By Tordue Salem, Abuja
The Executive Secretary National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Barr. Tony Ojukwu, has suggested transitional justice as a tool for Reconciliation, Reintegration and Reconstruction of Communities that are affected by insurgency in the North-East.
He said the process must be “effectively sustained in the atmosphere of peace and community process of transitional, restitutive and restorative justice”.
Ojukwu according to a statement issued by Deputy Director, Public Affairs unit, Hajia Fatimah Agwai Mohammed, gave his suggestion, during the Entry Dialogue and Stakeholders’ Consultative Workshop on Reconciliation, Transitional and Restorative Justice in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe State.
At the event which served as an inaugural activity of the Commission’s new partnership with the United Nation Development Fund (UNDP) supported by the European Union (EU) in the implementation of a project to promote Reconciliation, Reintegration and Transitional Justice in the North-East, Ojukwu said the effort of Federal and State Government at deradicalizing the Boko Haram insurgents and reintegrating them to communities should include the process of non-formal transitional and restitutive justice, anchored on human rights and social inclusion.
According to Ojukwu, the project which will be implemented in the epicentre of insurgency is targeted at seven communities within the region, adding that the project is aimed at building capacity for peace and reconciliation, setting up of community framework for transitional justice, and providing a platform for community participatory restorative justice. He stated that “the project is community-based and its success will be achieved with the full corporation and partnership of traditional and community leaders”.
In her remarks, the Head of UNDP Nigeria North-East Sub-Office Mizuko Yokoi noted that the effective resolution of conflict in the North-East is an all-encompassing venture which must involve both the government and individuals. She maintained that “reconciliation and resolution of conflict are about love, compassion, and forgiveness, adding that healing the wounded hearts, minds and the community is the core of sustainable transformation”.
Despite the challenges that may be envisaged in the course of implementing the project, the regional Sub-head pledged the commitment and support of the UN body in achieving the objectives of the project, “We all know that this work is challenging, considering that the insurgency still poses a real threat. Nonetheless, the UNDP will continue to provide support, especially strengthening local systems for prevention of conflict, enhancing the local systems of peacebuilding, promoting reconciliation and advancing State-level action” Yokoi said.
She encouraged the participation of traditional institutions saying “We also acknowledge the significance of the traditional system of community dispute management, religious/traditional practices, local customs, values, and others in contributing to community reconciliation processes”.
At the event were Solicitor Generals and Permanent Secretaries of the respective State Ministries of Justice and Ministry of Reconciliation Reconstruction and Rehabilitation (RRR), representing their Commissioners. Representative of his Royal Majesty the Shehu of Borno and other traditional rulers were also at the event and pledged their individual and collective commitment and support for this noble course. The chairman of the North East CSOs Ambassador Shehu Ahmed and other relevant CSOs including the NBA were all in attendance.