Community Stakeholders Urge Security, Community, Religious Leaders To Intervene On Social Vices

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By; SADIQ ABUBAKAR, Maiduguri 

Community stakeholders from Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and Jere LGCs of Borno State during its third community stakeholders dialogue on social vices as  an early warning sign  and community level response mechanisms held at Women Development Center Maiduguri on Friday,  suggested that advocacy, awareness and  enlightenment activities by the government and its partners  as well as departments, should be enhanced and effectively carried out in the return of the repentant insurgents 

Some.called  on security agencies, traditional institutions, community and religious leaders to tackle the menace of hoodlums or youth popularly known as Malians terrorizing community members with threats and  harassment using knives, diggers,  razor blades, etc urging for immediate intervention before the situation gets out of control.

They also urged community members to stop stigmatization and harassment or molestation of the repentant insurgents, while others called for total acceptability of the returnees back to the community for peace and progress through forgiveness and pardon.

The stakeholders also called on government and their agencies to embrace all and sundry and cater for the welfare and sustainability through empowerment and poverty alleviation, as well as skills acquisition and entrepreneurship training  of both the the returnee repentant and community members.

Some community stakeholders observed that some women still  isolate themselves from their relations and community members on their return from the bush, while calling on government, community, as well as religious leaders to intensify efforts to educate and enlighten the returnees and community members on the need for social interaction and relationship as if nothing ever happened.

Most stakeholders noted that so far, there has been improvement and progress in the level of interaction and relationship  between the community members and repentant insurgents deradicalized, rehabilitated and reintegrated where some even attend community meetings, weddings and naming ceremonies, especially in the night.

They further observed that most of the reintegrated repentant relate and visit friends, families and neighbours, especially the women and girls mingling with members of the community, unlike in the past where in some cases, some of the widows and grown up girls have accepted and decided to marry their choice husbands within the communities  and leaving peacefully with one another and neighbours.

Executive Director of Allamin Foundation for Peace and Development, Hajiya Hamsatu Allamin in her opening remarks, said that as part of the reconciliation and peace building efforts of the foundation as well as reintegration process of deradicalized women and girls , survivors and victims of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Hajiya Allamin added that the community stakeholders have been selected and invited by the foundation to meet and  identify  as well as deliberate freely on  the major communal  issues  and problems  which have been creating public disturbance or crisis or tension and threats among others .

She further said  that the stakeholders were to discuss the issues and problems identified and  their challenges as well as proffer meaningful and concrete   suggestions and recommendations for a way forward in tackling these social vices identified in  the various communities through the appropriate security, community, religious and  other collaborative organizations.

The Project Facilitator and Monitoring & Evaluation Consultant, Dr. Lawan Balami noted that  the early  warning is important in communities as it is an opportunity  to be able to draw attention of security, community and religious, as well as government stakeholders to community issues and  problems  for quick action and intervention for the purpose of safety,  peace and development.

He added that early  warning and response system has four aspects such as, surveillance, reporting analysis and response which in the case of any outbreak or emergency, officials go round houses or camps to monitor and observe situations in communities for a specific period of time in order to ascertain the vulnerability or frequency of the outbreak or emergency.

Project  Kanuri Interpreter, Comrade Zanna Shettima’ also interpreted the explanations and presentations made by the facilitator for the benefit of Kanuri listeners,  interpreting English and Hausa versions.for proper, accurate and reliable reports in observations and monitoring made to the appropriate authorities or community leaders or religious leaders  or security agents  for quick or immediate response.

However, it was noted that all reporting situations in early  warning require confidentiality or duty of secrecy  as all intelligence is done in the overall interest, including risk assessment to ascertain the level or gravity of the social vices and collaborative strategies and assessment with the relevant authorities to address the problem or menace.

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