By Angela Atabo

Search for Common Ground ,has rolled out plans to address violence, criminality among others in the Niger Delta region to complement government effort.

The Country Director of the organisation Fatima Abubakar made this known during a news conference on the national launch of the European Union (EU) funded titled: A Community Centered Approach to Transforming Criminality and Violence in the Niger Delta’ Project.

Abubakar said the project would be officially inaugurated by Search for Common Ground and its consortium partners, the Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), Academic Associate Peace Works (AAPW), and Partnership Initiative for the Niger Delta (PIND).

She said the reason was because the Niger Delta region famous for its immense natural resources and rich cultural heritage, has been a theatre of unrest with multiple conflicts linked majorly to socio-economic agitations.

She said that the agitations were a by-product of the lack of inclusive wealth distribution, environmental degradation arising from oil exploration, and the absence of commensurate community focused development.

“This project sets the stage for a significant leap in our collective efforts to respond and foster inclusive community security approaches that will address the root causes of violence and criminality in the Niger Delta.

“We wish to convey our deep understanding of the local context, challenges, and conflict dynamics that characterise communities in the region.

“The efforts as represented in the community centred approach to transforming criminality and violence in Niger Delta Project, adopts a community-led approach.

“This encourages local communities to proffer home-grown solutions to the myriad of conflict drivers in their communities.”

Abubakar said that this would be achieved through inclusive capacity building activities targeting young people, women, community leaders and security actors.

She said project would foster collaboration within communities to address social exclusion, economic challenges, and environmental degradation and encourage dialogue.

She said the project would leverage arts and culture-based approaches to bridge divides and foster social cohesion among communities, both online and offline.

She added that it would support initiatives that utilise creative expressions to promote unity and understanding among others.

She said the 18-month project would be implemented in 33 Local Government Areas and 66 communities in Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers States.

She said that the project advocates a bottom-up, human-centric approach in order to reduce the prevalence of criminal activities in the region.

She said that this is a shift in how stakeholders approach the complex issues of oil bunkering, criminality, and security.

(NAN)

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