BOKO HARAM:  Setting Up Truth Commission Will Guarantee Sustainable Peace, Development In Borno  ~ Group Advises 

By Abdulkareem Haruna

The sure pathway to endurable peace and development in post-conflict Borno state is for the government to embed the policy of transitional justice as a mechanism for reconciliation, a consortium of nongovernmental organizations said. 

Led by Basic Rights Watch (BRW),  a syndicate of five NGOs and government agency in Nigeria, at the end of a year-long project on transitional justice, prescribed the need for a truth commission. 

The consortium, membered by ‘We The People, ‘Young Professionals in Policy and Development’ and Nigeria government’s ‘Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution’, have acknowledged with the “steady decline in Boko Haram attacks in North-East Nigeria, (particularly Borno State) the best pathway for sustainability is the “the deployment of a robust Transitional Justice (TJ).

Recognizing TJ as crucial for promoting human rights and justice, peace, and security, good governance and development as enshrined in  The African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, the consortium prescribes the need for the deployment of  “judicial and non-judicial measures to redress legacies of human rights abuses. 

The group said its one-year TJ project has revealed society’s desire “to rebuild social trust, repair a fractured justice system and ensure accountability after a prolonged conflict.”

“TJ has recently received greater attention from academics and policymakers,” said Austin Ekwujuru, the CEO of Basic Rights Watch.

He said the mechanism was tested in Nigeria, “after the transition process from a military regime to a democratic rule, a Truth and Reconciliation Panel was set up called the Oputa panel. 

“In South Africa, after the Apartheid regime, a truth and reconciliation panel was headed by Bishop Desmond Tutu. Other TJ processes include the Gacaca courts in Rwanda, which helped promote truth and justice in their community. In Sierra Leone, the Fambul Tor aimed at reconciliation and forgiveness in societies affected by a long-running civil war. In Liberia, there was the Palaver Hut, which all locally driven initiatives. 

The group said, Imin Nigeria, following the Boko Haram insurgency and the counterinsurgency, there were cases of human rights violations and abuses in the North East, particularly in Borno state, by both state and non-state actors, which requires TJ mechanisms for healing, accountability, reconciliation, and forgiveness. 

“The concept of TJ is, therefore, a necessary step in moving from a divided and painful past to a commonly shared and developed future. The core values of TJ include but are not limited to an acknowledgment of responsibility and the suffering of victims; Showing remorse; asking for forgiveness; paying compensation or making reparation; and reconciliation.


It was based on this background that the consortium recommended dd that the “Borno State government should, as a matter of urgency, set up a truth commission with the responsibility of truth-telling, communal healing, accountability and restorative justice for communities and victims as a result of the insurgency and counterinsurgency in Borno state to document patterns of human rights violations and investigate incidents of misconducts.

“Provide a safe and supportive environment for victims of the Boko Haram insurgency to ventilate grievances of violations they have suffered and gain some satisfaction

“The State House of Assembly is urged to be guided by the African Union (AU) TJ policy for effective implementation of transitional justice in Borno state

“TJ processes should envisage special support measures for women and youth as victims to ensure their physical and psychosocial rehabilitation and social reintegration.

“TJ mechanisms should strive not only to deliver justice for women but also to transform fundamental gender biases in Borno State that hinder women from claiming and enjoying their socio-economic and political rights. Gender-sensitive TJ processes should reveal patterns of gender abuse, improve access to justice for women, inform institutional reform to promote gender justice and create a space for women’s participation in sustainable peacebuilding. 

“TJ processes should adopt measures that protect victims of the conflict from social and cultural stigmatization

“Memorialization is essential for truth and reconciliation. This could include commemorative activities, erection of monuments and symbols, renaming of public spaces or buildings, review of artistic or cultural expressions as well as national symbols and holy days, and revision of history texts and educational curricula.

“As vulnerable members of society, persons with disabilities risk being invisible in transitions. Transitional processes that marginalize these groups of people engender resentment that undermines their legitimacy and perpetuates patterns of discrimination and inequity in social relations

“Without substantive inclusion of IDPs, transitional processes face the risk of failure. The divisions that conflict caused cannot be fully mended, and reconciliation and healing will only be partial without addressing the issues affecting IDPs in conflict and post-conflict situations

“Children, women, and youths are most vulnerable to and affected by conflicts, including as direct targets of violence through killings, acts of mutilation or torture, abductions, recruitment as well as sexual violence. All transitional processes, including peace and justice processes, should take account of the disproportionate impact of violence on children and youth (including deprivation of socio-economic rights such as food, health, and schooling) and make adequate provision for children as victims, irrespective of their roles, in African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.”

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