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Under the Project of: Strengthening the Delivery of Peace and Security (SDPS) Project

Background

Kaduna State’s unfortunate history of violent conflict has been driven by religious and ethnic conflicts and long predates the recent spate of rural violence and banditry that has engulfed in North-western region of the country. Incidents have often stemmed from indigene-settler, farmer-herder and Muslim-Christian conflicts. This history has sadly been amplified by the media and political commentators, which has only led to more kidnapping, attacks on rural communities and killings by bandits in the region.

Because of these different fault lines, armed banditry in the state has often been misinterpreted in different ways when compared to other frontline states with lesser history of ethnic and religious violence. Every violent incident, whether a kidnapping or a killing, is unique but is always seen through the lens of religious conflict – which only serves to inflame the situation and ignore how complex the situation really is. Given their unique position as custodians of culture and history, as well as leaders in the community charged with maintaining peace, traditional leaders in Kaduna State – the Hakimai and Ardo – are at the centre of such issues as either victims or peacekeepers.

The important role that these traditional authorities play in maintain peace and social cohesion cannot be overstated. Because they lead their communities directly, they are often in touch with grassroots issues and engage with the masses and have often had experience dealing with conflict resolution in their territories. This means that they are key stakeholders in ensuring the success of any public policy-focused social Programme and its expected implementation. The failure to effectively leverage these traditional conflict resolution and peacebuilding architectures in the state is partly responsible for the escalation of this violent conflict in Kaduna State.

In order to correct this error, and in line with its mandate, the Centre of Democracy and Development (CDD), in partnership with the Centre for Peace Studies at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, organised a two-day capacity building training for selected Hakimai and Ardo in Kaduna State on peacebuilding and conflict resolution under its Strengthening the Delivery of Peace and Security (SDPS) Project.

Justification and Objectives

The background provides apt justification for this training session. Within the parameters and contours of armed banditry and kidnapping, violent ideological groups, such as Boko Haram, ISWAP and Ansaru, are exploiting existing religious, ethnic and indigene-settler tensions to infiltrate Kaduna State.

The Abuja-Kaduna train attack and numbers of passengers currently under captivity is a case in point. This growing trend is existentially why this training is being anchored by the CDD. The situation requires more urgent and effective proactive measures. And, the best point to start is from the Hakimai and Ardo, who are the custodian of peace and conflict resolution. The main objective is therefore, to build the capacity of traditional leaders (see concept note) to strengthen their knowledge and expertise to understanding the challenging dynamics, trends, dimensions and complexities of all types of conflicts in Kaduna State and to contribute meaningfully towards peace building and resolution using all necessary traditional and religious mechanisms as differentiated in various communities and religious domains.

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