Regular readers of this blog will know that the weekly UK-Nigeria meeting has been dominated of late by the aftermath of the post-Election violence in Kafanchan. This week’s meeting was, predictably, no exception.
Previously we had been told that the field officers from the Microfinance programme had been afraid to visit their clients in the Muslim Areas due to safety fears.
This time, John Dada related the tale of Grace, one of the field workers who - despite the danger - felt compelled to visit one of her clients who had suffered bereavement in the Muslim ares of Kafanchan. “In Nigeria, certain things have to be done face-to-face,” he explained. “Condolence visits are a face-to-face affair and it carries so much meaning to the bereaved.”
To everyone’s relief Grace returned unscathed. But as John remarked: ”The incident highlighted the extent of the breakdown of trust between the communities and, for me, it also shows the hidden strength of our women. It is they who bear the brunt of the violence and yet, it is they who take the first steps to heal their communities. Grace doesn't accept that she was brave, and in fact some of the staff thought she was foolish. But I recognised the deeper value of what she has done, which really is what women have been doing for ages.”
Rumours of continued reprisal killings remain rife and John added: ”There are no truths in these rumours and you can see that both sides are equally affected by them. I have asked the R3 team (Rehabilitation, Reconstruction + Resources) to work out how we may begin to send out text messages of reassurance to counter these rumours and give truthful up to date information to people.”