By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
In its quest to completely nip in the bud conflicts before they occur through early warning signals, the Kaduna State Peace Commission (KAPECOM) has concluded plans to deploy a tool in form of an app.
This was disclosed by the Vice Chairperson KAPECOM, Dr. Priscilla Akut while delivering her welcome address at the Capacity Building Workshop On Early Warning & Early Response Organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) In Collaboration With Kaduna State Peace Commission (KAPECOM) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps on November 4, 2020, in Kaduna.
“Further to this, communities will take ownership of whatever initiative the Peace Commission midwives with them.
“The tool we shall soon deploy will also have the capacity for warning signals which will be sent out to people who have subscribed to receiving such about the occurrence of conflicts in locations they may want to travel to within the state.
“The mobile application has a web-based component, an SMS and call-in capability that links the responders to the situation on the ground which is then verified via GPS technology that supplies the coordinates of the reporter.
“Another feature is the capacity to pick up information on reported tensions via social media using certain key words,” she said.
She said the workshop is a precursor to the formal launching of the Conflict Early Warning Early Response System (CEWERS) the Commission has developed with the support of the UNDP.
“The CEWERS will have the active participation of partners such as the NSCDC and other security agencies as responders; civil society and community-based organisations and actors, peace-loving citizens, the media and other relevant stakeholders.
“This workshop is designed to build the capacity of relevant stakeholders in peacemaking, peace-building, conflict mitigation and prevention of conflicts,” she added.
Akut explained that over the years, the Kaduna State Peace Commission (KAPECOM) has organized similar and other capacity building workshops to empower peace workers in undertaking peace works, mediation and negotiation across the state.
“The intention is to develop as many stakeholders as possible to handle issues of mitigation, negotiation and mediation at all levels—state, local government and ward.
“CEWERS is a critical aspect of conflict prevention and management.
“It will avail the tools of conflict prevention to all citizens, who in their desire for peace and development, can draw the attention of responders and emergency service providers to the possibility of breakdown of peace, law and order in their environments in real time.
“Early warning and early response to potential conflicts makes mitigation easier and more effective in limiting conflicts,” she stressed.
Speaking further, she said that the workshop and training programmes such as EWERS are initiatives in line with the mandate establishing the Commission designed to have a peaceful and secure Kaduna State.
“This is because the Commission accords priority on resolving issues that can mutate into violent conflicts.
“It is on this priority that the Commission, in its three years of existence, has facilitated various dialogues and mediation in communities across the state, limiting and preventing the breakout of conflicts.
“We want to thank our partners, especially the UNDP, the Norwegian government and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps for the opportunity to collaborate with them.
“With development partners such as the UNDP, the design and operationalization of the Conflict Early Warning Early Response System (CEWERS) that will assist in achieving this preventive objective has given us a flip for which we are grateful.
“Also, with the support of partners in the security branch, we are hopeful that we shall henceforth have a state that is peaceful and developed,” she outlined.
She said that the success of this work shall be a plus to the work the Commission and its partners are doing in the area of peace building, and complement the work of security agencies, especially in the aspect of conflict prevention.
“In so doing, we have found a way to strengthen our synergy with peace actors working at state, local and international levels.
“We deeply thank the UNDP for this massive support and for seeing the need to support us to have this system, and to the security agents and other partners who shall be on-hand to respond to such warnings for bringing to fruition our idea to have a stable, harmonious society for all citizens of Kaduna State,” she assured.