By Emeka Nwokocha
Frontline Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) mitigating conflict in the Niger Delta, the Development Initiative for Community Impact (DICI), on Friday 30 July, 2021, rounded off a nine months conflict mitigating intervention in Aja-Amita, a coastal community in Warri North local government area of Delta State.
Speaking at the Social Cohesion Initiative, an activity on last session of the conflict mitigating project, tagged: “Promoting Social Cohesion through the Mitigation of Conflict Drivers in Coastal Community of Aja-Amita, Warri North LGA, Delta State” the Executive Director of DICI and project team lead, Mrs. Rachael Misan-Ruppee, said, “this session will conclude the peace building project I started in Aja-Amita community in November 2020, under the sponsorship of Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND). This session is a forum for all the parties in the leadership tussle in Aja-Amita community, including the elders and other stakeholders to discuss the way forward to berthing permanent peace in the community.”
Continuing, Misan-Ruppee said the session would be spiced with fun and cultural dance to inspire a bond of unity among the people of Aja-Amita community.
While reviewing the activities of the nine-months-long conflict mitigation project, she stated that the project had made commendable progress in achieving its objectives. She commended the factional groups, elders, youths, women and other stakeholders in Aja-Amita community for participating in the project.
She said, “when we started this project, we anchored it on the following objectives: to reduce community leadership conflict in Aja-Amita; to build capacity of Aja-Amita stakeholders for sustainable conflict transformation, sustainable conflict resolution, and leadership/ communication skills; and lastly, to establish community peace building mechanism in Aja-Amita community.
“I was passionate about achieving the objectives of the project. I said, ‘DICI will use this intervention to strengthen the capacity of the stakeholders of Aja-Amita to mitigate the drivers of conflict in the community, attract investors to the community and boost social and economic activities.” Misan-Ruppee said, “when the factional groups have been reconciled, the weakened conflict mitigation system would have been improved; the escalating conflict tension will be deescalated; social cohesion will improve; socioeconomic activities will improve greatly; and investors will be attracted to the community.”
Continuing, Misan-Ruppee noted that in the course of implementing the project. A 15-man Aja-Amita Inclusive Peace Committee (AIPC), headed by Hon. Sunny Jeye, was built and strengthened to handle conflict issues in the community. She added that the 15-man AIPC has been inaugurated by Partners for Peace in the Niger Delta (P4P) and is now a sub-chapter in Warri North LGA. She stated, “having been inaugurated by P4P, AIPC capacity has been built to promote peace, not only in Aja-Amita community, but in the entire Niger Delta.
Misan-Ruppee noted that despite the huge resources and opportunities for economic and infrastructural development in Aja-Amita community, investors had not been attracted to the community as a result of recurring community leadership conflicts over the years.”
She described the development as unfortunate, noting that numerous opportunities are being lost by Aja-Amita community as the conflict continues unabated. She said: “when investors are attracted to Aja-Amita community, more youths will be gainfully employed; if there is peace and job opportunities, people will be attracted to live in the community, violent clashes will end, positive peace will be restored, and multinational companies operating in the community will enjoy better relationship with their host.”
Speaking, the leader of one of the factional groups, Mr. Itse Omajugho, commended Mrs. Rachael Misan-Ruppee for anchoring the peace project in the interest of the people of Aja-Amita community. He said, “thank God, with the presence of DICI, we understand that peace will bring development, and peace will make our community grow for the benefit of Aja-Amita.” He continued, “on the way forward, I have agreed together with other parties that we need to tow the path of peace; I will not change my position on that; I will continue to preach peace because I understand that with the peace we will move forward.”
In the same vein, Comrade Etan Orighoye, secretary to Oghosanine led faction, while speaking on behalf of Mr. Oghosanine Dorsu, who was unavoidably absent, emphasized need for peace in Aja-Amita community, advocating that such peace must be founded on equity, fairness and justice. He, however, commits that his faction are ready for the parties involved in the leadership tussle to discuss and work out modalities together to withdraw the pending cases in court, and be reconciled, so as to charting a way forward for permanent and positive peace in Aja-Amita community, as they are brothers. He called on Hon. Elliot Wilkie, and Hon. Sunny Jeye, Aja-Amita Inclusive Peace Committee Chairman, to facilitate the process.
Lending their support to the peace initiative, the elders, and leaders of thought in Aja-Amita community, comprising Pa Wlson Oti Dorsu; Mr. Jackson Ejueneri; Hon. Sunny Jeye; Mr. Bemigho Urunmatsoma; Hon. Elliot Wilkie; Mr. Thorpe Dorsu; Mr. Alfred Eduwa Esuku, and Pa Victor Dorsu, one of the elders and leaders of thought of Aja-Amita community, unanimously agreed to walk the path of peace, and resolved to work on the successes that the project has achieved so as to giving the entire people of Aja-Amita community a united community trust leadership.
The event was rounded off with a cultural dance by the famous Omoko dance group of Aja-Amita, while members of all factions danced together as one big family.