Expansion of Community Peace and Safety Partnerships
The Community Peace and Safety Partnerships (CPSPs) supported by the programme sustained their efforts to address threats to security and safety in their communities during the period. By the end of July 2018, the programme was supporting 19 functioning CPSPs. A total of 965 government, security agency and community representatives have participated in CPSP meetings to date, including a large number of women and youth representatives.
Between them the 19 CPSPs have discussed 253 different security and safety issues and undertaken 195 actions to address these concerns. The actions have so far yielded 50 results that enhanced community security and safety. Issues that occupied the time of most of the CPSP platforms include rising incidences of farmer herder conflicts, an upsurge in incidence of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), cases of drug and substance abuse and criminality and disorder associated with operations of commercial tricycles (Keke NAPEP).
Actions initiated and supported by CPSPs have led to identified benefits for over 264,000 community members across the three states.
The programme continues to capture success stories from the activities of the CPSPs, some of which are reported in this newsletter.
Mafa LGA establishes a new police post and donates vehicle to community policing group
The crime rate particularly petty theft and drug abuse was reported to be high and increasing in Kaleri/Zannari, a small community of about 2,000 in Tomsu Ngamdu’a ward, Mafa LGA, Borno State. Concerned community members believed a key aggravating factor was the absence of formal security institutions,particularly the police, in the area.
This security concern was first reported to the Mafa LGA Community Peace and Safety Partnership (CPSP) at its May 2018 monthly meeting. Following the report, the CPSP agreed firstly that the representative of Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) on the platform should liaise with Jere Police division - the closest police outpost to Kaleri/Zannari community - and solicit deployment of adequate personnel to patrol the community effectively.
Secondly, the platform agreed to make a formal request to the Mafa local government chairman, for the construction of a Police outpost where personnel deployed by the Police Command would be based. Thirdly, the CPSP decided to ask for the provision of equipment to the local CJTF so they can function more effectively in their informal role.
Actions Taken and Direct Results
The CPSP commenced their advocacy soon after, with the following results:
• The CJTF of Kaleri/Zannari community were mobilised by Mafa CJTF to intensify their security patrols.
• A CPSP sub-committee engaged with the Chairman, Mafa Local Government and lobbied for their quick intervention on the need for a police post. Within a few weeks, the local council had constructed a Police outpost which was handed over to the Police on 22 June 2018.
• The police have since deployed security personnel to the outpost in the community.
• The Local Government Council donated a 4-wheel drive van and security equipment to the CJTF for use in their security patrols.
Community residents report feeling much safer with the increased security presence and are experiencing a reduction in incidents of petty crime in the area. The CJTF have arrested a notorious gang leader in the community who was handed over to a formal security agency for further investigations.
Damaturu CPSP convenes Roundtable on proliferation of illegal drug retailers
The Community Peace and Safety Partnership (CPSP) in Damaturu, Yobe State organised a one-day Stakeholders’ Roundtable in response to growing concerns over the proliferation of unlicensed drug retailers whose activities are reportedly contributing to rising drug abuse. The participants raised concern about the potential for young persons involved in drug and substance abuse being easily mobilised into political violence in the lead up to the 2019 elections. Discussions focused on identifying preventive measures to head off the potential problems.
Stakeholders resolved to hold further quarterly coordination meetings to identify policies to curtail activities of the drug dealers. The coordination meetings will be hosted by the Directorate of Pharmaceuticals in the State Ministry of Health and Human Services.
In a related development, the CPSP paid an advocacy visit to the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to ask them to organise a public enlightenment programme targeting politicians on the importance of non-violent and drug-free elections. NOA said it would leverage its partnership with international development organisations to organise initiatives to educate stakeholders on the need to maintain security and public safety ahead of the elections.
Inter-faith peace club established in Government Secondary School, Girei
The Community Peace and Safety Partnership (CPSP) in Girei has acted quickly to douse reported conflict betweenstudents at the 1100 pupil Government Secondary School in Girei. The initial reports were that tensions were raised as the students had become divided along religious lines and it was alleged that youths who were not registered students at the school were attending lessons and carrying weapons on school premises.
Girei CPSP organised a sensitisation programme at the school in July 2018 which was attended by key community leaders and representatives from security agencies as well as 54 students. The event included presentation of a documentary on the exemplary story of ‘the Pastor and the Imam’ - two faith leaders who overcame the violent conflicts arising from religious intolerance to take up the vocation of promoting interfaith harmony. Dignitaries at the event enjoined the students to work for peace and made commitments to support peace efforts in the local council area.
Following the sensitisation programme an Interfaith Peace Club was established in the school to promote tolerance and friendship between students from the Christian and Islamic faiths. Student leaders from the Muslim Student Society and Fellowship of Christian Students were selected to manage the Club. The event which was widely publicised on radio and television is expected to inspire students from schools across the state to establish interfaith peace clubs. The CPSP will follow up with the peace club when the students return from the long vacation.
CPSP engages Stakeholders to avert possible farmer/herder clashes in Damaturu
In April, Damaturu CPSP raised a concern about the threat of farmer/herder clashes over the use of scarce natural resources in Damaturu LGA, recalling the violence that had occurred in the LGA in 2017. The CPSP organised a Roundtable for representatives of the key stakeholders in July 2018. Participants included traditional rulers, leaders of Miyyetti Allah and Kulen Allah (herder groups), farmers’ associations, security agencies and officials of the Ministry of Agriculture.
A number of critical issues were identified that could increase the risk of clashes including: how the construction of the new Yobe Airport has encroached onto a designated cattle route through which thousands of cattle from Sahelian and Central African countries pass annually. The meeting also noted that the influx of herders from neighbouring countries has sparked a number of incidents and criminal activities of some of the youths among herder groups has further raised tensions.
Following the roundtable, the Ministry of Agriculture raised the issue of the airport encroachment with the State Government asking them to restore or reroute the affected cattle routes. The CPSP has also visited leaders of herder groups to explore ways to reduce youth nvolvement in criminal activities. The visit, organised in conjunction with the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA), led to an agreement to organise workshops for 3 district and 27 village heads on checking drug and substance abuse and criminality among youths.
CPSP engages government over encroachment of Grazing Reserve in Yola South
The CPSP in Yola South LGA has secured the commitment of the Adamawa State Government to address the reported encroachment of Ladde Danfiki Grazing Reserve by the State Ministry of Land and Survey. In April, the platform had received a report of rising tensions between herders in Yolde Pate Community and persons allocated landed property in the Grazing Reserve. The platform called for restraint and sent a letter to the State Governor to request his intervention.
The State Governor and the Secretary to the State Government have acknowledged the error and promised to take action. The leader of the herders affected by the encroachment confirmed officials of the ministry have visited him and assured him steps were being taken to rectify the problem. This has helped to calm tensions as the community see that government is receptive to their concerns.
Traditional Ruler resolves conflict over encroachment of grazing route
Beneficiaries of the training on Traditional Justice System (TJS) continue to apply skills acquired in mediation and dispute resolution. Mallam Abubakar Suleiman Yahaya, Village Head of Lailai in Fika Emirate Council, Yobe State, facilitated the resolution of a dispute between a farmer and herders over encroachment on a cattle route in the community.
The leader of local herders saw that a farmer was clearing land on a cattle route in preparation for planting. The herder drew this to the farmers attention but he was ignored. Concerned that the encroachment would lead to a violent conflict when the herders returned the matter was reported to the Village Head of Lailai. The police were advised and they arrested the farmer. However he was subsequently released on bail at the request of the Tikau Emirate Council who have jurisdiction over some of the land in dispute.
The Village Head of Lailai requested the withdrawal of the case from the Police and instead referred it to the traditional ruler. The disputing parties were assembled along with the representatives of the Tikau Emirate Council and the farmer was enlightened on the rights of the herders and the regulations guiding gazetted cattle routes in the region, after which he immediately relinquished the encroached area he already cultivated. The farmer and the leader of the herders signed an agreement to the peaceful resolution. This case illustrates the increasing confidence of the public and formal security and justice institutions on the capacity of traditional authorities to resolve conflicts.
Borno SARC attracts UNFPA And Borno State Ministry of Health support
In recognition of the importance of the work of the Borno Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), also known as the N3LEWA Centre, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and the Borno State Ministry of Health have supplied the Centre with a selection of much needed drugs. The supplies include first aid kits and post-rape analgesics to ensure victims of sexual assault get effective treatment at the SARC.
On receiving the drugs, the Medical Director of the Umaru Shehu Ultra-Modern Specialist Hospital (which hosts the N3LEWA Centre), Dr. Adesina Ojewale said:
'Partnership and collaboration are the basis for the establishment of a facility of this nature as no one organization can do it alone.'
He thanked the UNFPA and the State Ministry of Health and gave assurance that the drugs will be used for the purpose they are intended for. The N3LEWA Centre has helped 57 survivors of sexual assault since it opened in February 2018.
Adamawa Hope Sexual Assault Referral Centre visit Kano SARC
The Steering Committee of the Adamawa Hope Centre organized a visit to the Waraka Centre (Kano SARC) in July to learn from their experiences. The Waraka Centre has been in operation since 2014, and has assisted more than 750 victims of sexual violence in the past 18 months.
The Adamawa delegation met with the Waraka Centre management and members of the SARC Steering Committee. During the interactions, members learned about how the SARC has attracted good support from stakeholders; They learned of the support provided by the police and Hisbah and how the media has helped to promote awareness about Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
The Kano SARC also highlighted the support provided by the Kano State Justice Sector Reform Team which provides a monthly subvention for the operations of the Centre, as well as discussing how to mobilise public support for tackling SGBV. The chairperson of the Adamawa SARC Steering Committee, Barr (Mrs.) Fatima Appoh, later said:
'The fact that have others have tried it and it worked for them is a great motivation to us as we begin. We now know that we can also make it work here in Adamawa.'
July proved to be the busiest month to date for the Adamawa Hope Centre, with a total of 12 victims of sexual assault receiving the support of the Centre, whilst the SARCs in Borno and Yobe States assisted 11 and 17 clients respectively in the same month.