The Borno State Multi-Sectoral Crisis and Recovery Project in collaboration with the World Bank has taken a step towards peace building and the restoration of social cohesion in the North-East with the formation of community peace groups. The training of the Peace Groups Registration Officers has commenced and is being facilitated by IBWAL Global Services. The registration of the Community Peace Groups is taking place in 9 Local Government areas of Borno state which were the most affected by the insurgency. They are Kala-Balge, Ngala, Dikwa, Bama, Mobbar, Monguno, Damboa, Chibok and Gwoza local Government areas. The local government areas were divided into three for the purpose of training the Peace Group Registration Officers.
At the three Day orientation workshop for the registration officers from Bama, Monguno and Mobbar local government areas, the Technical Coordinator and Programme Manager of the Multi-sectoral Crisis Recovery Project (MCRP), Baba Zanna Abdulkarim disclosed that the training is part of the project’s mandate to foster peaceful coexistence and social cohesion among returnees now that people have started returning to their localities to start life afresh.
Baba Zanna stated that when the peace groups are fully established, they will be structured to address all grievances that may arise as a result of the insurgency and commended Governor Kashim Shettima for reviving the health and education sector which had teetered on the verge of total collapse in addition to empowering women and youth through the state entrepreneurship scheme. He further stated that at the end of the training, 360 members of the Community Peace Groups would be registered in each local government adding that Peace Area Communities would also be formed with 40 members based on their social backgrounds and not economic or political interests.
Also speaking, the team leaders of the resource persons, Dr. Ibrahim Bello and the Technical Officer Dr. Jibrin Talba Musa of the Department of Economics at the University of Maiduguri said that the essence of the project is to promote and restore peace across the state stressing that at the end of the registration, Youth Peace Groups, Women Peace Groups, Community Leaders Peace Groups among others would be on the ground to fully participate in the peace building process of their respective areas.
In addition, they mentioned that a mediation and dispute resolution team will be formed to deliberate on certain issues as they arise for immediate action. The Project Desk Officer, Bulama Gana who extensively harped on the importance of peaceful coexistence as a component of the post-insurgency recovery plan said special attention will be given to women and youths who are the worst hit by the crisis as well as IDPs during the registration. He also urged members of the group and the returnees to make use of the dedicated telephone lines set up as part of the grievance redress mechanism by the project to address vital and genuine problems and grievances that may arise.
Some of the participants described the training as vital and timely and observed that the training is a gateway to peace and stability among the returnees as many are still bitter over the loss of their children and relatives and the destruction of their property in the insurgency. They pledged to make good use of the knowledge gained by impacting positively on the lives of the returnees especially youths and women who have disproportionately borne the brunt of the conflict. The MCRP is funded by the World Bank and is being implemented by the state government with the support of the federal government.