30th Twitter Chat with Dr Chris Kwaja on Responding to Covid19 In the Context of Conflict and Social Fragility

Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), held its 30th Twitter chat in the 21st of July 2020. The guest was Dr. Chris Kwaja Senior Lecturer and Researcher at Centre for Peace and Security Studies, Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, Adamawa State. He discussed on The Responding to COVID 19 in the context of conflict and social fragility.

He started by talking about the entrenched trust deficit between citizens and states which he said it was easy for communities to accept all manner of conspiracy theories regarding COVID19, especially through religious and traditional leaders. According to him, lockdown is one of the major challenges that posed to conflict management and Civil Society Activities were also hampered due to restrictions of movement. He went further to discuss about transparency and accountability in the way palliatives were distributed which has deepened trust deficit between government and its citizen. Kwaja said the Pandemic has also unraveled some underlying factors such as poverty, sexual and gender base violence and inequality which has dislocated people from their sources of livelihoods. He urge peace building actors to adapt new ways of community engagement in respond to the physical distancing guideline.

He emphasized on the need for conflict to design conflict programming and gender intervention which takes into consideration community level specifications. The use of excessive force by security agencies in enforcing lockdown also show conflict dynamics and how it affects the relationship between security agencies and citizens.


So far, the achievement is minimal in the area of community level intervention that are specific to conflict which is due to the pandemic, restriction of movement and fear of transmission has hindered the achievements. He further said that there is need to adopt a holistic approach in designing intervention and putting human aspects in perspective.


In conclusion, he said community outreach is an important tool for engendering community action and for donors to adopt flexible funding approaching ways that will enable local peace builders to adapt to new realities such as the Pandemic.






  1. Good afternoon everyone & welcome to another episode of @ICTAdvocates’s twitter chat with Dr. @c_kwaja, Researcher & Senior Lecturer, Centre for Peace & Security Studies, MAUTECH, Yola who will be speaking Responding to Covid19 in the Context of Conflict & Social Fragility @YZYau
  2. Welcome on board Dr. @c_kwaja! We look forward to tapping from your wealth of experience.
  3. The pandemic also exacerbated a trust deficit that has been on ground between citizens and the Nigerian state.
  4. Today in @ICTAdvocates’s Series of Twitter Chat on Covid19 Dr. @c_kwaja,Senior Lecturer & Researcher, Centre for Peace & Security Studies,MAUTECH, Yola, Adamawa will discuss on Responding to COVID19 in the Context of Conflict & Social Fragility. Responding to COVID-19 in the context of conflict and fragility…what opportunities exist? In the context of conflict end fragility in a Nigeria, COVID – 19 emerged amidst an already strained relations among & between communities faced with conflicts and violence linked to insurgency, farmer / herder tensions and organized crimes.
  5. @c_kwaja what are the critical principles that can help guide country-level response efforts in those conflict challenging settings? Total readiness for emergency represents the first principles. We because we did not plan, we were all caught unaware and unprepared.
  6. Due to an already entrenched trust deficit between citizens and state, it was easy for communities to accept all manner of conspiracy theories regarding the pandemic. Particular from religious leaders and the media.
  7. Are there challenges that response to #COVID19 posed to conflict mitigation and social fragility sir? The lockdown was one major challenge that Covid-19 posed to conflict management. The activities of civil society actors were also hampered due to restriction in movements.
  8. Sir, in most States, COVID19 palliatives are given to party-men instead of persons affected by the pandemic… Can we rightly say, response to COVID19 has further expose structural violence in Nigeria? The lack of transparency and accountability that defined the way and manner the covid-19 palliatives were distributed further deepened the trust deficit between citizens and the Nigerian state.
  9. Peacebuilding actors had to adapt to a new normal of community engagement in ways that responded to the new reality of keeping social distancing while building peace.
  10. From a conflict sensitivity perspective, what are the concerns about COVID-19 interventions in conflict-affected contexts and the solutions to the aforementioned issues?
  11. Covid -19 also exacerbated other underlying stressors such as poverty and inequality due to the lockdown that further dislocated people from their sources of livelihoods.
  12. Violent conflict often exacerbates the spread of infectious diseases, as seen in the recent resurgence of polio in Syria, cholera outbreaks in the conflict zones in Yemen?  How can you explain this in relations to Covid-19 and Nigeria?
  13. The covid-19 also witnessed a drastic rise in cases of sexual and gender based violence became key source of tensions within families and communities.
  14. Despite the fragility that defines the capacity of state institutions to respond to covid-19, communities there were real stories of coordinated action by communities, leveraging on their social networks and capitals.
  15. Across communities in Nigeria, social distancing was a new normal with huge implications for person to person interactions, which was a major agency for community harmony.
  16. With the current pandemic and the guidelines being enforced, the success of existing community-based social cohesion programmes may be greatly threatened. How can we achieve this in conflict areas? Conflict programming and interventions that takes into consideration the community level specificities should be designed. Social cohesion is threatened when the communities are not involved in the design of interventions that affects them.
  17. @c_kwaja coronavirus and terrorism are both disastrous security threats. How can we manage the two professionally as a nation? Terrorism and covid -19 are two threats that requires different handling or response approaches – both kinetic and non-kinetic.
  18. The use of excessive force by security agents in enforcing the lockdown also exacerbated conflict dynamics, particularly as it affects relations between citizens and security agencies. Cases of torture, deaths and other rights violations.
  19. So far, not much has been achieved in the area of community level interventions that are specific to conflict. This is due to the pandemic, restrictions on movements and fear of transmissions.
  20. Sir @c_kwaja, based on available figures, can we say Nigerian government is doing enough in responding to #COVID19 especially in vulnerable regions? In assessing effectiveness and impact of response, contexts becomes important. Hence, the need to adopt a holistic approach to designing interventions, in ways that capture all aspects of human life.
  21. @c_kwaja how will COVID-19 pandemic affect the teeming population of youths in the North east/conflict areas? Covid-19 came with huge shock for the youths, under an environment of already shrinking opportunity / space for social mobility. It further heightened this tension.
  22. Monies meant for developed were channeled towards the fight against covid-29, which meant that developed related interventions were stalled. Here the youths are the worst hit since they constitute the productive age of the country.
  23. Going forward, it is evident that community outreach programming is an important tool for engendering community action. The use of key mediums such as town criers and community radios are key.
  24. for donors, there is a need to design and adopt a flexible funding approach in ways that will allow local peacebuilders redirect adapt to new realities such as the Covud-19.
  25. Community radio now constitute key areas that should be explored and investments made by both state and non-state actors. This is one sure way of keeping the communities informed in order to checkmate fake news and mid-information.
  26. Here we come to the end of today’s twitter chat, on behalf of @ICTAdvocates’s E.D, @YZYau I will like to use this opportunity to thank u for being with us at this hour to discuss & enlighten us on this important topic. Have a wonderful evening, sir @c_kwaja @macfound @IIEglobal
  27. Thank you Sir @c_kwaja for sharing your time just to be with us. We found this session very educative and we are indeed grateful for the gesture.


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