On July 21 at Barwee Hotel, Maiduguri, 60 women leaders from Nigeria’s Northeast concluded a three-month “combating violent terrorism project.”
During the project undertaken by AUN and North East Regional Initiative (NERI), the women leaders were trained.
The project was designed to equip these women from Adamawa, Yobe, and Borno states, the worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgency, to identify and challenge early signs of youth radicalization in their communities and nip it in the bud.
AUN’s Administrator of Grants & Contracts, Dr. Audu Liman, said the Dissemination and Close-Out Ceremony of Combating Violent Extremism (CVE) was the third event AUN was hosting in Maiduguri as its contribution to the peacebuilding process in the three states.
“The peace intervention is made possible by funding from the good people of the United States through NERI and was able to reach out to 700 at-risk youths with peacebuilding messages.”
Dr. Liman added that through the 60 selected women, 20 from each participating state, “the project was also able to reach out to additional 150 women, 50 per state through which, again, additional 900 other women were also reached with the same peace message, especially to their children.”
Project Director, Isiyaku Babayo, said, “The purpose of the project is to mobilize, train, and deploy influential women leaders who have encountered insurgency to fight radicalization in their communities.” He added that the 60 women were selected from at-risk communities in consultation with security agencies and grassroots leaders.
Mr. Babayo explained that the project was extended to other communities via digital like Beliepedia, a mobile app available in a local context of Hausa. The app seeks to promote inter-religious dialogue and create conversations via WhatsApp groups. Each of the women also received a new smartphone to support their work.”
Project Officer of Borno State and AUN alum Maryam Lawan thanked the University for providing her with the ideal condition to serve her people. She also lauded the project team, women leaders, guests, partners, community leaders, and security agencies for making the project a success.
Hauwa Ibrahim, a woman leader from Yobe State, was grateful for the training she received. “Each of us in the state selected five other women, and we worked tirelessly to enlighten our children on the dangers of drug abuse and careless lifestyle.”
She cited some examples of budding violence including that case of a young man who manhandled his mother and took her to the police station. The youth was taken through counseling, and he later was remorseful and asked for his mother’s forgiveness.
AUN’s Community Projects Advisor, Mrs. Turai Kadir, called on all the participating women to continue working for their communities even though the project had technically closed. “With or without NERI, with or without AUN, this work is for our children and a brighter future.”
The Chief Imam of Borno State, Zannah Laisu Ibrahim, thanked AUN and NERI for the initiative. He called on parents to ensure Godly upbringing of their children.
Reported by Noel Sashi