BY Hamza Ibrahim Chinade.
The Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has between the year 2015 and 2016 conducted a research on community resilience in especially the Boko Haram insurgency ravaged region of North-East. The research which United States of Institute of Peace (USIP) supported aimed to investigate the factors that make communities more resilient to violent action and atrocities perpetrated by insurgents in the North-Eastern part of the country and draw lessons on how to deepen resilience and enhance community capacity to bounce back from devastation. The study was also conducted within the context of a larger learning from peace theme whose goal was to find effective strategies to prevent mass violence in society.
Having undergone validation at different levels, the research has now been published as a book titled “Understanding Community Resilience in the Context of Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria”. To make it public and serve as a document that provides lessons to strong, weak and non affected communities elsewhere, CITAD presents the book to the public before heavy media presence at the Aminu Kano Center for Democratic Research and Training (Mambayya House, Kano). Similar public presentations of the book are due to take place in Maiduguri, Dutse and Abuja respectively.
In his remarks, the chairman of the occasion, Malam Ibrahim Mu’azzam of Political Science Department, Bayero University Kano observes that there is no way communities can be secured without the stakeholders and the in the long run the stakeholders are the communities, as such less resilient communities ought to warmly embrace and learn from the lessons drawn from the research. Dr. Moses Aluaigba presented on “Understanding the Concept of Community Resilience” in which he began by defining community resilience as ability or capacity of the community, individual or organization to absorb the shocks arising from crisis or conflict that may come it’s way and come back to normalcy. He further expatiated on the concept citing different instances to paint a clear picture of the term.
To give an idea on what the book entails in a nutshell, Dr. Aminu Aliyu gave a review of the publication with gradual chapter by chapter treatment. The co-lead researcher and Executive Director of the Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) Y.Z. Ya’u led his audience into the key findings of the research pointing out how social cohesion in some communities has helped avert ambush by the insurgents. He said seventeen communities were studied across the states of the research. Bama and Gwoza towns lacked social cohesion, there was Muslim-Christian divide among residents of Gwoza, while the case of Bama was between Islamic sects (Izala and Tijjaniyya), there was also the issue of settler-indigene struggle, as a result they were badly shaken by the insurgents. But, in Biu and Gombi there was social cohesion, as a result they were able to resist or repel Boko Haram attacks, therefore, social cohesion and inclusion really helped the communities to be more resilient. The research also discovered that communities that have high unemployment rate tend to be weak and easily provide recruitment base for the insurgents. The book has a more comprehensive compilation of the findings and recommendations on community resilience; it was edited by Professor Jibrin Ibrahim, Chom Bagu and Y.Z. Ya’u.