An International Support-Nigeria-based NGO, the Centre for Crisis Prevention and Peace Advocacy (CCPPA), has ended a two-day exhaustive seminar in Kaduna, with a recommended that affirmation of citizenship status in disputed areas would reduce conflicts among different groups in the country.
CCPPA, in a communiqué issued and signed by its Planning Committee chairman and secretary, Mr. Odewale A. Yakubu, and Mr. Clement N. Kuliyak, also recommended that mass orientation should be done with multiculturalism lessons.
“All parties in conflicts have to be properly identified, classified and listened to; resolved conflicts must be transformed if at all peace will stand the test of time.
There is the need for proper documentation and affirmation of citizens/citizenship status in disputed areas, and mass orientation should be done with multiculturalism lessons,” it stated.
The communiqué also stressed that the center’s Mandatory Continuous Membership Education Training (MCOMET) on Conflict Management, Resolution and Transformation, which held in Kaduna Multi-Purpose Hall, between 2nd and 3rd of February, 2017, was aimed at capacity building of participants.
“The seminar is aimed at enhancing the capacity of the participants with the required practical skills and experience to champion the dissemination of information, education and enlightenment for peaceful coexistence.
“It will also equip members to be able to independently analyze conflict situations and engage in effective mediation for peaceful outcomes.
“The training was not restricted to the already existing professional members of the organization, as preparations for the seminar attracted quite a number of interested individuals, who travelled from different parts of the country, including Chief Executives of some Peace Building NGOs, a United Nations Delegate based in New York, Peace Pillars, Peace and Security Consultants, and also some participants from the security agencies,” the center stressed.
After exhaustive facilitation and deliberations, the communiqué observations were that conflicts are as old as mankind and could serve as catalyst for change of situations and growth.
“There will never be any form of development without conflict. For instance, without the conflict of the need to make communication easier and faster, the cell/mobile phones in our hands would not have been invented. Conflict only becomes condemnable when violence, enmity or threat is introduced. This means that there are positive and negative conflicts,” it added.
Conflicts, the communiqué, however noted, do not occur without early warning signs and, therefore, expressed the need to be conscious of these sings and take adequate measures to avoid escalation into bad situations.
“In Nigeria, we normally wait till when violence takes place before measures are taken to manage the situation. The concepts of conflict management, resolution and transformation have been grossly misunderstood and, in most cases, used interchangeably without knowing that they are each unique concepts with different meanings/approaches.
“The scope of conflict management is to make sure that conflicts do not escalate to an uncontrollable level when they occur; it is just the best ways to manage or reduce the effects of conflicts when they arise or when they are developing. What our government normally does, especially by deploying security agencies to enforce peace by stopping violent factions from fighting, is an example of conflict management.
“Conflict resolution involves measures taken to identify and address the deep-rooted sources of the conflict so that the behavior of the actors in the conflict is changed and they no longer resort to violence. This involves awareness, diagnosing the nature of the conflict and applying appropriate strategies to reduce and stop emotional energy involved, then try to resolve the differences.
“Most of the peace committees we see are after resolution; they do not even get to the roots of the issues due to lack of the required skills. Again, we find recurrence of the problems because the resolution is not the end of the process.
“What is common in Nigeria and Africa is that measures taken in conflict situations stop at the level of conflict resolution. Conflict is said to be transformed in a society when, besides the cessation of hostility, the root causes of that conflict have been eliminated or removed to the satisfaction of all actors.
“In Nigeria, most conflicts that were resolved are not transformed; so, they easily reoccur. Conflict management only postpones doom’s day in a conflict situation; conflict resolution takes time to settle issues underlining conflicts; conflict transformation is what guarantees durable peace,” it noted.
The Center also noted that, following the case studies in the seminar, the Jos crisis, the crisis of farmers/herdsmen, the Niger-Delta conflict, the Biafra question and Wukari crisis, are glaring that conflict transformation does not taken place; “that is why they linger to date.”
The Center also recommended needs to strengthen institutions of government and the non-governmental sectors to check the systemic decay that reflects some of the hardships and backwardness, which breed conflicts in the society.
“Poverty and illiteracy are factors that are exploited to cause conflicts. There should be in place strategic mass literacy and orientation programs, including poverty eradication and economic empowerment programs as checks.
“Marshal Plan-like massive infrastructural and human resource development, in partnership with credible local and international organizations, is a needed conflict transformational strategy that should be deployed, especially in the Niger-Delta area.
“Constitutionally-backed power rotation arrangement and special force/courts to protect and prosecute anyone, who kills or destroys any Nigerian’s properties when there is conflict in any part of the country, will help reduce divisions, vested interests by some of the calls for secession.
“Ensure payment of compensation to those, who lost their properties in conflicts. The question of ‘unity in diversity’ in Nigeria should be given better attention and action; genuine sense of belonging should be upheld in our general dealings,” participants noted.
The lead facilitator was Dr. Charles Alfred, from Uni Wukari, Taraba state, and was supported by other distinguished discussants.