The Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND), an NGO has begun a peace-building and capacity development training on conflict resolution for traditional rulers in Cross River State.
The capacity building workshop which took place on Saturday (May 6) in Calabar aimed at bringing a peaceful resolution to some prolonged communal crisis in the state.
Governor Ben Ayade had earlier on May 5 imposed a 6.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. curfew in Ovunum and Ofatura communities in Obubura Local Government Area.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the curfew followed renewed clashes between the affected communities.
Many communities in the state, including Alesi, Ochon, Osumotong Ebijakara, Ebom among others have engaged in one communal conflict or the other, that even predates the creation of Cross River.
Speaking on the reasons for the initiative, Dr Raphael Offiong, a consultant with PIND, said without peace no development would take place.
Offiong, who is also a lecturer at the University of Calabar, said alternative dispute resolution mechanism, an important instrument in resolving crisis, necessitated PIND’s community engagements and advocacy.
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“We realised that these crises are basically about needs not met, at times expansion and livelihood options; there is also the issues of war entrepreneurs, lack of good mediation and willpower from the government.
“In the last 30 to 40 years for instance there has been a long-lasting battle between the Nko and Onyadama people in the state.
“PIND has made inroads by engaging the traditional institutions and they have adopted the alternative dispute mechanism,” he said.
He also said in the last six months they had engaged in peace-building processes in Odukpani, Biase, Yakurr, Abi, Obubura and Ikom Local Government Areas of the state.
He said that the six areas are the pilot phase of PIND’s drive to entrench peace with the hope to use the traditional rulers to drive the process.
“Our engagements are bearing fruit and communities like the Ebom and Ebijakara are back together, I believe peace will eventually reign in these communities.
“With proper education and treating of crisis in isolated grounds, rather than the communities involved, peace will return,” Offiong said.
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