CDD debunks media report on terror cells in Katsina

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By Faith Awa Maji, Katsina

The Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD has disassociated itself from a media report, tittled “UN report reveals 24 terror cells in Katsina, names leaders”.

CDD in a statement issued to newsmen in Katsina State said the publication followed its recent training for journalists in the State where it sought to enhance the capacity of journalists in advocating for transitional justice as a means of moving away from the kinetic approach to one of reconciliation, resolution, and peace building

According to the statement “in collaboration with the UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Mercy Corps, CDD carried out research between September and October 2023 on transitional justice in Katsina State. This is part of a larger project on Community perception assessment implementation strategy on the Conflict Mitigation and Community Reconciliation in the Northwest. The study was completed and its findings were duly validated at various programmes in Katsina State.

“The content of this validated research is not reflected in the recent report published on January 24, 2024, by The SUN newspaper. Also, the headline of The Sun publication was used out of context and there was nowhere such a tantalizing statement appeared in CDD’s 175-page draft report.

“Therefore, the Centre for Democracy and Development West Africa (CDD) unequivocally and strongly disassociates itself from the aforementioned newspaper article and clarifies that the statements therein do not reflect the views of CDD or the objectives of the journalists’ training in Katsina which the SUN correspondent seems to be referencing.

“Since the initiation of the Conflict Mitigation and Community Reconciliation project in Katsina State in March 2023, CDD has undertaken various activities, including organising three training sessions for 20 journalists. These sessions aimed to empower journalists in promoting peace and social cohesion within the State. Additionally, an overview of the Community Perception Assessment Study, including key findings and recommendations were presented during the training session. In fact, prior to this training, the report of the study was presented and validated with the active involvement of community leaders and State actors.

“The journalists’ training held in Katsina was hinged on the instrumentality of journalism to carry the message to various communities through various channels. It is important to note that the issues mentioned in the report were not part of the research carried out by CDD and its partners. The journalist training made reference to the reported map (from another 2016 research) solely to emphasise the significance of embracing transitional justice and social cohesion. It could therefore not be attributed to CDD nor to CDD collaborators.

“The content of the report by The SUN should, therefore, be understood as the opinion of the publisher and does not accurately represent the position of CDD and its partners involved in the research, training initiatives, and programmes.

“Nonetheless we express our gratitude to the media outlets that have consistently championed and amplified our research initiatives and strategic endeavors through their coverage. We extend an open invitation to reporters to engage with us at their convenience for accurate coverage of our work as we are prompt to provide factual information directly preempting any potential misrepresentations in future reporting.”