In the wake of the current situation in the north east where Members of Boko Haram are laying their arms in thousands, people that are mostly affected by the atrocities of insurgency have opened their arms to reconciliation and transitional justice as a way to achieving lasting peace in the region.
At a 3-day Strategic Session for the Development of Transitional Justice Framework and Protocols organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU) which took place in Yola this week, stakeholders assured the NHRC of their commitments in the implementation of the Commission’s new project on promoting reintegration, reconciliation and transitional justice in the north east.
The stakeholders pledged the support of their various organisations for the successful implementation of the project which was designed primarily to encourage forgiveness and reconciliation among the victims of insurgency and those who have committed a heinous crime.
At the event aimed at creating a framework and protocol for effective transitional justice exercise, the Permanent Secretary of the Yobe State Ministry of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Reintegration Barr. Bello Hammad Diram applauded the Commission for coming this far with the project which was launched few months ago .
He said there is the need to make deliberate efforts to achieve effective transitional justice exercises in order to have lasting peace in the region, even as he pointed that the road to this achievement is rough and tough.
The Chairman Sulhu Committee of Yobe state Sheik Babagana Kyari stated that the Muslim Ummah is in total disagreement with the ideology and teachings of Boko Haram saying it is completely against the doctrines of Islam. He pointed out that the Quran and Sharia is what can be easily used to win the hearts of the people in the North, and Boko Haram members used the holy Quran wrongly to win the peoples heart to their evil ideologies.
He said “Islam teaches us forgiveness, and that we are all sinners, so if members of Boko Haram are willing to come back and surrender, we will accept them, and try to reconcile with them because the Quran teaches us the virtue of Sulhu, (reconciliation). So we are bound by our religious teachings not to reject them if they want peaceful reconciliation. He said the NHRC’S project and his committee have similar mandates and will work harmoniously.
The representative of the Adamawa Emirate Council Alhaji Abubakar Jika expressed the willingness of the Emirate Council to support the NHRC’s transitional justice Project. Jika said his Royal Highness, the Lamido of Adamawa is happy with the coming of the pilot project to Adamawa state, saying communities have suffered untold hardships from the effect of insurgency and there has to be a way to put an end to the sufferings so that people can live together in peace.
Mrs. Jamila B Suleiman, Esq from Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, Modibbo Adama University, Yola expressed the readiness of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies to partner with NHRC in implementing the project she referred to as “a noble idea of reuniting our people” she called on the Commission to expand the scope of the project to include gender dimension for female justice, saying there is no better time for such a project than now.
Earlier, the project coordinator, Mr. Hilary ogbonna stated that the objective of the strategic session is among other things Convey experts and stakeholders to discuss and develop transitional justice instruments and mechanisms suitable for the North East, as well as develop protocols and procedures to conduct the transitional justice sessions at the local level.
Mr. Ogbonna further stated that the session will also analyse current scenarios, processes, and implications of the return and surrender of ex-combatants on transitional and restorative justice for victims and communities.
Participants were drawn from the Academics, the Emirate council, youth leaders, host communities, the IDP Leadership, Ministry of justice, etc.