…To Execute USAID Conflict Prevention Project in AKS
…Trains Stakeholders for Effective Participation
By Saviour Ekpe
Conflicts in Akwa Ibom State will soon fizzle out as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) has taken a bold step in addressing the menace through the instrumentalities of Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development (CIEPD) and Development Alternative Initiative (DAI), directly funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project, which is code named, “State Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness” (“State2State”) earmarked three local government areas of Itu, Oron and Uyo has commenced in earnest in the three LGAs.
In its general dimension, ‘the Activity is to increase the accountability, transparency and effectiveness of selected state and local governments (LGAs) in Nigeria by: strengthening governance systems (with a focus on public financial management [PFM] and procurement, as well as monitoring and evaluation) related to the delivery of services in key sectors (basic education, primary health care, and water, sanitation and hygiene [WASH]); increasing government responsiveness to citizen needs and priorities; and improving government and civil society capacity to manage conflict (through work on prevention, mitigation and reconciliation with the same sectoral partners, not stand-alone assistance to the police or judiciary). This will be achieved by strengthening subnational governance systems in a sustainable manner, supporting the efforts of local reformers, and building on locally derived solutions including, to the extent possible, reforms already working in other parts of Nigeria. The activity states are Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Gombe, Ebonyi and Sokoto’.
Specifically, ‘CIEPD intervention is to strengthen the mechanisms to manage conflict in three high risk local government areas namely i) Uyo Local Government ii) Oron Local Government and Itu Local Government Areas. This is through building/creating (where not in existence) the capacity of existing mechanisms, institutions and processes to support conflict prevention and transformation in targeted local government areas of Akwa Ibom State. In doing this, the project intends to achieve a measurable reduction of Violent Conflicts in the state. The grand activities will be speaking to Sub Purpose 3; Improved Sub National Capacity to Manage Conflict by enhancing institutional capacity of traditional conflict resolution and handling mechanisms having direct positive contribution to enhancing accountability, transparency and effectiveness of three (3) high risk targeted LGAs in Akwa-Ibom State. The project will integrate Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) by making deliberate demand for inclusion and participation of marginalized groups such as the women, PLWD in conflict prevention and peace building processes’.
According to a Facilitator at one of the training sessions, Mr. Adedeji Lawal, “the purpose of the project is to improve conflict handling styles among key stakeholders (government and civil society) to influence reforms/practices that will lead to a multi-dimensional and comprehensive approach to peace and security in the three high risk target Local Government Councils (LGCs) of Uyo, Oron and Itu in Akwa Ibom State.
While its Objectives include a. Map all traditional conflict resolution mechanisms/institutions, handling style, conflict management framework within the three target LGCs b. Enhance the local capacity of local government council personnel, civil society on traditional conflict resolution mechanisms/institutions for effective conflict prevention, transformation skills and strategies in the targeted LGCs c. Train selected participants on conflict tracking and deployment of a real time early warning system (CIEPD Conflict Watch Centre (CWC) 6. Expected results
- Better understanding of conflict context and dynamics of the three (3) high risk target Local Government Councils (LGCs) of Uyo, Oron and Itu in Akwa-Ibom State b. Emergence of skilled stakeholder in promote learning and empowerment among targeted LGCs and CSOs/FBOs for effective conflict prevention and transformation skills to engender multi-dimensional and comprehensive approach to peace building and c. Development of three high-risk LGCs Specific Conflict Indicators.
Others are d. Increased knowledge of Digital Conflict Prevention skills e. Increase in real time reported conflict incidences tracked, analyzed and profiled in the three (3) high risk target Local Government Councils (LGCs) of Oron and Itu in Akwa-Ibom State f. Increase in number of conflict prevented in the three (3) high risk target Local Government Councils (LGCs) of Oron and Itu in Akwa-Ibom State g. Enhance local/traditional institutional capacity for conflict mitigation in the targeted LGCs as well as h. Promotion of multi-dimensional and comprehensive approach to conflict resolution and peace building’”.
Speaking to Century Newsfront, the Executive Director, Applicants Welfare & Development Centre (AWANDEC), Dr. Ekanem Inyang observed that the initiative is very timely in view of the recurring violent conflicts experience in the state added that the project will go a long way in address the election violence as general elections draw near in the state and country, “this project is timeous in the sense that it will ameliorate the incessant crises in the state. If you look at the structure of the project, when implemented will also address the issue of youth restiveness especially as the 2023 general elections draw near in the country, Akwa Ibom State and other states of the federation so chosen will benefit more as it will reduce election related conflicts”. Dr. Ekanem was of the view that such a lofty project should be replicated in selected LGAs in all states of the federation in view of the expected benefits and outcome.