CSO highlights need to intensify conflict mitigation in Nigeria

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By Naomi Sharang

Mr Benson Olugbuo, Country Director, Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), has called on the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to intensify efforts at mitigating conflict in Nigeria.

Olugbuo made this known on Wednesday during a project close-out webinar on “Advancing the Protection of Civilians and Stabilisation of North-East Nigeria Project.”

The project is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by CIVIC, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO).

The country director, while stating that CIVIC had contributed its quota over the years to conflict mitigation, said such was necessary to engender peace in the country.

He said: “The peculiarity of Nigeria is such that there is conflict in virtually every part of the country.

“The challenge is that we as CIVIC cannot be in all the 36 states.

“However, we collaborate with other agencies like the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and also train military and security institutions.”

The country director said that, while the primary responsibility of protecting civilians from harm was not that of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) but the government, CSOs would continue to support the government in achieving that.

“We are not the government and we can never be the government. So what we do at CIVIC is to remind the government of their responsibility.

“We make sure we remind the government of meeting her primary responsibilities and obligation to protect lives and properties,” Olugbuo said.

CIVIC’s Project Manager Saratu Pindar said that the CSO had resolved 100 out of 135 concerns through the project, adding that part of the resolution included returnees who had no access to accommodation.

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Pindar said that with the collaboration of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, several other milestones had been achieved.

This, she said, included establishment of 17 dialogue platforms, enhancement of civilian protection as well as training of 374 civilian vigilantes among others.

The CIVIC Team Lead, Mr Mujidand Sitdang, said that strengthened civilian protection and improvement in civil-military relations through dialogue platforms had facilitated dialogue to encourage security agencies collaboration.

Sitdang stressed the need to look for renewed funding, adding that there would be opportunity to continue to engage in the discourse.

Mr Julius Gaiya, Communications and Programmes Manager, CIVIC, expressed satisfaction that the programme had made so much impact.

He said that “When we started Phase I and II, it was to provide an avenue to sustain training among security institutions.” (NAN)

Edited by Christiana Fadare

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