By Bashir Bello
KANO – Worried by the needless conflicts or violence in the country, a non-governmental organization, Africa Initiative for Peace Building Advocacy and Advancement, AFRIPEACE have called on community leaders and organizations not to allow violent extremist to find a breeding ground in their communities in order to avoid reoccurrence of conflict.
The group’s Program Officer, Comfort Zawaya made the call during a peace-building capacity training for Civil Society Organizations and community groups held in Kano.
Zawaya said the community leaders should avert the recruitment tactics of the violent extremist groups and breeding ground.
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She said the capacity building training was borne out of the need to equip the community-led organizations and leaders to promptly identify, track and manage conflicts before it escalates.
The Program Officer also stressed the need for a paradigm shift from the old way of top-bottom approach to bottom-top approach where the community takes ownership of the process and search for peaceful coexistence in their various communities.
“Over time, it is observed that most efforts being adopted to resolve conflict are structured through a top to bottom approach wherein most cases everything is discussed and finalized in Abuja or at state governments, which means decisions are taken either in Abuja or any government house and passed down to the community.
“In this workshop, AFRIPEACE seeks to adopt the bottom to top approach where the communities themselves take ownership of the process of the conflict resolution or management, and these individuals or organizations trained are the Community Peace Advocates that will be equipped with all the skills that are required in tracking or managing early warning signs of conflict, managing conflict when it arises, working together across ethnic and religious divides in solving problems as well as ensuring that they do not allow persons or groups with violent extremist tendencies to find breeding grounds in their communities.”
She continued when she said, “Besides, the geographical entity, Nigeria is interweaving the toughest time in its political history. Security challenges, communal crisis, farmers/herders, kidnapping, insurgency, and other civil violence presently ravaging Northern Nigeria.
“For over three decades, violent conflicts in Northern Nigeria have emerged with huge humanitarian consequences, including displacement of people which has resolved in huge deaths, loss of property across ethnics, religious and political devices.
“Worried by this needless carnage, the Africa Initiative for Peace Building Advocacy and Advancement, AFRIPEACE, a non-governmental organization deemed it necessary to organize peacebuilding capacity training to bring together community-led organizations across religion, political and ethnic lines to work collaboratively in resolving crises at the grassroots,” the group’s Program Officer, Zawaya however stated.