resolved and 715 have been referred to other jurisdictions for resolution.

Participants commented on the impact of the innovations encouraged by MCN, including the referral of cases and coordination with formal courts and security agencies, the documentation and preservation of data on disputes handled, and the recognition of the role of women in dispute resolution.

“I once visited the Sokoto Caliphate Museum where I noticed records of Sulhu treated more than 100 years ago. This is what inspired me to embrace the Sulhu and record keeping programme. It is a legacy that I want to leave for future generations. My father treated Sulhu but the records could not be found anywhere. The Sulhu treated under my watch are stored electronically. Our grandchildren will witness what we left behind.”

HRH Mai Umar Bubaram Ibn Wuriwa Bauya, Emir of Pataskum, Yobe State 

“The Sulhu programme has upgraded our status. Our people and formal agencies now consider us an institution of building peace in our society. I assure you that we will handle this programme carefully and we will continue from where MCN stops. I will assign an individual that will be updating me on the activities of the record keeping centre every 3 weeks.”

HRH Alh Dr Shehu Hashimi ibn Al’amin Elkanemi, Emir of Damaturu, Yobe State

“The Sulhu programme helps a lot in reducing the number of cases we received - especially on domestic violence, land and inheritance which are the most common cases in our society. I urge Traditional Rulers to maintain this system and treat cases forwarded to them with justice and fairness.”

Abba Mohd Maina, Registrar of Sharia Court, Potiskum, Yobe State

Stakeholders commit to sustainability of CPSP platforms 

Stakeholders in Community Peace and Safety Partnerships (CPSPs) have expressed their commitment to sustain the early warning and early response platforms established with support from MCN. These commitments were made at MCN-supported practice dissemination events for CPSP platforms. 

In Borno, the dissemination event was held in Maiduguri on 17 November 2022. Participants recounted the success stories and lessons of for Borno CPSPs. Notable among successes recorded are opportunities for participation of women in peace efforts, disarming of armed gangs, reduced clashes among gangs, and enhanced management of conflicts over access to natural resources.  

In Yobe, dissemination events were held from 20-27 November 2022 at 10 local councils with CPSP platforms. Stakeholders highlighted the results of the CPSPs in addressing the main security and safety concerns of communities. Feedback from participants at the events resonated with APS findings showing the level of satisfaction with the performance of CPSPs was highest in Yobe State. 

The dissemination events provided a platform for lesson sharing. Participants identified key success factors for the CPSP platforms including the agency and commitment of key stakeholders - especially the chairperson of the platform, the facilitating organisation and the local council chairperson and district head. The stakeholders have used their influence to secure commitments for the continuation of the CPSP platforms in their localities.   

“I am glad to say women are now participating in community engagement and peace building activities. Before the CPSP, women were regarded as waste since they are not expected to participate in formal work activities outside the home. They were seen as silent workers, keeping the home, bearing and rearing children, and helping their husbands in the farm.”

 Hajiya Fatima, Women Leader, Hawul, Borno State

“I am happy that due to the CPSPs many violent youths were transformed. Some of them have joined the Nigerian army and police service.  Most of the youths have also started trading and skilled work.”

Zanna Lawan Shuaibu, Jere CPSP Stakeholder, Borno State

“This is the first time that people from this Emirate have come together to suggest measures to be taken to forestall the possible occurrence of the farmers and herders conflict.”

HRH Mai Mustapha Umar Mustapha II, Emir of Biu, Borno State


Stakeholders advocate for access to justice for SGBV victims and survivors 

Members of the Steering Committees of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) have pledged to make more efforts to secure justice for victims and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). This was one of the resolutions of the Practice Dissemination Event on initiatives to address SGBV organised by the MCN Programme for Steering Committees in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. 

The event was held in Abuja on 18-19 October 2022. It brought together commissioners and permanent secretaries, and directors in ministries of Justice, Women Affairs and Health, Members of SARC Steering Committees, SARC Managers, and national agencies and civil society organisations working on addressing SGBV.  

The event featured presentations and discussions on the impact and lessons reports, as well as sustainability plans for Family Support Units (FSUs), SARCs and the SARC Steering Committees in the three states. Participants noted that while efforts have been made to provide survivors of SGBV with medical treatment and psycho-social support, not much was achieved with the investigation and prosecution of offenders. 

Following presentations by officers of the national Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), participants discussed the challenges of effective investigation and prosecution of cases of SGBV. Issues included compromise by survivors and their families due to economic and social pressures, as well as a lack of capacity among investigators and prosecutors. There is also an absence of clear procedures for the investigation and prosecution of cases, with rules that duplicate and prolong investigations, prosecutions and trials of SGBV cases. 

Stakeholders also shared lessons on innovative approaches to tackling SGBV. Notable in Adamawa State was linking to the National Sex Offenders Register, and the state subvention for the SARC. The preparation of a protocol for the investigation and prosecution of SGBV cases and the designation of special courts for trial of cases in Yobe State were also highlighted. 

At the end of the event, a communique was issued. Going forward, stakeholders agreed to:

  • Engage the Inspector General of Police for the devolution of investigation of SGBV cases to divisional police level
  • Advocate for the linking of Yobe and Borno states to the National Sex Offenders Register
  • Advocate for the replication of the Standard Operating Procedures for the investigation and prosecution of SGBV cases in Borno and Adamawa states
  • Advocate for the allocation of resources to the Ministry of Women Affairs for the establishment and management of shelters that offer safe spaces for survivors of SGBV

Borno and Yobe link to National Sex Offenders Register  

The MCN Programme has provided support to stakeholders to advocate for the linking of Borno and Yobe states to the National Sex Offenders Register (NSOR). Following the resolutions of the Practice Dissemination Event on initiatives to address SGBV, stakeholders followed-up with the Attorney General and Commissioners of Justice in both states and the Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP). The advocacy efforts resulted in the approval for the linkage and nomination of officers for training.

Consequently, MCN organised a capacity building event on the effective operationalisation of the NSOR and the Service Provider Database. The event was held in Maiduguri on 15-16 November 2022 with stakeholders who will be involved in the management of the Borno and Yobe links to the NSOR. The two main stakeholder groups are known as the High-level Multi-Agency Team (Hi-MAT) and the Service Providers Accountability Resource Committee (SPARC).  

Two NAPTIP officers facilitated sessions on the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, the stakeholder working groups and coordination mechanisms for the linking to the NSOR, and the features and advantages of the register.  

MCN trains police officers on investigation of sexual offences

The MCN Programme organised a train-the-trainer capacity building workshop for police officers on the effective investigation of cases of SGBV. The workshop was held in Abuja on 14-17 November 2022 and included 42 officers from the Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, and FCT Commands. 

The workshop was organised in fulfilment of the MCN commitment to support police training if the investigation of SGBV cases was devolved to divisional police offices. The aim is to help address delays caused by the centralisation of investigations at the Criminal Investigation Department.

The trained officers will serve as resource persons to train other divisional police officers to enhance understanding and investigation skills, contributing to more effective prosecution of cases that should lead to more convictions of offenders.

Pre-test and post-test evaluations highlighted a remarkable improvement in knowledge and skills acquired by the participants - with 50% increase in knowledge. 

At the end of the training, participants agreed to organise step down training in their divisions by January 2023. They also used the opportunity to advocate for the establishment of Family Support Units and Gender Desks in all police divisions. 

Adamawa and Borno adopt protocol for the investigation and prosecution of SGBV cases

The governments of Borno and Adamawa states have adopted standard operating procedures (SOP) for the effective investigation and prosecution of cases of SGBV. This is one of the outcomes of the Practice Dissemination Event organised by the MCN Programme for SARC Steering Committee stakeholders in October 2022 where the stakeholders learned of the good practice from Yobe State.

Following the adoption of the protocol, the MCN programme organised a capacity building workshop for leading investigators and prosecutors on the operationalisation of the SOPs in the states. The workshop was held in Abuja on 5-7 December 2022. Prosecutors from the ministries of justice and investigators from the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Borno and Adamawa states participated.

“This Standing Operating Procedure will be of immense assistance to the Police, the NSCDC and the State Counsel. It is hoped that the issued guidance will minimise the problems of investigation and prosecution of SGBV cases.”

A.K. Jingi, Esq. Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Adamawa State

“The SOP will help me to keep track of details of evidence in prosecuting cases of SGBV. The knowledge will also help me lease with IPOs to ensure evidence is presented well in court and ensure the efficient dispensation of justice.”

Barr. Amina I. Mshelia, Ministry of Justice, Borno State


Stakeholders hail community accountability forums for improved security

Dissemination events were organised to present results and lessons of Community Accountability Forums (CAF). 

In Yobe State, the events held from 19 to 21 November in four locations  – Bade, Geidam, Nguru and Potiskum – where the CAFs were convened. Participants included local council officials, security officials, traditional rulers, religious leaders, and civil society organisations. There were also representatives of women, youth groups and associations of persons with disability, who all commended the MCN Programme and the Communal Support Foundation of Nigeria (COSFON) for the CAF initiative. 

In Bade, participants highlighted the successful effort of the CAF to promote understanding and collaboration between the community members and the security agencies. The CAF addressed tensions between Voluntary Policing Sector (VPS) groups and the police and promoted public compliance with road safety regulations. In Geidam, stakeholders appreciated the contribution of the CAF towards reducing the sporadic shooting of guns by soldiers, addressing cases of SGBV, closing facilities used for commercial sex work, and contributing to road safety. 

In Nguru, participants acknowledged the contribution of the CAF towards road safety, addressing drug peddling and abuse, and stopping the dangerous practice of sale of petrol in flammable containers. In Potiskum, the CAF was commended for improving relations between the security agencies and the public, checking the sale of adulterated food and drug abuse among youths, and enhancing relations between tricycle operators and regulatory authorities.  

In Adamawa State, the dissemination event for five CAF platforms was held on 9 December in Mubi. Participants from the CAFs in Mayo Belwa, Mubi, Michika, Maiha, and Girei commended the Community Reach out and Poverty Alleviation Initiative (CRI) – the convening organisation – and MCN for initiating the CAFs. They endorsed the impact report of CAF produced by CRI and provided positive feedback on the contributions of the CAFs. Stakeholders used the opportunity to restate their commitment to the continuation of CAFs after the end of the current support from the MCN Programme. 

In Borno State, the Peace Ambassadors Centre for Humanitarian Aid and Empowerment (PACHE) – the convener of CAFs in the state – produced and disseminated an impact report that showcases the positive results and feedback in the state, including on the importance of sustaining the CAF initiatives. 

“My participation in CAF activities has brought me close to eminent people in the community, including the LG Council Chairman and also popular in the community as a result I have now been considered to contest for Councillorship of my Ward”

Mal. Abubakar Sale, Chairman, Persons with Disabilities Mubi North, Adamawa State

“The police in Maiha are appreciative of the immense support and participation of traditional, community and youth leaders in the security of the community – as a result of the awareness by the CAF.”

ASP Wapa’anida Sabastine, DPO Maiha, Adamawa State

“I will continue the enlightenment of my subjects on the need to support the security agents – both formal and non-formal – for the benefit of all and see to the replication of the CAF in the Nassarawo community.”

Yerima Sa’adu Ahmadu, District Head, Nassarawo, Mubi Emirate Council, Adamawa State

“I am assured that with the emergence of the CAF, our communities will be able to enjoy the missing benefits of democracy and have a joint problem-solving platform where every member of the community has a voice.”

Hon. Abatcha Ali Kawu, Chairman Mafa LGA, Borno State

“We appreciate the effort to make the community a better and safer place with the establishment of the CAF. I am pledging N50,000 to the CAF. I will ensure that these monthly contributions are sustainable so that it will still be there after we have left office.”

Hon. Ali Umara Bolori, Executive Chairman, Maiduguri Metropolitan Council, Borno State

Initiatives to strengthen voluntary policing sector yield results

Initiatives by the MCN Programme to strengthen voluntary policing sector (VPS) groups in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states are yielding sustainable results. Engagements with stakeholders in Adamawa and Yobe states culminated in the adoption of the code of conduct for VPS groups. 

The events to launch the new code were held on 9 December 2022 in Damaturu and on 12 December 2022 in Yola. Participants used the event to disseminate information and good practices developed during the MCN VPS capacity strengthening initiative for enhanced community policing and security. 

In Borno State, MCN supported refresher training for VPS members on the code of conduct. Participants at the workshop – held on 20 October 2022 – were drawn from 10 VPS groups in four local government councils of the state. 

Feedback from stakeholders indicates that VPS groups supported by the MCN Programme are coordinating well with formal law enforcement and security agencies. In Borno State, this coordination is evidenced by the establishment of a VPS desk in divisional police stations to enhance information sharing and joint patrols. Stakeholders across the states report that this enhanced collaboration has led to the arrest of fake members of VPS groups, suspected members of insurgent groups, and contributed to reduced crime rates.

In Borno, VPS groups were specifically commended for providing security to farmers who faced risks of being kidnapped or taxed by members of insurgent groups who have targeted farmers. This has contributed to reducing food security challenges as farmers had previously stayed away from their fields.

VPS groups in Borno benefited from the Explosive Ordinance Risk Education (EORE) organised by the Peace Ambassadors Centre for Humanitarian Aid and Empowerment (PACHE) and the United Nations Mines Action Service (UNMAS). They have since identified mines in three locations and reported them to the appropriate security agencies.

“This code of conduct for the VPS Groups is an excellent regulatory document whose importance needs no further emphasis. This is because strict adherence with the code by all stakeholders will help ensure that we have a more secure society where security, peace and justice shall reign.”

Brigadier General, Dahiru Abdulsalam (Rtd), Special Adviser on Security Affairs to the Executive Governor of Yobe State

“This code of conduct is aimed at providing guidance to members and leaders of the VPS groups on how to conduct themselves during the discharge of community policing duties. It is the expectation of the Government of Adamawa State that stakeholders will abide by the code in furtherance of security and safety in the state.”

Alhaji Usman Suleiman Palam, Permanent Secretary, Security and Special Service Department, Adamawa Government House, Yola


Policy dialogue charts way for community acceptance of reintegration

Participants at a policy dialogue have provided suggestions on measures required to enhance community acceptance of reintegration. The event was held in Maiduguri (Borno State) on 22 November 2022. It was organised by the Peace Ambassador Centre for Humanitarian Aid and Empowerment (PACHE) with support from the MCN Programme. 

The policy dialogue was organised in response to the reluctance of communities to accept returnees, including ex-combatants from locations who were occupied or controlled by insurgent groups.

The following papers were presented: 

  • Community Acceptance of Returnees: Progress, Challenges and the Way Forward by Bitrus D. Mshelia, representative of Commissioner, Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement
  • Community Acceptance of Returnees: Progress, Challenges and The Way Forward by Babakura Abba Jato, Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs Information and Culture 
  • De-radicalisation and Disengagement: Programme Strategies and Challenges for Successful Implementation by Maj. Gen Bamidele Mathew Shafa Rtd, Former Coordinator of Operation Safe Corridor Programme
  • Women and Youth Perspectives on Community Acceptance of Returnees by Abubakar Abdullahi Suleiman, Executive Director, CENSCOPE

The presentations were followed by four panel discussions involving representatives of government, security agencies and community groups on the perspectives of key stakeholders:

  • Islamic religious perspective on reintegration led by Sheikh Gambo Kyari, Secretary National Council of Ulama’s, Nigeria 
  • The position of Borno communities on reintegration led by Alhaji Baba Abba Hassan, DH Khaddamari, Jere LGA
  • Communication as a mechanism for seamless acceptance led by Abdulkareem Haruna, Editor HumAngle Media
  • Safety and security perspective on reintegration and the way forward by DCP A.M. Bello, Nigeria Police Force

The dialogue ended with a communique that provided recommendations to address the resistance to reintegration, notably:

  • Strategic communications that address concerns of different segments of society concerned about reintegration
  • Targeted economic empowerment and livelihood support initiatives for communities before commencement of returns
  • Regeneration of economic opportunities in the state, especially farming, fisheries, and livestock production
  • Greater recognition and resourcing of local governance and conflict management institutions, such as traditional rulers, voluntary policing sector groups
  • Deeper engagements with women and youths in line with the UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security; and the UNSCR 2250 on youth, peace and security
  • Targeted engagement of religious leaders at the community level to enhance improved understanding to influence pro-reintegration messaging
  • Enhanced support and financial assistance from development partners to Borno State for a comprehensive implementation of the Borno model

MCN supports initiatives to enhance protection of journalists

For the second consecutive year, the MCN Programme engaged with stakeholders to organise activities to commemorate the International Day for Ending Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. The first event was a policy dialogue on ‘Media, Civil Society and Violence-Free Elections’ organised in partnership with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice held in Abuja on 1-2 November 2022. 

The event was declared open by the Hon Abubakar Malami, SAN, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, and was addressed by the following dignitaries:

  • Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Executive Governor of Kano State
  • Femi Adesina, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity
  • Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission
  • Hon Anthony Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission
  • Beatrice Jeddy-Agba, Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice
  • M. D. Abubakar Esq, Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation
  • Chief Tony Iredia, Former Director General of the Nigerian Television Authority
  • Prof Umaru Pate, Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Kashere, Gombe State
  • Samuel Peter Kargbo SAN, Kacson, Kargbo and Associates
  • Prof Yemi Akinseye-George, President, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies

Participants commended MCN for the partnership with the Federal Ministry of Justice which has helped to refocus attention on the need for the protection of journalists by enhancing their access to justice. In her remarks, the Solicitor-General recounted some results of the partnership including: 

  • Participants were exposed to some safety net mechanisms that, among others, enhanced journalists' safety while effectively covering conflict zones. This has reduced the number of potential casualties and boosted media information dissemination in the affected areas.
  • Participants demonstrated appreciation for the free and accessible legal services (especially through the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria) that may be available to them as provided in Nigeria and the International Legal Instruments
  • Participants recognised the need for stakeholders to share knowledge and experiences and proffer solutions to issues that engender impunity for crimes against journalists

Another key result was the decision of state chapters of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to organise events to commemorate the 2022 International Day for Ending Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. MCN supported the NUJ in target states to organise the following events in November 2022:

  • Symposium on creating an enabling environment for the practice of journalism in Damaturu (Yobe State)
  • Conferences on the media and violence-free elections in Nigeria in Maiduguri (Borno State) and in Yola (Adamawa State)

Download the September to December 2022 MCN newsletter below.