UN Summit Commits Nigeria Traditional Leaders Support To End Atrocity Crimes

Yemisi Izuora

The United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention of the Responsibility to Protect in partnership with the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers have endorsed a plan to end violent atrocity crime in Nigeria.

A two-day technical global consultation in Abuja with traditional leaders and actors from across five regions successfully resulted in a draft Plan of Action for Traditional Leaders and Actors to Prevent Atrocity Crimes.

This consultation was co-hosted by the Sultan of Sokoto His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar Muhammadu III, Gbong Gwom of Jos His Majesty Da Jacob Gyang Buba and Obi of Onitsha His Royal Highness Nnaemeka Ugochukwu Achebe.

The meeting agreed that proactive involvement and local ownership of traditional leaders as key stakeholders is critical in preventing atrocity crimes.

The draft Plan of Action entails the commitments of traditional leaders and actors to prevent atrocity crimes, including but not limited to strengthen and support traditional dispute mechanisms, share alternative and counter-narratives for hate speech and incitement to violence, strengthen community dialogue and activities to support social cohesion, and support educational opportunities and skill building development.

“Traditional Leaders play a critical role in preventing atrocity crimes thanks to their deep contextual knowledge and skills in traditional dispute resolution. Hence, we must engage these actors in atrocity prevention efforts at global, regional, national and local level” emphasized the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Ms. Alice Wairimu Nderitu.

“The Network is committed to supporting traditional actors, including women and youth in their critical role through utilizing effective mechanisms, such as peace mediation in situation at risk and atrocity crimes” stated the Executive Director of the Network for Religious and Traditional Actors, Dr. Mohamed Elsanousi.

As next step, this draft Plan of Action will be presented and discussed in five regional consultations with traditional leaders and actors to put the document in context and explore regional diversities, expertise, and solutions. Information from the global forum and the regional consultations will be then collated into the finalized Plan of Action.

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