The Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Mr. Auwal Ibrahim Musa, said the organisation has initiated Early Warning Early Response mechanisms, otherwise known as EWER, which at community levels aim as a proactive measure to conflict prevention across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
Musa, who spoke in Ikeja, Lagos, during a one-day training for journalists on early warning early response (EWER) reportage, supported by Open Society Foundation (OSF) on the 12th of May, 2023, said that the system will enhance the protection of civilians in Nigeria, adding that for it to become a successful model, some observers and journalists were vital and will be part of the growing network in the EWER project.
Accordingly, CISLAC has trained observers to monitor indicators of conflict in different communities and to quickly flag them.
Journalists were also expected to investigate these red flags and come out with interpretative reports, highlighting dangers and consequences, aimed at compelling the necessary authorities to take action.
Musa said: “EWER systems are built to allow for trained community observers to carefully observe their environment and report indicators of conflict to community response networks who in turn are expected to apply professionalism in processing information provided and respond accordingly with an aim to de-escalate potential crises. Therefore, the information provided to the public must remain objective and devoid of sensations that are potential triggers to conflict or violence.”
He further explained: “Under this project, CISLAC will be complementing the role of internal security agencies by building well-informed and vibrant Early Warning Community Observers in Lagos State, which will be representing the South-West, to enhance collaboration, build trust and ownership with state security institutions, community leaders and community security structures, using the EWER system as a vehicle, to prevent threats of conflict from escalating.”
He maintained that the situation calls for more collaboration, communication, coordination, and collective support for early warning, conflict prediction, and early response mechanisms amongst communities and security operatives, which were central in conflict prevention.
The ED also noted: “Howbeit, an EWER system with the buy-in of communities and security operatives but without the commitments of journalists to conflict-sensitive reportage, cannot be as effective as it ought to be.
“This is because journalists are the mouthpiece of the civilian populace and where information provided to the public is conflict-prone, regardless of how dedicated communities and security operatives are towards early warning and early response, the triggers will always be there to ignite conflict.
“It is on this backdrop that we acknowledge the essential role of the media as major stakeholders in conflict prevention, through conflict-sensitive reporting.”
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