The insurgency in the North-East has drastically destroyed villages, towns, cities or communities in general, insurgents launch attacks on communities they so wish especially at the peak of the insurgency, even though Boko Haram fighters use arms to attack communities, some communities stood against them and repelled the fighters motive of crippling their lives using resilient mechanisms. The Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) with support from United States Institute of Peace (USIP) carried out a research to find out the strategies used by some communities during the insurgency to defend themselves in order to proactively encourage other communities to also adopt resilience so as to avert future occurrences.
After carrying out research in Adamawa, Bauchi, Jigawa, Kano and Yobe states, CITAD decides to hold Public Policy Dialogue in Gombe with various stakeholders in attendance with a view to allowing further deliberations and the need to address certain issues and for authorities to tackle challenges that hinder community resilience and improve or put in place what may strengthen it. Giving a goodwill message, the Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) represented by Hajiya Ummuna Ahmed commended the organizers of the dialogue for bringing relevant stakeholders to rub minds on community resilience that she added is integral to societal development.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman, Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative, Retired Lieutenant General T.Y Danjuma who was represented by his vice Alhaji Tijjani Musa Tumsah noted CITAD’s unending progress towards making better understanding and a better insight into the Nigerian society citing the recently launched “Take Action Platform” initiative in Damaturu which promotes accountability and evaluation of reconstruction efforts in the North-East region. Tumsah said the dialogue which provides an avenue for sharing ideas is of particular interest to the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative adding that without community resilience the military would not have had so much successes in it’s war against Boko Haram, “we in PCNI are interested in reinforcing community resilience and support the architecture of security in all the communities that are resident in the North-East, I believe this gathering will help in no small measure to make that more achievable”.
Talking on the tasks before their committee, Tumsah noted that “you may be aware that the PCNI as a mandate, has collaboration, coordination, communication as it’s bedrock using The Buhari Plan as a strategic implementation framework for intervention in the North-East, in that respect, the PCNI in conjunction with the World Bank, the United Nations launched a dashboard which is a tool for monitoring much similar to the “Take Action Platform” to register all initiatives and intervention in the North-East for clarity and for the avoidance of duplication of efforts, in that regard we urge that CSOs and CBOs to seek to do their registration on the dashboard so that we can harmonize all activities”.
Unveiling the purpose of the research, Professor Jibrin Ibrahim said the idea of the research on community resilience was conceived within the context of framing what needs to be done to move the North-East region forward. On community resilience, Prof. Jibrin said “it is about the capacity of communities to respond to shocks, external shocks they have received, the reality is that when communities are very poor, underdeveloped, they have a structural vulnerability to shocks, and the specific communities we have been looking at in the North-East have had that structural vulnerability and what the insurgency did was to further deepen that vulnerability, what we looked at in terms of resilience is the capacity to bounce back”. What we set out to do was to see what are the strengths within societies, within communities that have been used and could be enhanced in future to enable those communities improve their lives, Jibrin added.
Researchers from the states presented highlights of their findings after which comments and questions followed. Dr. Y.Z. Ya’u presented on the “Key Findings, Lessons Learnt and Policy Recommendations”, some of the recommendations proffered by YZ included addressing extreme social inequality, encouraging inclusive community leadership, addressing youths unemployment, encouraging community policing and enhancing local conflict management skills. Mr. Chom Bogu discussed on the Policy Recommendations. The Public Policy Dialogue was attended by a delegation of the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative, academics, administrators, legal practitioners, state assembly members from the North-East region, women groups, civil society organizations, people living with disability, media and many other stakeholders.