The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has tasked the Transitional Justice Panelists and the Community Reconciliation Committees to brace up to the challenges of reconciling and reintegrating victims and perpetrators of insurgency to live in peace in their communities.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu (SAN) who gave this charge in Maiduguri, Borno state in his welcome address at the training of Community Stakeholders on Transitional Justice and Reconciliation in the North East, noted that the success of the project depends largely on the commitment of the panelists and reconciliation committees.
According to Ojukwu, the Traditional Justice Project was conceived as a pathway to creating long-lasting reconciliation and a deep sense of justice between communities who have been ravaged socio-economically by the impact of the Boko Haram conflict.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria reminded the Transitional Justice Panelists and members of the Community Reconciliation Committees of their responsibilities which among others include; rebuilding and repositioning themselves for a more prosperous future founded on justice, equity and peace.
The Transitional Justice Panels, the Executive stated, are charged with the following terms of reference: establish a complaints registry, adjudication of cases using community and right-based approaches, determine the appropriate level of compensation, and follow-up actions and remedies for victims and determine appropriate non-judicial and non-custodial sanctions.
On the other hand, he stated that the Community Reconciliation Committees has the following mandates: provide a conducive environment for victims to confront their alleged perpetrators/violators, provide opportunity for truth telling and communication between the victims, and reconcile victims and perpetrators/violators.
Speaking in an interview with journalists during the event, the District Head of Bama/Secretary Bama Emirate Council, Makenta Usman lauded the project, saying that with the increasing number of returnees there is the need to reconcile all the community stakeholders in order for them to live together harmoniously.
He further advocated the imperatives of assigning constitutional functions to the traditional rulers, advising that the National Assembly should be involved to enact a law to empower the traditional authorities to facilitate the reconciliation process.
In his remarks, a lecturer at Niger Delta University, Professor Solomon Ebobrah emphasized the importance of legitimacy of the reconciliation panels, saying that it remains a critical requirement to build trust and enhance the reconciliation process in the affected communities.
There were presentations on Framework for community-led reconciliation and Framework for Gender Inclusion on community-led reconciliation by Dr. Saheed Owonikoko and Jamila Suleiman respectively, all from the Centre for Peace and Security Studies, Modibo Adama University, Yola Adamawa state.
The training exercise which was organized by the NHRC in collaboration with United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and European Union is billed to last between 16 and 17 August 2022.