By Lekan Babawale, Jos
The United Kingdom based funder, Peace Direct has partnered a local Non Governmental Organisation, Centre for Healthcare and Economic for Women and Youth, CHCEEWY, to profer lasting solutions to the Farmers-Herders recurring conflicts in Daffo District of Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State.
In a small grant project titled, “Strategies Preventing Recurrent Violent Conflicts in Daffo, Bokkos LGA of Plateau State, funded by Peace Direct, the project is uniting the district irrespective of tribe, culture, and profession.
The six-month project aimed at supporting state and non-state actors and institutions including Herders and Farmers to address the cycling violence among Farmers and Herders in the district.
The project which has since commenced with integrated meeting with Community Leaders including Farmers and Herders, Security agencies, leadership of Miyetti Allah, Jama’tul Nasril Islam and the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has helped to identify stakeholders relevant to addressing the cycle of violence in the district.
The consultation meeting was followed by advocacy visits to various key stakeholders including community leaders, religious bodies, security agencies, youths and women group’s, and development associations among others.
A 3-Day training on peace building, early warning and early response system was organised for the Youths. They were equally trained on conflict transformation and conflict mapping. After the training, the youths took charge of the project and that led to the organisation of a One-Day Public Town Hall Meeting to identify conflict challenges and map out strategies for reconciliatory dialogue among Farmers and Herders.
The Town Hall Meeting was facilitated by a renown peace practitioner and a Programme Manager with the Plateau Peace Building Agency, Mr Godwin Okoko. The Town Hall Meeting was organised to allow different stakeholders and the communities to explain what they considered as conflict challenges.
At the Town Hall Meeting, Farmers, Herders and community members suggested creation of a safe space for dialogue reconciliation to address conflict identified issues. In attendance at the meeting were Saf Daffo, Da Dauda B Manen, leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Jama’tul Nasril Islam Farmers, Miyetti Allah, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, community police, youths, women, and elders among others.
In his reaction, the Saf Daffo, Da Dauda B Manen noted that the project has helped people to take decision to live together peacefully. He urged both Farmers and Herders to take care of their farms and cattles and desist from engaging children to herd or farm for them.
“The programme will put peace in the heart of the people. Before now, people were one. They lived together; stayed together and grazed together. We have to accept peace and go back to how we used to live. For years, some people have not gone back to their farms. We hope that with this programme, people can now go back to their farms. Herders should take care of their cattles and farmers should also take care of their farms. I wish the programme could continue because the way people are talking here, they want peace. We are grateful to Peace Direct and CHCEEWY.”
A farmer, Da Josiah Burum said, “You have come to save us. Due to the conflict, I have not been farming for three good years. I have a sicked wife and children that I needed to pay their school fees. We want to return to normal life”.
Leader of the Miyetti Allah also noted that the group want peace and would work with all stakeholders to ensure that peace returned to the troubled district saying that everyone is tired of the needless conflicts.
While addressing the media, the Director of the Centre for Healthcare and Economic for Women and Youth, CHCEEWY, Mr Peter Iorapuu appreciated Peace Direct for funding the project stating that the organisation would not rest until peace and sustainable development is achieved in the area and by extension, Plateau State and Nigeria as a whole.
He noted that the next phase would be how to reconcile the community and stakeholders through dialogue.
Iorapuu urged beneficiaries of the project to make good use of the lessons learned by breaking the cycle of violence in the district and live in peace with one eanother.
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