The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have announced the launch of a Project aimed at Promoting Reconciliation, Reintegration and Transitional Justice in North Eastern Nigeria.
The project which is funded by the European Union (EU) seeks to promote a community based non-judicial transitional justice process aimed at providing mechanism for reconciliation, restorative and transitional justice for both victims and community while reintegrating the returning ex-fighters into the communities.
It could be recalled that the north eastern part of the country has been bedeviled by the adverse effect of Boko Haram insurgency, this has left property worth billions of naira destroyed, hundreds and thousands of people dead, millions displaced with lots of children orphaned, women turned widows and the aged left to take care of themselves even without the availability of resources to do so.
There is therefore a great need to rebuild the region; people have to go back to their normal lives without fear and mistrust of the other person. Most importantly, there is a need for the people to forgive and reintegrate the perpetrators of the crime of insurgency in order to forge ahead.
The project will be implemented in 7 locations in three states of the north east as follows; 4 in Borno (Bama, Banki, Gwoza and Konduga) , 2 in Adamawa (Malkohi and Madagali), And 1 In (Gujba) Yobe State respectively.
There are seven facilitators in the project, one in each location. These facilitators are the foot soldiers of the project; they are saddled with the responsibility of driving the process of implementing the project and reaching out to the relevant stakeholders in the three project states. They are serious minded individuals with deep knowledge of the community they operate and the people therein.
Activities of the project include: Capacity Building for Peace and Reconciliation, Setting up Community Frameworks for Transitional Justice and Community Participatory Restorative Justice, others include “an Entry Dialogue and Stakeholders’ Workshop on Reconciliation, Transitional and Restorative Justice in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe State”, this has already taken place in Maiduguri, the Borno State Capital.
There is also going to be a state launch of the project in the three project states heralding the other activities like; community sensitization on the implementation of the project, high level advocacy visit by the Executive Secretary (ES) NHRC Tony Ojukwu Esq, among which will be a visit to the Executive Governors of the project states as well as the Traditional rulers of the communities to get their buy-in and support for the successful implementation of the project in the states.
According to the Executive Secretary, insurgency in the north east has subjected people to the worst forms of human rights violations in the history of Nigeria and has brought untold physical, emotional and psychological losses on the victims and their families, “there is a need to put an end to the senseless human rights violation” he said.
The UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria Mohammed Yahaya stated that there is a great need to effectively implement the project as it will create an avenue that would enable victims and perpetrators come face to face with each other to forgive and forge ahead. He said the devastating effect of insurgency in the affected region of Nigeria has brought untold hardship to the people and life just has to get back to normal. “We will do all within our capacity to provide our little assistance towards peaceful coexistence because peace enhances development.”