The Rule of Law Advisory Team in the Office of the Vice President has held a capacity building workshop for community and religious leaders on conflict prevention, management and alternative dispute resolution in Plateau State.
It was done with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa.
It was part of Conflict Prevention and Resolution Pillar under the National Livestock Transformation Plan (2018 – 2027) implementation.
The Federal Government unveiled the plan as part of its strategy for tackling the farmer–herder crises in Zamfara, Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Adamawa and Nasarawa states.
Rule of Law Advisor to the Vice-President, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, who led the team, said the Federal Government recognises that urgent actions are needed to solve the problem in the immediate, short and long terms.
She said the plan was developed after a yearlong consultation with stakeholders from the affected states and beyond to seek their buy-in.
“The plan was approved on January 19 by the National Economic Council Committee on the Farmer-Herder Crises.
“It is divided into the following six pillars namely: economic investment, conflict prevention and resolution, justice and security, humanitarian response, information, education and strategic communication, and all other cross-cutting issues which include the youth and women.
“Specifically, the Conflict Prevention and Resolution pillar supports the rebuilding of relationships at the community level to promote mutual trust, confidence building and consolidating the peace process.
“This focuses on capacity building of community leaders in peace building, conflict resolutions and management; supporting the process of disarmament and rehabilitation of militias; disbanding and rehabilitating vigilante groups, supporting the institutionalisation and functionality of dialogue and conflict resolution mechanisms, and promoting social cohesion,” Dr Waziri-Azi said.
According to her, the need to strengthen traditional institutions’ capacity in peace building was strongly endorsed by stakeholders visited during the consultative process.
This, she said, led to the Plan’s development especially in the areas of conflict mediation, hence the need for the capacity building workshop.
She said the workshop’s overall objective was to provide community and religious leaders with practical skills and capacity to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts effectively.
They were also equipped to design and deliver a training workshop within their communities, as well as create a peace cohort that will serve as a networking platform for information sharing and coordination.
“At the end of the workshop, certificates of participation were issued to successful participants and a peace cohort was formed with five coordinators appointed to facilitate its activities.
“The peace cohort has been tasked to work together at the community level to train members on conflict prevention, conflict management and alternative dispute resolution as well intervene as mediators when farmer-herder issues arise within their community.
“It is expected that the Plateau State government will provide support to the newly formed peace cohort to sustain its activities,” Waziri-Azi said.
The Rule of Law Advisor believes that with stakeholders’ resolve to embrace peace, apply conflict prevention strategies and expose criminal elements who have been catalysts of violent conflicts in Plateau State in particular, efforts towards ensuring security and peace has been taken to greater heights.
“Much is, therefore, expected not only from the peace cohort but from the entire citizenry to ensure prevalent participation in the conflict prevention and resolution pillar of the National Livestock Transformation Plan,” Waziri-Azi said.
At the workshop were representative of the Attorney–General and Commissioner of Justice Nankwat Shaseet, Director Citizens Right and Law Reform in the Ministry of Justice; DG Plateau- State Peace Building Agency, Mr. Joseph Lengmang and State Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA) Mr. Bulus Dabit.
Religious and traditional institutions, farming and pastoralist communities and Civil Society Organisations were also represented.
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