Ebonyi State Security and Vigilante outfit, Ebubeagu, has been charged to always channel their energies constructively in conflict situations for the general good of all parties.
The admonition emanated from a training workshop on Conflict Management organised by the United States Agency for International Development funded State Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness (State2State) project.
The training was conducted for and in collaboration with the State Ministry of Internal Security, Border Peace and Conflict Resolution, under which the Ebubeagu outfit is domiciled.
The two-day event, held at Cirene Hotel, Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State Capital, was targeted at equipping the Management and Staff of the Ministry, including the State Security and Vigilante Outfit, Ebubeagu, on peace building and conflict mitigation in the State.
In a presentation, one of the Resource persons and a State2State Conflict Specialist in Adamawa State, Danjuma Mohammed, explained that conflicts were integral part of human society, adding that injustice and divergent interests were major causes of conflicts.
Mohammed however, noted that though conflict itself is neutral; neither positive nor negative, its outcome could either be positive or negative, depending on its handling.
He emphasised that handling of conflicts often depends on the way it is perceived while its perception depends on a person’s level of socialisation, education, experience, among others.
He urged participants to always express their conflict energy constructively and in such a manner as to produce positive result: peace, unity, good life and welfare of all parties, adding that conflicts persist unless there is a deliberate effort by the conflicting parties to resolve its root cause through informed dialogue.
Mohammed further admonished that expressing conflict energies destructively produces negative results including Violence, death, wounds and destruction of homes and other property, a situation he said retards general wellbeing and development.
The conflict management expert also explained that peace was not just the absence of war but the presence of justice.
He said: “Peace is a condition that ensures justice and social stability through formal and informal institutions, practices and norms.
“A peaceful society is where there is security, justice, relative stability, development and wellbeing of the people.”
Speaking to newsmen during the event, which started on Monday, the Local Government Manager for USAID State2State Project, Ebonyi State, Victoria Ebere Eze, explained that the training was based on Purpose 3 of the State2State activity, which was anchored on improved subnational capacity to manage conflicts; improving government and Civil Societies’ capacity to manage conflict; conflict prevention, mitigation and reconciliation with sectoral partners.
Eze noted that the strategic importance of the ministry in managing conflict in the State informed the training, adding that State2State, under the programme has also trained some other line Ministries, and would continue to extend the training until all critical stakeholders, including Civil Society Organizations were reached, especially as the 2023 elections is around the corner.
Eze said: “Conflict management, mitigation, and peace building is a very core strategic purpose for State2State.
“In any society where there is no peace, there is always conflict, and when there is conflict, there is no progress; no success, and governance is actually affected.”
On public outcries against alleged activities of the Ebubeagu Security Outfit in the State, which seemed to escalate rather than mitigate conflicts, Eze responded: “We cannot outrightly agree with what people are saying because they are mostly allegations.
“But we believe that if we expose them to conflict analysis; to know how to analyse conflict in any of the areas it happens, it will help them understand its nature and kind.
“By the time their skills are built on the kind of tools to employ in analysing conflict situations in the State, I believe they will be doing better in their work.”
In a remark, the State Commander of Ebubeagu Civilian Security Outfit, Friday Ujo, applauded the USAID-S2S for the gesture, and charged the trainees to take advantage of the training to expand their knowledge in conflict management.
Ujo further charged the trainees to be ready to step down the knowledge to their various units and formations, as well as beyond the circles of the Ministry.
Participants were expected to come up with conflict mitigation plans for the State at the end of the meeting.
USAID-State2State is a USAID funded project implemented by Development Alternatives Incorporated, DAI Global, LLC in six States of Nigeria comprising of Ebonyi, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Gombe and Sokoto.