An NGO based in Adamawa State; the Community Reach-out and Poverty Alleviation Initiative (CRI) Yola under a Grant Agreement with the British Council’s Managing Conflict in the Northeast (MCN) Programme has facilitated the formation and conduct of quarterly town hall meetings known as Community Accountability Forums (CAFs) in Five (5) communities in the state.
The town hall meetings principally aimed at strengthening Civil-Military-Police relationships in communities which came under heavy attacks and/or occupation by the Boko Haram insurgents, especially during the peak of the insurgency in 2014.
The insurgency, in addition to the destruction of lives, properties and livelihoods had also distorted the traditional community structures which play significant role in peace building, conflict prevention, mitigation and social re-integration, particularly during periods of conflicts/crises and their aftermath.
The insurgency has instead cultivated deep level animosity and mistrust among community members thereby destroying the fabrics of community peace partnerships.
The convening of the Town Hall/CAF meetings in the selected communities since May, 2019, namely Mayo-Belwa, Girei, Maiha, Mubi North and Michika was with the main objective of re-establishing community confidence on security provisioning agencies especially Police, the Nigerian Civil Defence and Security Corps (NCDSC) and other Voluntary Policing Groups.
The Quarterly CAF/Town Hall meetings where community members usually flag up issues which are of security concern resulted in most of these concerns had been effectively resolved through activities of the CAF Steering committee members also constituted and trained by the MCN Programme.
At the end of the three years of the convening of these Town Hall meetings, remarkable achievements have been made, particularly in the area of active participation of community members on security support, including material support and intelligence to the Police and other security agents as well as enhanced positive working relationships between Police, Hunters and Vigilante Groups in the communities of intervention.
In order to sustain the gains and achievements and ensure continued community support to the Police for continually control crime rates, the community members in Mayo-Belwa, Girei, Maiha, Mubi North and Michika have since signed agreements with their respective Police Divisions and VPS Commanders in which the communities have pledged to give maximum support and cooperation to the security agencies to achieve desired peace and security of their communities.
On other hand, the Police Division and Head of the Vigilante/Hunter Groups have on their part also pledged to observe confidentiality on intelligence provided by the community members as well as respect the human rights of the community members as contained in various laws and charters.
The leaderships of CAN and Muslim Councils in the Local Government Areas are witnesses to the Signed Agreements (MOUs), while the Director, Monitoring and Evaluation of Community Reachout and Poverty Alleviation Initiative, (CRI) Yola, Engr. Abubakar Buba supervised the signing events across all the 5 communities.