post / 18 November 2022

PAST EVENT: IFIT’s Middle Belt Brain Trust organises two-day convening with traditional rulers from Benue State

On 16-17 November 2022, the Benue Working Group of IFIT’s Middle Belt Brain Trust (MBBT) conducted a two-day convening of ‘first and second class’ traditional rulers from Benue State. The aim of the convening was to validate the main findings of the MBBT’s comprehensive research report, Ending Violence in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, and to secure the traditional rulers’ feedback on a proposed grievance management system reform plan. 

“As custodians of the customs and culture of the people, we agree with the key findings from the report as the main drivers of conflicts in our communities,” the rulers concluded before  listing land administration, youth and rural development, and chiefdoms/traditional administrations as issues of priority in their communities. They also stressed the importance of focusing on cross-border and interrelated conflicts with Nasarawa and Taraba State, explaining that polarisation between communities is increasing in Benue due to divisive narratives and songs pushed forwards by politicians to serve their agendas.

The traditional rulers also agreed on the immediate need for capacity-building in alternative dispute resolution. In addition, they advocated for a constitutionalised role for traditional rulers in community grievance management processes.