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Nigeria Newspapers

Groups offer solutions to N’Delta communal conflicts, violence

15e20b9c some niger delta gunmen

AN organisation, Search for Common Ground, has identified the lack of inclusive communal leadership as one of the drivers of diverse conflicts and the inability to tackle violence and criminality in the Niger Delta communities.

The NGO observed that this was hampering community security approaches and collective efforts toward addressing the root causes of violence and criminality in the region.

To this end, SCG, in partnership with Stakeholders Democracy Network, Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta and Academic Associates PeaceWorks, has embarked on four-day training of trainers, aimed at engendering conflict transformation and inclusive community security approaches in the region.

The European Union-funded project is titled: ‘Community-Centered Approach to Transforming Criminality and Violence in Niger Delta.’

Speaking at the TOT session in Yenagoa, the Head of Programme Implementation, Niger Delta, Yacinthe Agbadjagan, said part of the project implementation by the consortium was to “reinforce the overarching goal of fostering inclusive community security approaches in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states,” targeting over 60 communities.”

He added, “By engaging diverse stakeholders, including security agencies, traditional rulers, government representatives, youth groups, women groups and marginalised communities, this initiative aims to establish resilient peace architectures at the grassroots level.”

Agbadjagan called on stakeholders in Niger Delta to support the initiative to achieve lasting peace and development in the region, stressing that the consortium was working with key societal organisations to deepen peace efforts.

The Training Coordinator of the project, Philip Kalio, said the consortium had adopted a bottom-top method to escalate inclusive communal leadership, collaborative approaches and meaningful engagement by communities.

He said, “At SCG, we have a strategy of transforming conflict through what we call ‘common ground approach.’ It looks at moving adversarial way of approaching conflict issues to non-adversarial form, and that form looks at bottom-top approach to transformation of conflict.”

In his presentation, the Consortium Manager of the project, Anicetus Atakpo, said participants were expected to, in turn, step down the training to empower community leaders in their various communities.

He enthused “Our primary target for this project is actually our community leaders and the primary goal is to see how we can engage our community leaders to in turn be able to, in their rulership or working in their communities, strengthen their capacity to address some of the key issues that we have identified as the drivers of conflict, criminality and violence in the Niger Delta.

“We would also like to see them address issues of marginalisation as it affects youths, women and other groups within their communities.”

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