By Bashir Bello, KANO
Worried by the pockets of violence and conflicts in the country, a Non-Governmental Organization is known as, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action, PRAWA has advocated for restorative justice and an alternative to violence approach to tackle and surmount the headlong menace in the country.
The Executive Director, PRAWA, Dr Uju Agomoh stated this while training youth volunteers from various communities on alternatives to violence and also security personnel from various security formations on restorative justice respectively in Kano.
Dr Agomoh decried that there are pockets of violence across the country hence the need for the approach in order to manage the situation before it escalates or degenerates.
“All around us, there is a lot of violence going on but collectively we can put a stop to it. There is always a nonviolence part to every situation.
“So the message is simple by saying no to violence. This is a language that each and every one of us has to say and continually repeats.
“So we are trying to encourage this youth to go back to their various communities to be ambassadors of alternative to violence and change the narrative by enlightening their peer groups to say no to violence. They should discourage them from violence and where conflict is brewing up.
“Let me also seize this opportunity to call for all hands (all agents of socialization such as parents, schools, media, religious leaders among others) to be on deck. All should begin to join hands to say no to violence and encourage people to take the nonviolence path.
“Meanwhile, Restorative justice on the other hand is a way of bringing back our traditional criminal justice system that recognizes the place of community, offender and victim. To that end, we would all work together to ensure that once you commit an offence, it would be reconciled and the issue of re-offending will be reduced.
“Remember, everybody who commits offence even if they spends time in custody, one day they would go back to the community, therefore there is a need for us to heal the wound of that broken relationship. Sometimes just saying I am sorry makes a whole difference. So restorative justice is the thing that would come and hopefully help us to improve the quality of justice we are dispensing.
“The Nigerian Correctional Service Act of 2019 provided a very comprehensive way of introducing restorative justice. It says that it can happen before the police stage, court stage or even after the person has been released from custody. That in every situation where there is the issue of conflict or crime. There is a need for the victim to understand why did it happened to me and the offender to take full responsibility for what they have done,” Dr. Agomoh said.
Similarly, the Kano State Commander of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Isa Likita throw his weight behind the restorative justice approach citing instances with Rwanda where the restorative justice approach was applied and peace has since returned to the country.
“No war is won on the battlefield. It is always won on the table and that is dispute resolution which is also a form of alternative to violence. We, however, encourage the youths that are being trained here to adopt all the principles and approaches they were been taught so that they can input the same to their various communities,” Likita said.
Earlier, the Kano State Deputy Commissioner of Police (Administration), DCP Abubakar Zubairu accused desperate politicians of using the youths to foment trouble while appealing to the youths not to succumb to pressure or pranks of such politicians whose interest is self-centred.
He urged the youths to go back to their various communities to sensitize their peers to shun such desperate politicians and be good ambassadors of alternative to violence.
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