The weekly online UK-Nigeria meetings have been established in their present format for more than three years. However, following Nigeria’s terrible post-election violence, John this week identified a new and unexpected benefit of our regular sessions - explaining that the Dadamac meetings are “evolving into a balm, a tonic, a forum where Fantsuam Foundation can unburden ...
John joined this week’s online UK-Nigeria session from Abuja, where he was due to attend a number of meetings - the most significant of which from our point of view was with the French Embassy. At this, John was to discuss the promised support for Attachab. Meanwhile Kelechi and Chollom joined us from Fantsuam while the UK provided three participants, based in Leeds and London.
We were pleased to hear there are reports of some semblance of normality returning to Kafanchan as people of all faiths were beginning to interact at the old and new market sites.
John informed us that as yet there have been no Government directives on the re-building of the market. Apparently it is not yet seen as a priority. He said the Committee was going to see how best to fit/feed into whatever the Government may eventually choose to do. In the meantime they are trying to meet the needs of their local community.
John also informed us that so far one woman has collected her N30,000 loan towards restarting her business - and that the remaining six beneficiaries will receive theirs when Comfort returns.
These women clients were selected by the field officer. John believes that five are Christian and the remaining two are Muslim. This reflects the proportion of these religions in FF’s clientele. John also pointed out that each woman trader is in turn supporting at least six family members, including their children, spouse, aged parents etc
We were pleased to catch up online with some familiar ‘faces’ at the UK-Nigeria team meeting this week. However it was clear from our discussion that although the post-electoral violence in Kaduna State has subsided - helped by the continued presence of soldiers - things were still not back to normal. It became evident that in the wake of the destruction there is much rebuilding to be done, both physically and emotionally.
On the physical side, many buildings and homes were destroyed. In previous blogs you can read about the destruction of the vibrant Kafanchan market and the emergence of a peace initiative designed to reconcile warring parties. Comfort said: “The burning of houses and the market has affected people's disposable income, but …. some form of business seems to be coming up."
Emotionally the community needs to come to term with the fear they experienced and the sights they saw and to deal with any anger towards the people who have inflicted further hardships upon them. The efforts of Fantsuam Foundation, together with other local civil societies and the Kafanchan Peace Market Plans has a vital role in the reconciliation process.
It appears that on the surface some semblance of normality is returning. Fantsuam Foundation has itself re-opened this week and trading is taking place on the new site for the Kafanchan market. However, this is merely embryonic as Bala, the head of Zittnet, said: “Everyone needs to 'sleep with one eye open', but generally nights are quiet. There's still tension, that’s what caused the trouble to escalate so much in the first place. But soldiers are around so there is relative peace."
Another Wednesday UK-Nigeria online meeting - and once again it delivered real gems of information.
John Dada is actively involved in this project.
On August 28th 2010 he chaired the Broadband for Nigeria stakeholders Forum in Abuja, Nigeria.
Prior to this John initiated Zittnet at Fantsuam Foundation.
John Dada kindly sent this information to the UK, in an email, as we were holding our weekly Skype online UK-Nigeria Meeting in respose to the UK requesting an update from the meeting.
PRELIMINARY REPORT OF
BROADBAND FOR NIGERIA (BB4NG) STAKEHOLDERS FORUM
held on Wednesday July 28, 2008 in Abuja
RELEASED TO THE PRESS
AS PUBLIC INFORMATION
NIGERIANS WANT BREAD AND BROADBAND!