•EU-MCN trains 2,404 N/East traditional rulers, and women in dispute resolution
The Emir of Fika, His Royal Highness Alhaji Mohammadu Abali Ibn Mohammed Idrissa, has commended the peace efforts of the European Union-funded Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) Program of the British Council while calling for the strengthening of Traditional Rulers. He stressed that their roles in peacebuilding cannot be over-emphasized.
According to Idrissa, who is also the Chairman of the Yobe State Council of Traditional Rulers, traditional rulers have a critical role in peacebuilding and resolution.
He started this in Abuja at the MCN program “Practice Dissemination Workshop on Initiatives to Strengthen Traditional Justice System, Impact dissemination and lessons learning event for traditional justice intervention in the North East”. He said that the duty of peacebuilding and resolution, which was hitherto domiciled with the emirates, has been taken over by the government.
The MCN Program, which was implemented by the British Council in the states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe, trained no fewer than 2,404 traditional rulers and community leaders in dispute resolution between 2017 and 2023. The program aimed to improve security and stability in the region, preventing population displacement and forced and irregular migration.
Idrissa noted that the peaceful community development initiative strategy, which was formulated and funded by the British Council and the European Union, needs to be sustained to ensure lasting peace in the region. He emphasized that for any developmental program to be sustainable, especially in the areas of Peace Building and Effective Conflict Management, the Traditional Institutions are critical for the desired success.
The Emir of Bade, Yobe state, HRH Alhaji Abubakar Umar Suleiman, also emphasized that traditional institutions are responsible for resolving conflicts and are the best way of conflict resolution as it has no cost and delays like government institutions.
Meanwhile, the Gangwari Ganye, Adamawa state, HRH Umaru Adamu Sanda, regretted that the greatest victims of conflict are from the northeast affected by activities of Boko Haram. He urged traditional rulers to understand the basics of conflict resolution to enable them to perform better as rulers.
In his welcome remarks, the National Program Manager, MCN, Prof. Mohammed Tabiu, explained that the program focused on managing conflict in the North East had been implemented in the past six years to enhance the capacity of traditional rulers on peace and conflict resolution.
Tabiu revealed that over 2,404 traditional rulers and community leaders in three North East states were trained in dispute resolution between 2017 and 2023. He also disclosed that no fewer than 44,411 different cases ranging from disputes between farmers and herders, business disputes, family and domestic concerns, theft, and others had been resolved using knowledge from the training by traditional rulers and community leaders in the emirates covered by the program.
Tabu explained that the MCN Programme sought to enhance the capacity of government, security, community, and civil society institutions and actors to address factors that contribute to the outbreak, intensity, impact, and prolongation of violent conflicts. He added that the program was piloted in four Emirates in each of the North East states where the program was implemented, “as part of its intervention on strengthening community level conflict management mechanisms, the program has worked with the traditional institutions and actors targeting 12 key emirates across the region.”
Tabu listed the emirates as Adamawa emirate, Mubi emirate, Ganye emirate, Bachama traditional council; Borno emirate, Biu emirate, Dikwa emirate and Gwoza emirate in Borno State; Fika emirate, Damaturu emirate, Bade emirate and Pataskum emirate in Yobe State. He said that the stakeholders’ capacity was strengthened by alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, Nigerian civil law, human rights, and the interface between formal and non-formal security and safety institutions in its bid to create an interface in the delivery of justice.
Tabu further revealed that a total of 1920 participants, including district heads, village heads, ward heads as well as 160 wives and women involved in community safety concerns had been trained by the program. The program also supported each emirate to establish a record-keeping center for documenting identified and engaged issues and used data obtained from different levels to plan a response, decision making, and other specific purpose such as addressing sexual and gender-based violence.
Tabiu also added that research by the MCN revealed a modest increase in public perception of the effective functioning of the Traditional Justice System (TJS) from 40 percent in 2017 to 45 percent in 2022 and that 336,047 people have benefited from the services of TJS. He also highlighted that through the knowledge gained from the program, one of the beneficiaries of Fika Emirate, testified that his emirate was able to address a dispute that had lingered for over 60 years.
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