Filed under : Africa
By the Southern Kaduna NGO Forum
Title:Opportunity to Fast-Forward Development.
Date: 3rd April 2012
The full impact of the sectarian crisis that swept through some communities of southern Kaduna, is just beginning to be felt. The rows of burnt homes, businesses vehicles still litter the streets. Food security in homes has been severely affected. Children are unable to go to school because parents cannot pay their fees; the elderly and other vulnerable members of the population are most hard hit by the lack of shelter, food, medicines.
This submission is not looking at the remote and long-standing and genuine grievances of many of the communities of southern Kaduna. Most of these have been eloquently documented by more competent bodies such at the SOKAPU, CAN, JNI etc. It is however important to mention that the resolution of some of the challenges faced in Kafanchan (e.g. the Settler Vs Indigene issue) has national dimensions with many other Nigerian communities in Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Oyo, Abia, Anambra facing similar challenges. Therefore whatever solutions are proffered must take cognizance of the national context. The various submissions before this committee will fall under short, medium or long-term consideration. This submission focuses mostly on the shirt and medium-term issues whose success can make it easier to tackle the long term issues.
Therefore, while all the concerns being raised before this eminent committee are important, we believe that the economic rehabilitation of Kafanchan should be given high priority. An inclusive economy in which all Kaduna State citizens have a stake is a critical factor for sustained peace. Without a thriving and inclusive economy, all the peace and reconciliation efforts will be vulnerable to the frustrations of the vast pools of the internally displaced persons, the frustrated and unemployed youths, and the hungry populace irrespective of their religion or tribes. The high unemployment, frustration and poverty among teeming population of youths makes them ready recruits for sectarian and political violence. Two proven strategies for large scale job creation are Infrastructure and Agriculture.
‘MARSHAL PLAN’ for KAFANCHAN
At the end of the World War II, the devastation in Europe was quickly addressed through a deliberate economic recovery plan: the Marshall Plan. This was massive industrial and home reconstruction plan all over Europe. The first impact of that foresight was the massive opportunity to create employment for the millions of demobilized soldiers.
The destruction of economic life in Kafanchan, made worse by the petrol subsidy removal, calls for a deliberate policy of infusion of massive funds into the Kafanchan economy. The catastrophe that occurred in Kafanchan can therefore be turned into an unprecedented opportunity to build a modern and thriving economy in Kafanchan.
We are therefore suggesting that while other issues are receiving their due attention, the economic recovery of Kafanchan should be prioritized as an emergency requirement. There is urgent need to facilitate the reconstruction of
-a new ultra modern market and abattoir
-the businesses, worship places and homes that were destroyed
-rehabilitation of road networks
To ensure confidence building and non partisanship, these construction work must be under the supervision of women and men of proven integrity from the affected communities. They will select the professionals who will do high quality work, ensure timeliness, provide transparency and accountability in management of construction funds, provide regular information on funds disbursed.
The Kafanchan crises happened at critical times in the state agricultural production cycle. As the insecurity escalated many households within the affected areas abandoned their farms, could not cultivate, and became atypically market dependent between October and December, making food access more difficult than usual. Traders continue to avoid these insecure areas for fear of reprisal attacks and markets have been disrupted, further hampering food inflow and commerce. For example, the price of ginger has dropped by over 60% because the regular buyers have not been coming as usual.
It is therefore urgent that the entire value chain of the traditional agricultural produce of southern Kaduna should be reviewed to identify areas that have been disrupted and design appropriate interventions as soon as possible.
We would like to suggest how resources to meet the infrastructure and agricultural challenges of the Kaduna State Peace Process can be accessed.
1.Southern Kaduna NGO Forum. This is an indigenous forum that has been deeply involved in the economic and social development of southern communities for over 15 years. The work of GAWON Foundation, YOTASID, Fantsuam Foundation and PPG Enterprises is known all over the southern Kaduna communities. When the post – election violence broke out on April 18th, the southern Kaduna NGO Forum had a visible presence on the ground providing shelter, food, medicines for people of all tribes and religions who were affected by the violence. This level of support is still ongoing even as we speak. Some members of the Sothern Kaduna NGO Forum have anticipated the food crises that will follow the period of unrest, and are now distributing free grains to affected families. This is in addition to their regular ongoing services in education, healthcare, agriculture and social protection. It is important that the Kaduna State Government should engage the services of these credible organizations in order to ensure faithful implementation of its reconciliation and reconstruction goals. Specific tasks which the Forum is willing to anchor in the reconciliation and reconstruction efforts include
a.Providing training to youths and community leaders on Non-Violent Conflict Resolution skills in partnership with relevant national and international NGOs
b.Working with the State Government to mobilize and manage resources from relevant national and international organizations
c.Enhancing the integrity of the entire peace process through monitoring and evaluation of all State Government efforts, providing regular updates to all stakeholders and ensuring transparency and accountability in the allocation of relief materials to affected persons
d.Supporting State Government in identifying potential flashpoints and suggesting solutions
e.Alerting security agencies to the activities of criminal elements who are using the current situation as a cover for their activities
f.Many indigenes of Kaduna State in the Europe, Asia and US diaspora are keen to facilitate resources for the development of the State. The Forum can support the State Government to explore such contacts. For example, some of the Forum members have just completed the installation of Solar power to the Paediatrics Ward of Kafanchan General Hospital through the assistance of Kaduna State diaspora in Minnesota – USA
g.Related to the issue of traumatic experiences is the fate of the vulnerable members of our society: older men and women, and children had no special consideration during the violence. There has been an increase in vulnerable children who have lost parents and guardians, as well as an increase in destitute elderly women and men. Any civilized society is measured by the care it gives its vulnerable citizens and the Forum will be ready to work with the State Government to address these urgent matters
h.The sectarian violence in Kafanchan and surrounding communities has led to an increase in mental health problems: some are due to the traumatic experiences of the violence and some has been due to substance abuse by youths. Trauma Care and Counseling and raising awareness about substance abuse and facilitating rehabilitation services are areas of work which the Forum can also partner with the State Government
2.Private Sector. In this regard, there are many private sector enterprises that will be willing to support the infrastructural and agricultural development of Kaduna State through their corporate social responsibility services. In this regard Senator Nenadi Usman and our House of Representative member, Hon Shehu Garba have significant private sector contacts, who will be willing to support these reconstruction efforts.
3.Federal Ministry of Housing. The destruction of homes and businesses gives Kafanchan a chance to develop a modern city with proper planning and meeting minimum safety standards. Through the State Government with the support of Senator Nenadi and Hon Shehu Garba a case can be made for special provision of housing units in affected communities. The reconstruction could also draw support from the Cement Companies, Paint, Roofing and other roofing materials manufacturers to make donations towards these efforts.
4.UN Habitat Fund is also available if the legislators and State Government will make a case with the appropriate contacts
5.UN Emergency Rehabilitation fund is also available for post-conflict reconstruction programs and requires initiation by the State Government
6.The State Government can also access some funds from the World Bank for a modern market in Kafanchan. Commencement of this project will be a major boost to the Kafanchan economy.
Building works are areas of quick employment for youths, so the various construction works should be undertaken through direct labour. The community leaders should be involved in selection of youths who will participate in these employment opportunities. The multi-tribal nature of the Kafanchan economy should be reflected in the recruitment of these youths as well as in the homes that are to be rehabilitated. Locally available construction materials, e.g. laterite, should be specified for use in the construction of buildings
GAWON FOUNDATION, Manchok
Fantsuam Foundation., Kafanchan