Ulaamas have a crucial role to play in promoting Sulhu by utilizing existing peace governance structures in their communities to promote and build trust as well as foster social cohesion amongst people in the North East.
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa), in collaboration with local peace actors in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, organized a capacity building training workshop for Ulaamas (Clerics) on community-driven peacebuilding and reconciliation-Sulhu Alheri Ne.
The training is against the backdrop of the decade long Boko Haram conflict which has led to broader social divisions that jeopardize the prospect for long-term peace and reconciliation in the northeast region of Nigeria.
Being one of the Centre’s critical components of transitional justice program in the region, the training is aimed at strengthening the capacity of local actors on reconciliation, building trust, and dialogue in the area.
Our Sulhu Alheri Ne approach is built on the Islamic teachings and customary principles of repelling evil deeds with good. Sulhu promotes the agelong tenets of forgiveness, reconciliation and dispute resolution.
In the past two months, we have built the capacity of 220 local actors, including Imams and members of local Islamic organizations, on reconciliation and social coherence. The actors were drawn from 65 LGAs of the BAY states. The workshop will be followed by a step-down training of other actors in their respective communities.
The Ulamas are one of the trusted sources in today’ northeast Nigeria and are responsible for conflict resolution on day to day basis in the communities where they operate. Our cohort of Ulamas are selected from the Friday mosques and IDP camps; we expect them to share the message of peace further and be champion of reconciliation, reintegration and justice.
One of the significant lessons learned from the workshop is that Ulaamas have a crucial role to play in promoting Sulhu by utilizing existing peace governance structures in their communities to promote and build trust as well as foster social cohesion amongst people in the BAY States.
As part of our Sulhu Alheri Ne engagements, we are sensitizing communities on reconciliation, interfaith dialogue and reintegration to mitigate negative narratives and rebuild trust between former combatants, victims, and host communities. We also run a weekly radio program in Hausa and Kanuri on Peace FM.
CDD will continue to work towards sustainable peace and development in North East Nigeria.
Participants commended CDD for the implementation of the project and urged the Centre to extend the capacity building training to include other critical stakeholders in the conflict such as security agencies, traditional and communities leaders, women groups and the Civilian JTF.