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WANEP, AU conduct training on election conflict prevention

Ahead of Nigeria's 2019 General Election, the West Africa Network for Peace building, the African Union and ECOWAS have trained about 80 people from civil society organisations on conflict monitoring, aimed at preventing conflicts within the election period.

The organisation says the training, which brought participants from all 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, is part of a broader election monitoring, management and mitigation project, designed to mitigate election violence in the forthcoming election.

It said that could be achieved by equipping the selected civil society organisations with skills of monitoring and reporting into an online National Early Warning System.

The West Africa Network for Peace building says it considers the capacity building of those likely to be engaged as community and state monitors an important assignment because Nigeria has entered a critical phase of election process in the midst of unfolding skirmishes in the political arena.

These it says there are growing concerns about election security, with the potential to mar the democratic gains of Nigeria, with its early warning reports suggesting underlying issues of inter and intra-party tensions, slander, politically motivated violence and re-occurrences of cross carpeting of prominent politicians.

WANEP says other issues that are threats that will test Nigeria's democracy and stability are heightened security challenges due the activities of insurgents, herder/farmer conflicts and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

Against this development, the Executive Director of the organisation, Dr. Chukwuemeka Eze, said the three organisations had instituted a project to monitor and analyse situations to mitigate and develop a response platform to any likely violence, before, during and after Nigeria's 2019 General Election.

WANEP, ECOWAS/AU developed election specific indicators and contextualized online system for constant monitoring and reporting. It will also provide analytical reports highlighting prioritized areas of risks of violence and make recommendations to key national and zonal influencers that respond to election threats such as the Independent Electoral Commission, Nigeria Police, Jama'atu Nasril Islam, Christian Association of Nigeria, Ministry of Internal Affairs, National Peace Committee, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, as well as key civil society organisations with focus on the election. These actors will constitute as a platform referred to as the National and Zonal Election Response Group, NERC, to make responses to these election related threats at National, Zonal and community levels, Dr. Eze said.

He said the threats had prompted WANEP, the African Union and ECOWAS to hold the training session for the election monitors.

This capacity building and your eventual engagement as community and state monitors is a milestone as it is an important assignment as we enter a critical phase of Nigeria's electioneering processes amidst unfolding skirmishes in the political arena. I thank our key partners. This training clearly demonstrates a growing recognition of the roles of community actors and conflict monitors and the expectations from them, as the most important link in the election monitoring, analysis and mitigation chain, said Dr. Eze.

From the African Union, which was represented by Ms Mfrekeobong Ukparah, the training was in alignment with the mandate of the African Union.

The mandate allows us to anticipate and prevent conflict across the continent, through the use of systematic indicators that are being developed. And last month, we kick-started that process with the launching of election sessional monitoring, analysis and mitigation project, where we developed a set of indicators and we also did what we call on spot mapping. It's only in this way that we can begin to monitor issues that can help us in anticipating and preventing conflicts on the continent, said Ms. Ukparah

Source: Voice of Nigeria