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Repentant Terrorists: NGO trains community leaders, women in peacebuilding

European Union in collaboration with Borno State Government and British Council have trained a total of 250 community leaders..

European Union in collaboration with Borno State Government and British Council have trained a total of 250 community leaders and women on reconciliation and peace building.

The Project Manager British Council, Mr. Emmanuel Iyaji, stated this during a 3-days Trauma, Counselling and Psychology Support training for Leaders and Stakeholders in Maiduguri, Borno capital.

He disclosed that the project aims to support Nigerians with conflict resolution at both the state and community level.

He noted that the peacebuilding process required consultation, counselling and trauma programmes for the stakeholders who had suffered burnt of the crisis.

“We have trained 200 traditional rulers including District, Ward and village heads on how mediation and reintegration, as you can see now we are now training additional of 50 women and other stakeholders on peace building which comprises counselling, trauma and others.”

“The community leaders are resistant to the idea because they were largely not consulted in the design and delivery of the deradicalization programme. This lack of consultation has created a knowledge gap for the leaders on the content of the deradicalization programme, particularly the extent to which the programme has addressed the ideological underpinnings of the insurgency.

“The expected result of the intervention is that the traditional and religious as strategic leaders and gatekeepers will understand the deradicalization programme and the need for successful reintegration for sustainable peace.

“The enhanced understanding will influence them to become advocates of reintegration and to take measures to promote community acceptance in their domains,” Emmanuel explained.

One of the participant, Aisha Kyari, stressed that her perception of repentant fighters changed after the peace building programme.

She reiterated that it is important for the community to live with ex-combatants because peace is sacrosanct.

“We just need to forgive them, without peace there would not be any development so it is high time we let the past be forgotten,” Aisha said.

The programme was funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council and Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) Programme.

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