The Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) has unveiled a series of peacebuilding fact-finding mission and sensitisation programmes, aimed at addressing Nigeria’s security challenges.

Announcing the end of a 3-day retreat, held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, the Director of the organisation, Idayat Hassan, said the project intends to reinforce government’s ongoing efforts, by providing non-military alternative to resolving the menace.

When completed, the project, she said, would provide knowledge-based solutions, facts, sentiments, biases, historical grudges, and narrative of withheld justices, from field work.

Additionally, to understand why the killings have continued to defy ongoing efforts at resolution, CDD said it would be working with federal and state agencies, the media, community leaders, victims of attacks, and aggrieved non-state groups, who are willing to embrace peace, in order to gain insights into how to remedy the widespread insecurity.

Through close engagement with the media, the project will also seek to replace bias-fueled stories, stereotypical and tilted narratives, and ethnic labeling with empirical-based, objective, and solution-driven reporting.

The high-level capacity development training for the members of the fourth estate of the realm, according to the director, will also emphasis the need to understand the context and historical dimensions to each of the crisis, the trigger factors, and how to reach amicable solutions.

For instance, “the previous work we have done has sought to help correct basic misunderstanding of the identities of Nigerians,” Ms Hassan said, adding that “most Nigerians, especially people from the South, barely understood the distinction between a Hausa man, a Kanuri man, and or a Fulani man.,” she says, adding that, “they always, ignorantly, assume all of them as one and same.”

According to her, “ditto with people from the North, who have also exhibited the inability to differentiate between a Yoruba man from Oyo, Ogun, Osun, and or Ekiti states.

“And such basic ignorance, has continued to fuel the crisis,” she added.

However, in an attempt to hit the ground running on the project, CDD, said it has successfully obtained the commitments and cooperation of eminent Nigerians across key sectors that would help drive the findings and resolutions.

The stakeholders include government officials, military top brass, community leaders, victims of past and current attacks, the media, among others.

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The strategy would require the stakeholders to facilitate access to power, influence and renewed political will to administer the recommended resolutions, balance the narrative of reporting the incidences, interrogate the contextual and historical dimensions to the crisis, and bringing to table, a win-win solution.

The inclusion of government officials will help facilitate access to decision-makers, with intent to generating political will to drive the implementation of the identified resolutions.

Other components of the project include direct engagement with the traditional rulers and religious leaders, through town-hall meetings.

Also speaking at the parley, Sa’eed Husaini, Director of Research at CDD, said knowledge obtained from the latest research works underwent by the organisation, would be put to good use in helping the country to define a non-violent path to restoring peaceful coexistence across the country.

According to him, part of the revelations from the ongoing research by the institution were the successful identification of the type of security challenges facing each of the geopolitical zones.

In its ongoing research works, focusing on identifying the flashpoint areas bedeviled with security challenges, across the country, CDD is mapping the peculiar challenges experienced in each geopolitical zone.

While the Northeast has remained the hotbed of Jihadist insurgency, Northwestern states are understood to be grappling with banditry and kidnapping-for-ransom, while South-east, South-south and South-west are facing threat of militancy and a growing separatist challenge.

In addition, the Southwestern region, particularly Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, and Lagos are, according to the project, increasely faced with farmer-herders clashes and the menace of cultism, which has now extended beyond the university environment.

The work, a painstaking effort of many months of field work, is providing furthered clues on a more robust and people centered solution to the lawlessness.

While disputed boundaries, historical greviances, and an under-investment in social services, were identified as the igniters of mayhem in most parts of the country, politicians were also indicted for fueling some of the divisive sentiments.

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