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Our Mission Is Changing Mindset Of People In N/Delta – Bagu

Tomorrow is a New Day: Supporting community level conflicts resolution and reintegration of ex-militants to promote stability in the Niger Delta was the theme of the press conference organized by Search For Common Ground, SFCG, to change the mindset of people living in the 7 communities of Okrika, Ogu and Kpor of Rivers State, Amassoma and Kaiama of Bayelsa State and Oporoza and Koko in Delta State with funding support from European union’s instrument for stability.

Speaking at the conference, Chom Bagu, Country Director, Search for Common Ground, Nigeria said their mission was to change the mindset of the people and not to build infrastructure across the Niger Delta.

Bagu disclosed that tomorrow is a new day has reached out to over 8,000 people which include 336 self identified ex-militants, women and youths in the 7 communities of the three Niger delta states. He added that they have achieved a positive mindset shift to reject the use of violence and agitation, increase community trust and cohesion, increase intra and inter community dialogue, accept ex-militants in communities and accepting the inclusion of women and youths in community decision making processes.

SFCG Country Director maintained that their decision to come up with the 3 core warring states of the Niger Delta was to see if what they desire to achieve would work, so that other state governments can key in to the project, if they finally succeed in getting it right.

Bagu, however, said that the project was not restricted to ex-militants alone, but designed to carry others along. He maintained further that they train security forces on the rules of engagement ana carry them along to the communities for negotiations, adding that such has helped to reduce human right-abuses and called on Nigerian government and its agencies, oil companies and other regional stakeholders to expand on the model set out by the project to ensure stability and development in the Niger Delta, while calling on self volunteered journalists to support the established Radio Station to disseminate information to broader communities.

In his contribution, Mr. Alan Munday, representative of the European Union, funding agency of Tomorrow is a new day project, commended partners for the underground technical development of the project. He expressed gratitude that community ownership, among others were seen in the process.

He noted that the project is for a short time, but strategic, hence the need for the people to take care of infrastructure being put in place. Alan commended the involvement of women in all the processes, adding that women contributes about 50% to their development in any community. He added that their mandate is to leave something tangible behind and need to create an enabling environment for investors to come in. ###

Blaise Elumezie/Mene Gbarabe

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