PIND: Why We Trained Youths on Conflict Management in N’Delta

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) has said that the reason for the intensive training for youths in the Niger Delta held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, was to tackle and ensure the reduction of criminality and other forms of violence across communities in the region.

The training was organised by PIND in collaboration with Stakeholders Democracy Network (SDN), Academic Associates Peace Works (AAPW), Search for Common Ground, and support from the European Union.

Speaking with journalists at the venue of the training in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Dr. David Udofia, Peace Building programme manager of PIND, noted that the training was geared towards the reduction of criminality and conflict within the region.

Udofia explained that the essence of the capacity training was not just for knowledge retention alone, but for adoption and implementation of the acquired knowledge for peace in communities of the region.

He revealed that the project, “a community-centred approach to transforming criminality and violence in the Niger Delta,” was planned to last for 18-months, adding that the outcome will foster inclusive community security approaches to address the systemic drivers of violence and criminality in Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers States.

Udofia also explained that the outcome of a survey held by the organisation identified some hot spots within the states that qualified for the interventions, saying that 66 communities were selected as a flash point for immediate intervention.

He said: “The essence of this intervention is to reduce criminality and violent conflicts within this region. Despite the fact that we have considered the 66 communities, you know most of the communities are interwoven, so there is a likelihood of spillover effect of the positive outcome influencing the neighbouring communities and also the Niger Delta as a whole and Nigeria at large.”

“Not that they have not been doing well, but through this programme the participants capacities have been improved, enhanced, so they are going to utilize that idea to manage conflicts even at home, as well as their communities.”

THISDAY observed that for Rivers States, the project to enhance capacity for reduction of criminality is being implemented in 13 Local Government Areas: Andoni, Emohua, Port Harcourt, Obio Akpor, Gokana, Khana, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Eleme, Asari-Toru, Akuku-Toru, Ahoada West, Ahoada East, and Okirika.

Also speaking, a facilitator, Mr. Charles Ikalamar, told journalists that the programme is aimed at “building the trainees’ capacities in crisis management, move their focuses from community gains like kidnapping, illegal oil bunkering, or militarising the communities and other vices.”

Some of the participants that spoke with journalists thanked the sponsors and organisers of the programme, for the knowledge gained.

Mr. Ikechi Ohonda, a native of Emuoha and Mrs Christiana Ajoku,  Obio/Akpor, LGAs of Rivers State, noted that the relevance of collaboration in crisis management and conflict resolution cannot be over emphasised. They promised to apply the new knowledge to ensure a sustained peace in their various communities.

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