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Activity Report-Sharing the Green Grass - CMM

Activity Report-Sharing the Green Grass - CMM

                                                           

ACTIVITY REPORT

PROJECT

Sharing the Green Grass - CMM

DATE

May 28, 2020

SUBJECT

Delta State Peace Architecture Dialogue (PAD)

LOCATION

Top View Hotel, Asaba, Delta State

COMPILED BY

Search and ICD

MEETING FACILITATED BY

Ubrei-Joe, M. Mariere (ICD) & Bridget Affiah (SFCG)

REPORTED BY

Ubrei-Joe, M. Mariere (ICD) & Esther Ashu (SFCG)

 

This Peace Architecture Dialogue (PAD) was the fourth PAD (3 physical and 1 visual PAD) in the year 2020. The PAD was important because it gave room to participants to reflect adequately on emerging peace and security issues around Herders/Farmers in Delta State in the post-COVID 19 era. Search for Common Ground and Initiative for Community Development (ICD) took swift actions into mainstreaming COVID 19 best management practices into the peace building process. In this regard, facemasks, hand sanitizers were provided for participants and social distancing was also observed. Participants while introducing themselves, were given the opportunity to share their COVID 19 experience. All the participants were optimistic that the pandemic experience gave them the opportunity to reflect on the work they are doing. One important opportunity that participants talked about was that the pandemic gave them the opportunity to increase the consciousness of embracing peaceful coexistence among people.

According to Bridget Affiah, Project Manager of the sharing the green grass project of search for common ground while speaking on the project content update, she stated that “as peace builders we must continue to educate people because the COVID 19 is an issue that would affect peace building processes if not carefully handled”. She stressed that the issues on security have been on the high side as there were records on a number of loss of lives and crop damages, robbery, the influx of thousands of herders, violent clashes between farmers/herders in Delta North, and killing of cattle. While stating that security agencies are using the enforcement of face masks to make money at this time, she urged that it is essential for peace builders to provide hand sanitizers, face masks for the less privileged within our capacity, and to preach peace to curb violence against citizens. The COVID 19 has also affected the number of persons that participate in the PAD due to the rule placed on large social gatherings, she lamented while welcoming new communities into the PAD process. In all 21 participants were recorded, aggregated as five (5) female and sixteen (16) male.

Remarks and Current Community Conflict Dynamic

1.      Prof. Sam Ogege said that the dialogue creates an opportunity to reach a common ground that would build a common relationship between the farmers and herders.

2.      According to AlhajiJubril, the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of MACBAN Delta State Chapter opined that the issue of Uwheru led him and his team into inquiring the real owners of the cattle in that community. The owner of the cattle has cattle in other eastern communities but the ones grazing in Delta State are troublesome. “Our finding showed that the owner of the cattle were in Owerri in Imo State and the team met with them. To gain their trust, the team had to inform them that they were the representatives of the government of Delta State and that their visit was to help them to secure a new grazing point to ensure that they own up and that was achieved” he narrated. In Abraka, there is a route between Abraka and Ubiaruku (Benin Road) that herder uses to get entrance into Delta State, other routes are at Jesse to Oben etc. the Uwheru herders normally pass through Bayelsa into Delta from Owerri. “My issue is that how we can collectively block the entry routes so that it would be easier for MACBAN to track and register them” he concluded.

3.      Smart Edoge, the Chairman of  Delta State Peace Architecture Dialogue (PAD)noted that the platform is to create sustainable peace in Delta State, in this regard, several meetings have been held and we are aware that several crises have been resolved that there are still emerging ones arising. We had agreed that the PAD would do some visitation to Ogbe-Ijaw and Aladja as their Kings have given assurance that they want the crises there to be resolved by bringing the two kings together and send resolution to Government. The chairman also said that the PAD would investigate the issues of cultism and those involved. He then called on search and vigilante to give a progress report in these regards.

4.      Ogboele CDC Chairmanthanked search for chosen his community for the project and he confirmed that crises in his community have been reduced to the barest minimum. He lamented that some certain herders are constantly creating tension in the community by stealing other herder’s cattle that a herder connected to this case was arrested and was later granted bail which he described as a wrong approach. He urged the government to bring herders criminal elements creating tension in his community to book by taking the matter to the Governor as the herders have ignored the instructions of the other authorities to submit for peace.

5.      Mr. O Emmanuel of Ndemilli Community, hinted that the situation in his community remained the same. According to him, their last petition, was submitted on the 19th of January which he said highlighted the issues of robbery, rape, and destruction of farmers. He confirmed that the Governor responded by sending his SSA on Peace and Security to the community on the 31st of January but the issues have not been resolved till date after they promised of resolving it in two weeks.

6.      Godwin Akpovona, Vigilante Chairman of Eku Communitysaid that the herders know the bush more than the community as they have some many route to enter into the community and that their crops are being destroyed daily. He stressed that as a community, they have been complaining to the chairman of the cattle owner which has led to the signing of an agreement with them on the ground that for every destruction a compensation of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000) would be paid but at this time the herder’s community have completely ignored the terms of the agreement. It was noted that some of the herders are kidnappers and robbers. If these issues cannot be resolved, it would be nice to ask the herders to leave their community, he concluded.

7.      Japhet Chika, Ubulu-OkitiAniocha South Vigilante, confirmed that they normally have meeting with the LGA Chairman including the herder’s communities. Though a lot is happening in communities within the LGA and the criminal herders are yet to be identified as MACBAN keep dissociating themselves from the herders. Herders are seen with guns which they use to kill people. There is a camp at Utulu that accommodate herders that keep attacking and killing people. Adding to the submission of the community, ChibuezeOsadebe, a retired police officer who is a member of the Ubulukiti security committee said that they are tired of the incidences of herder attacks while calling on Government to come to their rescue. He suggested that the government should tag cattle owners for easy identification.

8.      On Aradhe Community (Ellu Clan), the CDC Chairman narrated that Alhaji Musa called him on phone one faithful day that one of his 14 years old herder Boys was murdered and when they responded it was confirmed to be true. He said the body was exhume to the General Hospital at Ozoro. He called on the PAD to join the Ellu people to pacify the Fulani community.

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