I am Nigerian and trained as a Human Rights Lawyer with the Justice and Peace Commission, in the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode where I offered legal aid services to indigent citizens and prisoners awaiting trial. I am a Solicitor and Barrister of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Practitioner and member of the Nigerian Bar Association.
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I now work as a Conflict Prevention, Mitigation and Response (CPMR) Advisor to the Southern Africa programme at the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) based in Durban. Over twelve years at ACCORD, I have worked closely with community journalists in print and electronic media in collaboration with the Media Institute of Southern Africa in countries hosting elections in the SADC region, and have coordinated the participation of 10 observer teams to the Election Observer Missions in South Africa and Malawi, in collaboration with the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa. I contributed to a Handbook on managing election related conflicts during elections published in collaboration with the SADC Parliamentary Forum, where I serve as a member of its Conflict Management Advisory Group (CMAG). Under the new program focus on conflicts affecting the stability of the region, I recently addressed parliamentarians from Angola, Namibia and Zambia on collaborative processes to manage trans-boundary conflicts in the region relating to shared water resources, land border disputes, forced migration, and HIV/AIDS and the socio-political instability and human security challenges it creates.
For over a decade, I have had opportunities to use my skills in negotiation, mediation, facilitation, and popular decision-making throughout Africa, and have moved on from conflict management to specialise in conflict prevention, democracy and human rights. As the Senior Conflict Prevention and Resolution Trainer with ACCORD, I focused on assisting African women in conflict as a core member of Women Waging Peace Global Network; and have been able to bring gender issues in peacekeeping, and the role of women in peacemaking, peacebuilding and reconstruction to the attention of the international media. I have conducted conflict resolution training for women’s groups throughout Africa, including Burundi, Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Also conflict resolution and mediation training for ministers in charge of women’s affairs in IGAD member states, where participants included senior level Ministers, members of Parliament, government officials, IGAD desk officers, representatives of UN Agencies, the OAU and representatives of local and international NGOs. Transnational peace-building initiatives and conflict prevention I have been involved in include a Youth Development Program with young people from Northern Ireland and South Africa, and the Sudanese Women’s Study Tour to South Africa with women’s organizations from both the north and south of Sudan.