The European Union says no fewer than 2,404 traditional rulers and community leaders in three North East states were trained on disputes resolution between 2017 and 2023.
The leaders were trained through the European Union’s Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) programme.
The MCN National Programme Manager, Prof. Muhammed Tabiu, made this known in Abuja on Tuesday, at a workshop titled “Impact dissemination and lessons learning event for traditional justice intervention in the North East”.
Tabiu said that no fewer than 44,411 dispute were resolved by traditional rulers and community leaders in emirates, using knowledge acquired from the training.
He said that the MCN programme sought to enhance the capacity of government, security, community and civil society institutions and actors to address factors that contributed to the outbreak, intensity, impact and prolongation of violent conflicts.
According to him, the programme is piloted in four emirates in each of the North East states where it is implemented.
“As part of its intervention on strengthening community level conflict management mechanism, the programme has worked with the traditional institutions and actors targeting 12 key emirates across the region,” he said.
The programme manager said the Emirates were Adamawa, Mubi, Ganye, Bachama traditional council; Borno, Biu, Dikwa, Gwoza emirate in Borno. Ika, Damaturu, Bade and Pataskum emirate in Yobe.
He further said that the stakeholders capacity were strengthened around alternative disputes resolution mechanisms, Nigerian civil law, human rights and interface between formal and non-formal security as well as safety institutions in it bid to create interface in the delivery of justice.
“A total of 1,920 participants cutting across districts heads, village heads, ward heads as well as 160 wives and women involved in the community safety concerns,” he said.
Tabiu said that the programme was to support each emirate to establish a record keeping centre for documenting identified and engaged issues.
“To use data obtained from different levels to plan response, decision making and other specific purpose such as addressing sexual and gender based violence.
“As at July 2022, these emirates have resolved about 44,411 different cases ranging from disputes between farmers and herders to business disputes, family and domestic concerns as well as theft,” he said.
On the impact, Tabiu said the traditional rulers had handled 46,821 cases of which 90 per cent from the four Emirates were successfully resolved.
He noted that the programme had facilitated the development and adoption of a code of conduct for traditional leaders.
“It also supported the establishment of four record keeping centres in four emirate councils (Borno, Biu, Dikwa and Gwoza) and supported to organise quarterly meetings to enhance peace and security.
“It equally enhanced coordination with formal security and justice institutions.
“The programme has also help in successful replication of interventions in some locations in the North East,” he said.
Tabiu said that research by the MCN also revealed modest increase in public perception of effective functioning of Traditional Justice System (TJS) from 40 per cent in 2017 to 45 per cent in 2022, and that 336,047 people have benefited from its services.
He expressed delight on the success of the programme including, a testimony by a beneficiary from Fika Emirate that it was able to address a dispute that had lingered for over 60 years.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the traditional rulers in their remark commended EU for the programme, noting that it should be strengthen rather than bring to a close it.
They also urged Federal and state Governments to key into the programme.
In his remarks, the Emir of Fika and Chairman, Yobe State Council Of Emirs, Alhaji Muhammad Idrissa, commended the EU for the programme.
Idrissa said that though the traditional rulers and community leaders were at the helm of administrative system before independence and colonial era, the programme was beneficial to the traditional justice system.
“It is a global belief that for any developmental programme to be sustainable, especially in the areas of peace building and effective conflict management, the traditional institutions are critical for the desired successes,” he said.
Also, Emir of Biu in Borno, Mustapha Umar Mustapha lI, represented by Ibrahim Shehu Birma, Birma of Biu, urged the EU to sustain the programme because of its impacts on the emirate system.
The MCN programme is an initiative of European Union, implemented by the British Council in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
The programme is aimed at improving security and stability to prevent population displacement and forced and irregular migration.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria