From Esther Akaa, Lafia
Worried by the increasing rate of insecurity in the Middle Belt Region, the Nasarawa State government and a group under the aegis of Middle Belt Brain Trust, have commenced a training of the state’s traditional rulers on Community Grievance Management.
The training is meant to build the capacity of the Nasarawa state traditional rulers to manage and tackle all forms of conflicts in their respective communities.
Speaking on Monday at the opening of the two-day training held in Lafia, the Chairman of MBBT, General Martin Luther-Agwai (Rtd.), said the security challenges confronting the region and the country were enormous, hence the need for collaboration between the government and the traditional institutions for the peace and unity of the country.
Luther-Agwai explained that the group in collaboration with the state government and the Institute for Integrated Transitions, decided to organise the training to improve grievance management capacities at the community level which would translate into timely resolution of disputes and help prevent civil disputes from becoming identity conflicts.
“Traditional rulers are often the first port of call when reporting grievances and disputes, be it criminal or civil. This is due to the high levels of trust that exist between the people and their traditional institutions and the difficulty and expensive costs of resolving civil disputes in the courts and policing structures.
“The failure of existing institutions to manage grievances has itself become a major conflict driver, as most community-level conflicts that start out as civil disputes, and that are not solved, escalate to violence and identity conflicts.
“With the support of the state government, the MBBT is strengthening the capacity of traditional rulers and community-based leaders in community grievance management and advocating for a formal role for traditional rulers in community based civil conflict and grievance management,” he said.
He appreciated the state government for partnering with the group on the training, expressing optimism that the outcome of the programme will support the state’s industrialisation drive by preparing and integrating the rural population in its economic modernisation initiative.
In his remark, the Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage I (Rtd), represented by the Emir of Keffi, Chindo Yamusa III, said that in addressing the menace of insecurity in the Middle Belt region, political leaders and traditional rulers must create formal channels to listen to complaints and find solutions to them.
On his part, Governor Abdullahi Sule, who declared the training open, commended the MBBT and the IFIT for organising the programme, saying the training will provide technical capacity and support in the areas of leadership, alternative dispute resolution, ethics and arbitration skills.
Sule also noted that the training will help in designing and improving community based dispute resolution mechanism for effective security coverage.
“Let me call on the participants to leverage on this training to add to their experiences on how to resolve disputes. It is my hope and expectation that the outcome of this training will add value in our continued commitment of finding solutions to the menace of insecurity at the grassroots,” he said.
Earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdullahi Sule on Human Capital Development, Habiba Balarabe -Suleiman said the government facilitated the training towards giving room for full capacity building of the traditional institution.
“Our traditional rulers are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring peace and order from the local level, that is why the state government felt it was necessary to bring them together and update their capacity in handling grievances,” she added.