Saturday, 17 May 2014

#BringBackOurGirls: Addressing The Threat of Boko Haram
Lantana Abdullahi, SFCG Northern Nigeria Project Manager, Testifies Before U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs
Lantana Abdullahi spoke by video on Thursday from Jos, Nigeria before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the crisis in northern Nigeria.  She spoke about the conditions and circumstances that have led to the current situation, identified key opportunities, and made the following recommendations:
  • Help communities cope with and recover from the crisis by providing trauma healing, psychosocial support, and humanitarian relief – including displaced people, former abductees, and families who have lost loved ones.
  • Adopt a regional approach, working with governments as well as communities living in the areas surrounding Northeastern Nigeria.
  • Prioritize and support a robust, community-focused approach to improving human security and civilian protection in northeastern Nigeria.
  • Work directly with all local Nigerian stakeholders – civil society, religious and community leaders, women, youth, and the media in order to empower people living in these areas.
  • Work with civil society, religious and local leaders, Nigerian authorities, security forces, and the National Human Rights Commission to prevent and monitor human rights abuses that might occur during the security operaations.
  • Consolidate the gains made in peacebuilding throughout Nigeria by continuing to support peace processes in the Niger Delta and the Middle Belt, particularly in the lead up to the 2015 general election.
Lantana Abdullahi is a Nigerian peacebuilder, trainer, mediator, and women’s activist.  Lantana has worked with Search for Common Ground as a Project Manager in northern Nigeria since 2010. Lantana's portfolio at Search includes interfaith violence prevention and community reconciliation programs in Plateau State, as well as working to bring civil society groups together with government and security forces to document and prevent human rights abuses in the north-central and northeast regions.  Search has worked extensively with Christian and Muslim teenage girls to raise their voices as peacebuilders within their communities, increase understanding between different groups, and inspire the next generation of Nigerian leadership. In response to the Chibok abductions, Lantana’s team has been working with Muslim and Christian teenage girls to speak out and take action in favor of peace through a series of popular radio programs.
Search for Common Ground has been in Nigeria for over 10 years working with media, community leaders, civil society, youth, and women to prevent violence in the Niger Delta, the Middle Belt, and the northeast of the country. We also work with Nigerian refugees and host communities in Niger.  Search works extensively with Nigerian youth to help reduce the risk of violence.  To read more about our work in northern Nigeria click here.
View the Senate hearing on C-SPAN here. Lantana's statement begins at approximately 1:13:50 until 1:22:15. You can also read Lantana's full testimony here

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