HumAngle Concludes Conference On Enhancing Collaboration To Manage Conflict 

The conference, held yesterday in Abuja with support from the MacArthur Foundation, spotlighted the intersection between the humanitarian, media, and security forces in conflict resolution attempts. 

HumAngle has just concluded an in-person and virtual conference themed ‘Enhancing the Intersection of Humanitarian, Media and Security Sectors in Managing Conflict in Nigeria’. 

The event, held on Nov. 22 in Nigeria’s federal capital territory, saw representatives of media organizations, the security sector, and the development sector in attendance. 

It was kickstarted by a networking session and a welcome remark by HumAngle’s CEO, Ahmad Salkida. 

Salkida began by welcoming panellists and guests and appreciating the presence of Prof Umaru Pate, who served as the keynote speaker for the event. He noted that HumAngle had spent the last 3-4 years trying to understand the root causes of conflict and mapping out solutions. During this time, the organisation had found that collaboration was indispensable to this process, he said. 

“Journalists must work with the civil society, civil society must work with the government, everyone must work together. We stand to benefit so much from this approach,” he said.

“That is why we have put this event together; to serve as the springboard for such fruitful collaboration.”

Prof. Umaru Pate took over with a keynote speech centred around conflict,  the roles of the humanitarian, media, and security sectors, and how they come to play in conflict resolution. 

He stated that because conflict disrupts peaceful coexistence, many communities and people do not have the time and privilege to develop. He emphasised that conflict doesn’t happen in isolation, it exists with a cause. However, unfortunately, there is no structured means for resolution in Nigeria due to its low justice system. This is why many choose revenge as a solution to conflicts, resulting in jungle justice, he explained.  

Dr Amina Salihu, activist and development specialist, who served as the Special Guest, delivered a speech as well before the commencement of panel discussions. 

“In all sectors, there is one thing common between them: life. And the only thing that makes life meaningful is leadership. Where that is lacking, we will keep asking ourselves where we have gone wrong. Leadership isn’t for people that hold positions, it’s for people that have a good heart,” she said.

She further highlighted the need for resilience to begin to transform into resistance, drawing an example from HumAngle’s project with the Knifar women. 

She rounded up by stating that leadership is about inspiring ourselves to inspire others, and that there is a need to partner and pull resources together.  

The event then began with a panel discussion on Reducing Mistrust Between The Media, Humanitarian Organisations, And Security Forces During Crises. 

The panel was moderated by Oluwatosin Alagbe, Director of the HumAngle Foundation. The speakers include Joshua Olufemi, the CEO of DataPhyte; Kabir Adamu, CEO of Beacon Consulting; and Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu, the Managing Editor of HumAngle. 

“Journalists should ask themselves about the purpose they are driving at, then every other thing can lean on that. If your driver is having a saviour mentality, then ethics is already questioned,” Olufemi said, responding to questions about ethical reporting.

Kabir Adamu emphasized the need to ensure collaboration within these three sectors as well as the fact that there is no clear demarcation in terms of these roles. 

“Always create frameworks that centre people that are being spoken about. All three stakeholders engage. We are all on the same side,” Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu added. 

The second panel session, moderated by Dorothy Amah, Assistant Director, Legal, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and panelled by Rahila Jibrin (Ph.D.), lecturer at the University of Maiduguri; Saduwo Banyawa, Journalist and past HumAngle Fellow; and Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu. It discussed Improving The Administration Of Justice In Conflict Zones To Curb Sexual Violence and Impunity. 

The panel began by establishing that there are limited legal frameworks for justice for sexual violence victims in Nigeria, with Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu highlighting that the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, regarded as one of Nigeria’s most progressive laws on violence, is unfortunately not implemented across the country. 

Rahila Jibrin mentioned some of the the key people who take charge of SGBV cases, and how grassroots mobilizers should be equipped to handle cases better, even before the security personnel get involved. 

“It is not enough to document your story. Real impact is what your story does for them. You can introduce them to organizations that carry out social work. They can be educated on their civil rights,” Saduwo Banyawa said on reportage of SGBV. 

The conversation concluded with a note that there is a need for education and awareness for victims, to teach them that their worth is not gone because of the experience of sexual violence they have faced. Also, the need to include advocates for male inclusion in these discussions was emphasized, as many men aren’t aware of the different crimes of SGBV. 

The final panel session was moderated by Madam Fatima Agwai from the NHRC, and paneled by Abubakar Sadiq Mu’azu, the Executive Director of CATAI; Mu’azu Alhaji Modu, the CEO of  Spotlight for Transparency and Accountability Initiative; and Isaac Oritogun of HumAngle Foundation. They deliberated on the ‘Importance of Accountability in Managing Conflict.’

The moderator, Madam Fatima began the discussion by stating that where there is accountability, there is justice, and for there to be justice, there is a need for all three sectors to work together because accountability is not one man’s business. 

Mr Isaac Oritogun spoke on the importance of accountability in managing conflict, and shed light on the problems in Nigeria that need to be held more accountable. According to him, conflict is fueled by inaction and a lack of accountability.

Abubakar reinforced that the government should be held more accountable, because when they do, other institutions in the country, including the civil society organizations and the United Nations will follow suit. 

Mu’azu Alhaji Modu said that there is a need for social reorientation in Nigeria, and every citizen of the country needs to be accountable to themselves and take responsibility to make things better in the society. 

After every panel session, there was room for questions and answers, where every panelist was given a chance to answer questions posed by the attendees. 

At the end of the conference, there was also a session where the audience expressed the things that they learned and would stick with them for a long time. 

The conference is the first of its kind at HumAngle. 

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