CONFLICT MANAGEMENT, RECONCILIATION AND STABILITY
715 traditional rulers trained in dispute resolution
The Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) Programme commenced the second phase of the capacity building programme for traditional rulers on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in January 2019. A total of 715 traditional rulers drawn from six emirates and chiefdoms across the three states participated in the training facilitated by Green Horizon. The participating emirates are Ganye and Numan in Adamawa State; Dikwa and Gwoza in Borno State; and Bade and Pataskum in Yobe State.
The beneficiaries were trained in law, human rights and conflict management. They were equipped with skills on understanding sections of the Nigerian constitution and other statutes on conflict management, religious texts (Quran and Bible) on dispute resolution, human rights, reconciliation techniques, and aspects of family law and justice.
The training has changed the perception of traditional rulers on the rights of minorities and vulnerable groups, including women, children, persons with disability and internally displaced persons. Results demonstrate that they are now more aware of their moral and legal responsibilities to promote and protect the rights of all residents in their jurisdictions.
The capacity building programme included interactive roundtables for the traditional rulers to engage with other stakeholders in the justice and security sectors in their states. The sessions defined the roles of the traditional rulers and the different security and justice institutions and agencies and highlighted the need for collaboration and coordination between traditional justice system and formal institutions. The latest trainings increased the number of traditional rulers trained to 1,404 (January 2019). Data from the record keeping centres indicate that beneficiaries have resolved 1,409 cases of conflict successfully with an 88% success rate.
Presidential Committee on North East Initiatives supports training of traditional rulers
The Presidential Committee on North East Initiatives (PCNI) was impressed by the results and lessons learned at the capacity building workshop for traditional rulers on alternative dispute resolution initiated by MCN. The PCNI has now replicated the training in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe States. Green Horizon, MCN’s implementing partner, was engaged to adapt the training modules. The training was delivered to 480 traditional rulers in each of the six North East states, including four first class chiefs in Taraba State. Two-hundred and eleven of the traditional rulers trained were from Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
Community Peace and Safety Partnership platforms record key results
Community Peace and Safety Partnerships (CPSPs) successfully responded to multiple concerns in their localities over the reporting period. The growing relevance of CPSPs is evidenced by the way they address issues that are of immediate concern to the people. A total of 500 individual issues have now been discussed by CPSPs by the end of January 2019 with the platforms functioning in 31 LGAs.
Community safety and crime are the biggest issues of concern, followed by post insurgency related issues and access/use of land (see box 1 below). A total of 1,551 different individuals have attended one or more CPSP meetings (16% are female). On average 8.1 different categories of stakeholders were represented at each meeting, which highlights the keen interest in the platforms (out of a maximum 10 categories).
The CPSPs exceeded expectations in all indicators of functionality and performance: 474 of 500 issues were actioned leading to 110 results. A total of 53,300 individuals are estimated to have directly benefitted and a further 685,400 have been positively impacted by CPSP initiatives. Specific results of the CPSP feature in MCN newsletters (see examples in this issue).
Community Peace and Safety Partnership platform addresses concerns of environmental security and livelihoods
Community Peace and Safety Partnerships (CPSP) continued to record successes in addressing issues with potential to negatively impact on security and safety of their communities. In January 2019, the Fika LGA CPSP platform in Yobe State successfully stopped traditional practices of cutting trees for sale and cooking purposes, which threatened land cover and livelihoods in the area. This response followed a report presented to the CPSP meeting in November 2018. The CPSP agreed to meet with the traditional rulers in Fika Emirate Council and the Fika local council authorities to find solutions to the problem.
During the advocacy visits to the two major stakeholders, it was discovered that persons who embark on cutting wood for commercial purposes violated traditional rules on seasons when the practice is allowed. They have also targeted all trees apart from the Sabara trees that they are allowed to use as firewood and taken advantage of the absence of forest guards since the onset of the insurgency to exploit forest resources in unsustainable manner. After the consultations the Emirate council and local government authorities agreed to sensitise members of the public to desist from the practice by educating them on the dangers to the environment and livelihoods and penalties for violations.
'This has yielded the intended results. Incidences of tree cutting have reduced, and the people are more informed about the need to protect the environment.
There is considerable success in controlling the issue because the traditional institutions and the local government have taken measures to reduce the indiscriminate cutting of trees.’
Alhaji Adamu Sika, District head and Waziri of Fika, Emirate, Yobe State
Community Peace and Safety Partnerships reduce risk of farmer herder conflicts
Advocacy by the Fune LGA Community Peace and Safety Partnership (CPSP) in Yobe State has contributed to mitigating risks of outbreak of violent conflict between herders and farmers in the area. This followed concerns raised at a CPSP meeting held in October 2018 by the chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association on the threat to grazing reserves in the LGA. He reported that significant portions of the reserves have been sold to individuals who have converted them for farming purposes.
The CPSP resolved to meet with the local government council and traditional authorities to stop the further sale of portions of grazing reserve to avoid violent conflicts between herders and farmers. This led to the Yobe State Ministry of Environment directing the Emirs to revoke titles to illegal grazing reserves. In January, the CPSP was informed that the directive had been carried out and threats to grazing reserves were checked. The case demonstrates the capacity of the platform to identify potential threats to security and safety and generate action that contributes to risk mitigation.
Civil society organisation establishes ‘Settlement House’ for dispute resolution
During October-November, MCN supported the training of 30 civil society organisations (CSOs) across the three states on conflict management and peacebuilding. The CSOs have developed plans to apply the skills acquired in furtherance of cohesion and resilience of their communities. For example, the Gamboru Youth Association, who participated in the workshop in Borno, has established a dispute resolution mechanism called a ‘Settlement House’.
The platform is being used to resolve disputes among young persons in the community. An early success is the resolution of a clash between two neighbourhood youth gangs that were supporting rival parties in the elections. The groups known as ‘212 Battalion’ and ‘Killers’ were encouraged to adopt non-violent means to mobilise support for their preferred parties and candidates. The agreement was symbolised by the members of the opposing groups by openly embracing each other.
Media practitioners trained on conflict sensitive communications in Adamawa and Yobe States
The MCN Programme organised a workshop on conflict sensitive communications and election reporting for the media in December 2018. Two workshops were held in Damaturu and Yola. Over 50 participants from 27 media organisations, two police commands, and four media departments of governmental bodies. The participants learned about effective communications in conflict situations with a view to enhancing their capacity to contribute to conflict transformation, free, fair and non-violent elections, and peacebuilding.
A key feature of the trainings was a constructive discussion about the practicable ways of addressing issues that undermine cordial relations between the media and the government and security organisations. Practitioners across the mainstream media, government information departments and the public relations unit of the police participated in the discussion, which focused on how to report conflict, manage dangerous and hate speech, detect fake news, and promote social and gender inclusion. Beneficiaries acquired skills necessary for public enlightenment and conflict transformation.
At the end of the programme, the participants adopted initiatives to implement some of the lessons learned. Notable was the decision of the Yobe State Broadcasting Corporation to introduce an audience discussion programme aimed at providing a voice for women and addressing sexual and gender-based violence issues.
‘This training is very important for the media in the North East because the media is a critical actor in responses to violent conflict.’
Dr Mohammed Bulama, Borno State Commissioner for Information and Communications
Stakeholders commit to implement recommendations of research on youth political exclusion and conflict
A workshop was held to disseminate the findings from research on political exclusion, youth alienation and violent conflicts in Yobe State. The research, conducted by scholars from the Centre for Research, Innovation and Linkages (CRIL) of Yobe State University, with the support of the MCN Programme, aimed to address the exclusion youths from political leadership and its implication for peace and security. Over 80 participants expressed their commitment to implement the recommendations.
The study identified the drivers of youth exclusion and recommended a range of policies and practices required to reduce youth exclusion. Notable was the need for affirmative action by political parties to select young persons for offices in local councils, the reduction of registration fees for young political aspirants, the affirmative action by state and local governments to reserve a minimum of 30% of political appointments for youths.
At the event, the state government announced that it has passed a law that allows persons who resigned their appointment to contest for political offices to be able to return to government employment if they lost the elections. This law will likely address fears about job security that discourage young persons from running for elections. The Chairman of the Yobe State Electoral Commission also promised to explore options for legal and administrative reform that would promote youth participation in politics.
ADDRESSING SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
Sexual assault referral centres support 375 survivors
By the end of January 2019, the MCN Programme successfully established sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) in the three target states and provided services to 375 survivors of sexual assault. Forty-two of the cases have been actioned by responsible agencies attending to the diverse needs of clients for medical, legal, psycho-social and economic support. It is notable that most cases of sexual offences are committed against females (79% of SARC clients are female) and young people (77% of reported cases involve victims under 18 years old). These are not surprising statistics but highlight that the majority of SGBV cases affect the most vulnerable in society.
Most SARC clients received counselling and medical support and many were referred to other service providers for additional support. SARCs have so far provided 243 forensic medical reports to the police to assist with the prosecution of offenders. Two cases have concluded with the conviction of the perpetrators. An estimated 1,929 individuals have benefited from this intervention area.
A positive indicator is the growing diversity of agencies and actors that are making referrals of sexual and gender-based violence to the SARCs. The SARCs have attracted keen interest by stakeholders in the three states. In Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, Executive Governor visited the SARC and voiced the State Government’s commitment to sustaining the good work the centre was doing. The Governments of Yobe and Adamawa States commenced plans to provide support for their existing SARCs and establish additional SARCs in the states. Broader stakeholder support is evidenced by the commitment made the Presidential Committee on North East Initiatives (PCNI) to provide ambulances for the SARCs following advocacy by the Steering Committees.
ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMME
Empowerment programme for Civilian Joint Task Force records success
Members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) have continued to benefit from the economic empowerment programme. Master trainers delivered sessions on carpentry and joinery, fashion design and tailoring, hair-dressing, welding and metal fabrication, leather works and shoe-making, electrical installation, and confectionary and catering. The training is facilitated by HERWA Community Development Initiative (HCDI) and the Borno State Agency for Mass Education.
The programme is already having a positive impact on the perception of the CJTF by the community as beneficiaries put their skills to use. Some members are already using skills to support their livelihood while actively providing community policing services. An unintended positive impact is the contribution to changing gender norms as females participate in training that is traditionally dominated by men.
‘I am already being invited into households to fix some minor electrical problems. Because of the Islamic tradition of Purdah which bans men from entering matrimonial houses, I will be readily available as a woman to enter households and carry out electrical repairs.’ Zara Mohammed Lawan member of CJTF, Maiduguri, Borno State
‘We are most grateful to the EU, the British Council and the Herwa Community Development Initiative for the training. We have always been deeply worried about how youths will acquire employable skills to earn livelihoods so that they don’t become criminals.’ Barr. Jibril Tella Gundu, Adviser to Borno State
COMMUNITY POLICING AND SECURITY INITIATIVES
73 leaders of community accountability forums trained
The MCN Programme organised training for 73 leaders of Community Accountability Forums (CAFs), which were established to enhance relations between security service providers and members of the public. The leaders were drawn from Girei and Mubi LGAs in Adamawa, Jere and Mafa LGAs in Borno State; and Bade and Geidam LGAs in Yobe State. The trainings, facilitated by the CLEEN Foundation, focused on CAF objectives and mandates, roles and responsibilities of the Steering Committees, forum facilitation techniques, advocacy techniques, and human rights.
Participants learned how to promote harmonious relations between members of the public and security agencies; how to coordinate on early warnings and responses; and how to foster mutual accountability between the community and security agencies.
Voluntary policing sector groups trained on community policing
The MCN Programme organised trainings for 72 leaders of 32 voluntary policing sector groups in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States. The participants belonged to different vigilante and hunter groups that provide security in their communities. The ‘train-the-trainers’ workshops were held in Damaturu, Yola and Maiduguri and delivered by the CLEEN Foundation.
The workshops focused on basic policing skills and crime scene management; human rights and their roles in protecting rights of persons, including suspects; conflict management techniques; and organisational management. Results of assessments conducted after the training showed that beneficiaries are cascading the skills learned to their members.
‘Issues discussed on the violation of human rights have really changed my mindset in handling any assignment that has to do with people in my community. I will always protect the rights of everyone.’ Alhaji Bukar, Secretary, Vigilante Group of Nigeria, Gujba, Yobe State
‘Unknowingly, I have been doing the wrong thing when called upon to settle conflicts and make unlawful arrests. This training has really changed my attitude about how to solve conflict among disputing parties.’ Muhammad Mustapha, Hunters Group, Nguru LGA, Yobe State