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InterCommunity Dialogue with Atyaps, Hausas and Fulanis

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Recounting the achievements from the P4P project interventions, displaced individuals had begun returning to their homes, facilitated by an enhanced synergy between the communities in conflict in Atyap Chiefdom where a peace pact was signed on June 6th, 2022 between the Atyaps, Hausas and Fulanis. This transformation brought about a remarkable shift towards peace and tranquility, exemplified by the harmonious coexistence observed within and between these communities.
However, since March 2023, the intervention has faced unexpected setbacks, marked by devastating attacks in Angwan Wakili, Mabushi, Ataknje and other neighboring communities. Lives have been lost, and properties reduced to ruins, casting a shadow of uncertainty on the progress made thus far. Undeterred by these challenges, LEGASI remains resolute in its mission to establish an interactive dialogue platform, bolstered by comprehensive training packages. The ultimate aim is to effect lasting conflict transformation and prevent any further deterioration of the delicate situation.

Recently on the 2nd and 3rd of June, 2023, a remarkable series of events unfolded aimed at healing the wounds inflicted by the escalating violent conflicts within the Atyap communities. Three intra-community dialogues led by Victor Abarshi were conducted in the first week of June 2023 in a courageous attempt to repair the deep-rooted damage caused by the ongoing cycle of conflict between the Atyap, Hausa and Fulani tribes in the Atyap Chiefdom and towards preparing the ground for a wider intercommunity dialogue. Participants delved into the pressing concerns, strategizing ways to alleviate tensions and pave the way for intercommunity dialogue. The outcome was a collective decision to step-down discussions to community-specific groups, establishing structures to oversee district and village-level dialogue forums.

Following an agreement among the tribes to participate in an intercommunity dialogue, the community heads specifically requested the presence of the LEGASI team, indicating their desire for a peaceful resolution and reconciliation. The dialogue session spanned two days on the 8th - 9th of June, 2023 in Kafanchan - Kaduna. This served as a neutral ground for participants from the Atyap, Hausa and Fulani tribes to convene. During the session, the participants engaged in various activities, expressing their fears and expectations for the future through written notes. Additionally, they openly discussed their preferences and dislikes within their respective tribes. These activities aimed to shed more light on their past wrongdoings and identify areas in need of improvement, serving as a crucial step towards achieving reconciliation.

The session aimed at arriving at a common ground and shared interests to facilitate the formulation of strategies to curb the state of unrest in the area. A total of 47 participants, consisting of 35 males and 12 females from all three tribes, attended the meeting. Among the participants were district heads, youth leaders, women leaders, religious leaders and critical state officials. Initially, the participants were uncertain about what to expect from the dialogue session. However, as the session progressed, the purpose of the visit became increasingly evident. The participants were gradually empowered with valuable knowledge and insight that they could apply in their own families and the community as a whole, ultimately contributing to the development of a more harmonious and cohesive community.

Dr. Joseph Atang (Nigeria Country Expert and Representative for the International Dialogue Centre - KAICIID) delivered the opening remarks, extending a warm welcome to all participants. Barrister Rebecca Sako, a Permanent Commissioner at the Kaduna Peace Commission, Rev. Gambo Waziri and Shafii Jume, the Secretary to the Chief Imam of Kafanchan, were invited to share goodwill messages. The Executive Director of LEGASI, Kaltumi Abdulazeez gave a brief introduction, recounting the organization's successes in the chiefdom in the previous year and explaining the session's objectives. During the session, participants wrote down their likes and dislikes concerning the tribes they were in conflict with and there was a round table exercise to brainstorm and discuss their thoughts.

The second day of the intercommunity dialogue created a time for reflection, where also Sheikh Muhammad Alkaseem, the Chief Imam of Kafanchan, delivered words of wisdom and emphasized the importance of peaceful coexistence. Time was given for mutual interaction on further issues on Zango Kataf development were discussed, focusing on empowerment initiatives and the improvement of their social infrastructure. One critical success experience was shared through a video presentation showcasing the story of women in Kasuwan Magani who had tragically lost loved ones during a religious crisis in the past. The presentation highlighted their journey towards peaceful relationships within the community, serving as a reminder that a similar transformation could be achieved in the Atyap community if they took the necessary steps.

LEGASI honouring the request by the Atyap Chiefdom to lead the mediation process through the intercommunity dialogue showed that the team had built trust in that community coupled with the key stakeholders and gatekeeper present to support the process with much appreciation to Peace Direct funding support and LEGASI's critical friend Dr. Joseph Atang (KAICIID) supported to give participants an open floor to discuss misconceptions and wrongdoings which aided in addressing misunderstandings, acknowledge wrongdoings towards fostering reconciliation and forgiveness.

  • The next steps after the sessions was to provide full documentation to ensure the commitment agreed upon by the tribes were clear to lead to peaceful coexistence.
  • A Peace Committee will be set up to address grievances and prevent further misunderstandings, and maintain harmonious relationships within the community.
  • Plans to create platforms for capacity building to ensure ownership of the peace process by representative tribes.
  • A robust monitoring and evaluation framework will be established to assess the progress and effectiveness of the implemented strategies.
  • The LEGASI team will continue to facilitate dialogue and mediation sessions among the tribes and set up follow-up meetings to nurture and ensure that progress is sustained.

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