Dr Chris Kwaja, an expert in peace and conflict resolution, says the menace of rural banditry has remained a major security threat to Nigeria’s corporate existence.
Kwaja made the remarks while speaking at a symposium held at the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution on Thursday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the symposium is “the role of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria’s core conflicts”.
Speaking on the topic “Civil Society and Nigeria’s core conflict: rural banditry,” Kwaja noted that a successful approach towards ending rural banditry would require deep synergy among all stakeholders.
He stressed that this would require collaboration between rural communities, security agencies and the CSOs.
“For the security agencies to launch successful country-banditry operations, it will require the strong support of the communities as key providers of intelligence.
“The experiences of communities as victims of banditry have had a huge impact about their perception for the security agencies as the first responders to their security needs.
“This will require restoring the fractured trust between the civilian population and the security agencies,’’ he said.
According to Kwaja, civil society can play a complementary role in this effort by developing a framework that would complement efforts of the communities and government.
“The ability of CSOs to develop a robust framework for community-level early warning and response as well as conflict management, remains an important pathway for community cohesion in Northern Nigeria.’’
He noted that the reality was that beyond the use of force by security agencies, “there are opportunities for civil society and communities to intervene’’.
He added that such measures, driven by CSOs thorough putting in place structures and mechanisms for responses that are comprehensive and sustainable, would go a long way in tackling rural banditry. (NAN)