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US and Nigeria Cooperate to quell conflict in northern and middle-belt regions

Community-Led Initiatives Yield Promising Results in Tackling Ethno-Sectarian Tensions

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In a concerted effort to tackle the intricate web of ethnic, regional, and sectarian tensions gripping northern and middle-belt Nigeria, the United States and Nigeria have joined forces in a pioneering endeavor.

Over the span of the last half-decade, the United States, via the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has infused $15 million into the Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP) program. This innovative initiative has not only imparted vital conflict resolution skills but has also fostered empowerment among diverse community members, including traditional leaders, women, men, and youth, across six states: Benue, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, and Plateau.

The impact of the CIPP program has been profound, with tangible reductions in violent conflict observed in vulnerable communities. A rigorous randomized control trial, juxtaposing CIPP-intervention areas with neighboring regions devoid of such initiatives, underscores this progress. Despite the pervasive uptick in violence across states like Plateau and Benue, communities benefiting from USAID’s intervention showcased markedly lower rates of violent incidents. Notably, after four years of implementation, the disparity was stark, with only 29 percent of CIPP-treated communities experiencing violent clashes compared to a staggering 55 percent in control zones—a testament to the efficacy of targeted interventions.

Addressing the culmination of these efforts, Melissa A. Jones, USAID Mission Director, underscored the transformative impact of the CIPP program, emphasizing its role in de-escalating conflicts before they spiral out of control. “The CIPP activity has shown that a timely investment in peace can yield remarkable dividends,” remarked Jones, highlighting the pivotal role of conflict mediation skills in fostering harmony across Nigeria’s Middle Belt.

Looking ahead, as USAID charts its closeout strategy, plans are underway to seamlessly transition key community structures established under CIPP to the forthcoming Peace Action for Rapid and Transformative Nigerian Early Response activity. This strategic maneuver aims to ensure the sustained momentum of peace-building endeavors, thereby fortifying the collective commitment to fostering stability and security across the northern and middle-belt regions.

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