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How we resolve disputes, by Borno female mediators

Mediating in communal disputes and disagreements that could escalate to violent conflicts is by no means an easy task, some of the female mediators and…

Mediating in communal disputes and disagreements that could escalate to violent conflicts is by no means an easy task, some of the female mediators and beneficiaries of their mediations in Maiduguri metropolis have confessed.

Kanem Trust last week reported the efforts of 160 female mediators in resolving minor disagreements.

Such disputes are those  between spouses, co-wives,  mothers of various children, tenants and between tenants and landlords.

The mediators operate in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC) and Kaga Local Government Area and are facilitated by the University of Maiduguri Muslim Women Association (UMMWA).

Kanem Trust traced one of these mediators and beneficiaries of their gestures to Bulabulin/Alhajiri ward of MMC, and gathered her striking experience.

“I have been mediating in disputes between spouses, among tenants and among mothers of children for so many years,” Laraba Umaru, 50, told Kanem Trust.

“But with the skills I acquired from UMMWA trainings I now do so much more successfully.”

She recounted the difficulties she encountered before she could attain communal respect and trust enabling her to undertake mediations with relish.

“It took me a long time to build trust and respect in the community. I had to learn to respect myself, be tolerant and forbearing, and exhibit conducts worthy of emulation, because to be a mediator, one has to command people’s respect and trust with worthy conduct.

“Over time, it came to be accepted in the neighbourhoods that whenever there is any dispute among spouses or among mothers following some little fights by their children, I am called upon to mediate, but it has not been easy,’’  Laraba said.

Laraba could not give an estimate of the number of the mediations she conducted over the years but she cited the example of one just about a week ago.

“I mediated between Aisha and her husband, Abubakar,” she recalled. “He had divorced her for having the effrontery to meet him in her co-wife’s house and even engaged her in a fierce fight.”

Aisha, 32, is the second wife of Abubakar, who has three wives. Abubakar denied Aisha her marital right of spending a night in her house and, instead, did so in the house of the third, who is the youngest, wife.

“He divorced her for her efforts to seek an explanation from him for denying her right according to Islamic law.  I was invited through, Maimuna, a neighbour, to mediate. Abubakar was very remorseful, Aisha forgave him, I persuaded her to return to her matrimonial home, she is back there now.”

Maimuna narrated how she cajoled Aisha to return from Monguno, where she had fled to when she was divorced, for the mediation, adding that she had to tell her to hasten back to Maiduguri to renew her documents for food aid.

“It was very difficult for me to succumb to Laraba’s mediation but after she quoted Islamic scriptures, I had yo see reason, and I am now back in my husband’s house,” Aisha told Kanem Trust.


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