UNDP Trains 2,000 Vigilante Groups on Counter-Terrorism

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By Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

As United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) concludes the training for the last batch of the 2,000 civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) and vigilante groups at the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre (CLTC) Jos, trainees have been charged to see themselves as potential victims of insurgency who should take interest in ensuring peace, security and survival of the society.

The trainees, drawn from Adamawa, Borno and Yobe have been reminded that the federal government is taking the fight against insurgency very seriously because without that there will be no progress and development.

The Director-General of CLTC, Mr. Jonah Bawa, who stated this during the weekend at Mountain School, Shere Hills, Jos, venue of the training, recognised that the youths are resources for the development of any country but added that the violent destructions of lives and property especially in the North- east of the country have all been inculcated in the youths by those who should have served as role models to them.

In his remark, the UNDP Director, Mr. Samuel Bwalya, expressed delight to be part of the last batch of 441 participants that undertook the capacity building training for the 2,000 members of the CJTF and vigilante groups.

Represented by the UNDP Coordinator, Mr. Matthew Alao, the UNDP Director, noted that,: “The importance of the reintegration of former CJTF/Vigilante groups into their respective communities is to recognise the contributions of the young women and men who have actively collaborated with the Military JTF to annihilate the dreaded Boko Haram in the North- east, guarantee community peace and stability and activate the local economy.

“The first phase of the programme is designed to build and strengthen the capacity of the CJTF/Vigilante groups to render quality community security services to their communities. These include improved protection of human rights, increased prevention of sexual and gender-based violence and promotion of community cohesion and peaceful co-existence.”

The second phase will afford the beneficiaries opportunity to acquire skills in technical and vocational trades of choice that will enable them to live an economically and socially viable life long after the insurgency while the third phase will support the graduates of the skill acquisition programme with equipment grants to establish their businesses.

According to him, “I am happy to note that this training has not only boosted the morale of the CJTF/Vigilante members to contribute to render effective community security services to their people but has equally prepared and aided them to chart a new course of peace and dialogue in their respective communities to foster sustainable peace, stability and development in the North- east. The feedback from the past beneficiaries of this capacity building training confirmed this statement and we are delighted that we are making the desired impact on them.”

He explained, “The UNDP past and on-going interventions in the North-east are recording concrete but positive results with significant impacts on the beneficiaries particularly women (including female headed households), youth and men.

“The achievements included reconstruction of over 300 houses for resettlement of IDPs/returnees; reconstruction of over 30 public infrastructures including schools, hospitals, local government secretariats and police stations that provided cash-for-work (income-earning opportunities) for more than 1,300 IDPs/returnees; and supported over 20,000 farmers and female headed households with agricultural inputs  and agro-processing equipment.

“Over 1,000 business women and men have been assisted to recover their lost businesses, alternative sustainable livelihoods provided for 258 women and youths that graduated from UNDP supported technical and vocational skill acquisition programme while 317 beneficiaries that have completed their training are awaiting graduation and will be equally assisted with equipment grants to establish their businesses; and 200 schools in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States have been installed with solar power facilities.”

He added: “Further accomplishments included the over 800 police/law enforcement officers trained on protection of civilian, de-radicalisation and counter narratives; 700 community leaders trained on social cohesion and community reconciliation; over 38,000 people received mine-risk education; 26 episodes of radio drama serial to prevent violent extremism/de-radicalisation and promote reconciliation in the Lake Chad Basin produced and broadcast to reach over five million population; and 19 local courts in three states were furnished and made functional to accelerate access to justice by the inhabitants of the areas. These results were achieved due to our commitment to reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement of affected population and communities despite security challenges in the area.”

Bawa appreciated the government of Nigeria, the state partners and their donors including the governments of Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, UK and the EU for their continuous support for their programmes in Nigeria, undertaking to continue to do their utmost best to implement programmes that will contribute to improved security and development in the North- east and Nigeria as a whole.