EU-MCN Builds Conflict Resolution Network To Foster Peace In North East

•Establishes Sexual Assault Referral Centers • Repentant Boko Haram Terrorists Still Undergoing Rehabilitation.

By Maureen Okpe and Esther Oseyiomon

As part of its activities to manage unrest and create a sustainable peace, the Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) Programme has constituted a conflict resolution network to enhance crisis management and peace building process in the region.

The Programme funded by the European Union and facilitated by the British Council has also established a Sexual Assault Referral Centers (SARCs) where cases of gender based violence are reported in three North Eastern states in Nigeria including Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

The National Programme Manager of MCN, Prof. Muhammed Tabiu SAN, made this known on Tuesday at the MCN close out event and result dissemination, in Abuja.

Tabiu noted that the network would translate into a more stable and resilient community, devoid of attack and conflict, adding that they have created ways to resolve conflict at the earliest stage thereby preventing their escalation into violence.

According to him the MCN Programme has been implemented in three states of the North East in the last six years adding that its objective is to build more capacity for managing conflict in the NorthEast Region.

Tabiu said the aim is also to strengthen the capacity of the institution especially at the community level.

He said "dialogue has also been organised between communities that are in conflict with each other, they have also negotiated agreement between the communities in order for them to live in peace.

He further said by implementing this programme they are focusing on institutions that manage conflict at community level particularly through traditional rulers by training and setting up a case management system and adopting a code of conduct and ensuring that they have a smooth working relationship.

Reeling out some of the successes of the MCN, the Programme Manager said they have empowered and given skills to thousands of young men and women who have been affected by the conflict or who are involved in it and are looking for retirement homes.

On her part, the Special Adviser to Borno State Governor on Health and Chairperson of MCN Borno State Advisory Committee, Ms. Zara Bukar, described the training of traditional rulers of various communities as a welcome development.

She said when you go through traditional rulers you have a positive impact on whatever you are trying to implement in a community because of the strong influence traditional leaders have on members of their communities.

Bukar said having Internally displaced person in an area causes a lot of havoc and problems of abuse and crimes. She therefore commended the Sexual Assault Referral Center program of the MCN.

She said the MCN has done a lot of training, capacity building, reconciliation, and established centers where reports are made, and a fund for assistance is provided noting that they have impacted tremendously in Borno State.

She said Borno State has learned how to resolve conflict and manage situations adding they have also learned how to progress into bringing out their kind of community and whatever resolution they can do to resolve community conflict.

She further said communities in Borno are ready to repentant Boko haram with some of the training that they have had from MCN if they reform.

She however stressed that they have not reintegrated any member of repentant Boko Haram terrorists as they are still undergoing the process of reintegration.