Boko Haram crisis resolution will be long: Michael Doherty (BBC Radio Ulster)

Speaking on the BBC Radio Ulster news programme, Good Morning Ulster, FCT Derry-Londonderry chairperson Michael Doherty discussed the current girl kidnapping crisis in Nigeria, by Boko Haram.

Mr Doherty explained that Boko Haram has a literal translation of the prohibition of Western education, and how its leader has a belief that the captured girls are spoils of war, with whom he can have sex.

Doherty believes that the girls have been split up into smaller groups, making a recovery process more difficult.

He quoted fellow Forum member from Kaduna, Pastor James Wuye, who said that once someone is indoctrinated with the values of hate, it takes time to decommission that mindset. Consequently, the larger issue of the hold that Boko Haram has in parts of Nigeria will take much longer than people presume:

FCT 2013 Northern Ireland interviews (BBC Radio Ulster)

Karen Patterson (BBC Radio Ulster) interviews Tim Attwood (FCT Belfast) and Michael Doherty (FCT Derry-Londonderry) about their forthcoming travel to Kaduna, Nigeria, for the annual conference of the Forum for Cities in Transition:

Mark Patterson (BBC Radio Foyle) interviews Michael Doherty separately:

Kaduna to host Cities in Transition conference (WorldStage News)

Map Kaduna State WorldStage News

Kaduna to host Cities in Transition conference
by Innocent Senyo
23 September 2013

WorldStage News: Kaduna State (Nigeria) is to host the fifth edition of the global conference of the Cities in Transition scheduled for between November 4 to 8, the Chief of Staff to the Governor and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Yahaya Aminu has said.

Aminu, while addressing a news conference along with the Director of the Forum of Cities in Transition, Prof. Padraig O’Malley, said that about 92 international delegates and 12 African countries that has passed through one crisis or the other are expected to attend and share experiences at the conference.

According to him, delegates are expected to attend the conference from Iraq, Isreal, Palestine, Albania, Bosnia and Harzegovina, Cyprus, Ireland, South Africa, Liberia, South Sudan, Ethipia, Rwanda among others.

He said that participants will also be expected from Nigerian cities with history of crisis such as Warri, Ife/Modakeke, Kano, Shagamu, Nasarawa, Bauchi, Plateau etc.

Also speaking, Prof. O’Malley who is the convener of the conference explained that the Forum for Cities in Transition was formed to create a platform for reconciliation between communities that have suffered from conflict and are divided along ethnic and religious lines and create dynamics that serve as catalyst for change.

He said further that the Cities in Transition conferences are held yearly in cities that are divided by conflict, adding that participants who are drawn from conflict stricken areas of the world come together to share experiences and mutual similarities before making commitments and resolutions to resolve the crisis and bridge the divides.

He said “the Forum for Cities in Transition (FCT) is set out to create a platform for reconciliation between existing conflict inflicted societies and communities. This is based on the fact that cities in transitions in countries divided by conflict are in better position tom help other cities in similar situation as each city is at a different stage of transition.

“Apart from Kaduna, we have 12 cities across 12 continents, 14 cities across Africa, six cities in Nigeria and seven African countries involved. They have common problems ranging from policing, garbage collection, housing, road construction, the provision of health and welfare services to identifying flash points and interfaces that trigger violence”.


Northern Ireland delegation visits war-torn Iraqi city for conflict talk (Belfast Telegraph)

Northern Ireland delegation visits war-torn Iraqi city for conflict talk
By Brendan McDaid (Belfast Telegraph)
18 October 2012

A delegation from Belfast and Londonderry has made a ground-breaking trip to the war-torn Iraqi city of Kirkuk to speak about experiences in post-conflict Northern Ireland.

The visit was undertaken amid tight security and secrecy.

It was the first time an international conference has been staged in Kirkuk, recognised as one of the most dangerous places in the world.

As a result, negotiations are now taking place to host officers from the Iraqi police to take part in the World Police & Fire Games in Belfast in 2013.

Foyle PSNI commander Jon Burrows, Chief Inspector Chris Yates, SDLP councillor Gerard Diver and Michael Doherty from the Peace and Reconciliation Group, made up the Derry delegation.

Four councillors from Belfast City Council also took part.

A bomb went off killing two police officers and a civilian close to where the conference was taking place. The event was organised by the international Forum for Cities in Transition, but some delegates from the 12 cities involved pulled out amid security fears, while sections of the Iraqi government opposed the event.

Mr Diver said there was a real sense of deja vu in a city where checkpoints, military patrols and explosions are an everyday reality for the people.

He said: “The atmosphere was tense. We had to do a journey from where we were staying to a high-risk area, a journey of about an hour, and we had so many soldiers and police to protect us that you couldn’t help feeling a bit anxious about it.

“That kind of tension is palpable. You can feel it in the air and the security presence would remind you of here years ago, although the problems there in terms of scale and of building trust is mindblowing.

“But it was a very worthwhile experience,” he said.

“The people there were so appreciative of the fact we went there.”