By Lekan Babawale, Jos
Peace Direct in partnership with the Centre for Healthcare and Economic for Women and Youth, CHCEEWY, has organised a mediation meeting for herders, farmers and community leaders in Daffo District of Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State with a view to sustain the community dialogue and reconciliation despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the engagement with the herders, farmers and other conflict carriers, reasons for mass atrocities were identified among stakeholders of Daffo District mapped including actors to conflict and conflict dyanamics.
Stakeholders resolved at the mediation and reconciliation meeting that, “the best weapon is to sit and talk”. As a result, the community with technical support from the implementing organisation, Centre for Healthcare and Economic for Women and Youth, CHCEEWY, established a network called “Network of Community Conflict Prevention (NeCCOP)”.
The configuration of the network is a mix of herders, farmers, youths, women group as well as the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Jama’tul Nasril Islam, JNI, and leadership of the Miyetti Allah among others.
NeCCOP’s primary responsibility is to mobilise and organise conflict dialogue and mediation among contending parties.
CHCEEWY in partnership with NeCCOP on Thursday, June 5, 2020, mobilised herders and farmers for a mediation to continue to dialogue to identify common grounds.
The parties disagreed on some issues but equally agreed on many other issues. Positions and interests were negotiated; needs were identified and agreed upon. In the end, both groups smiled, shook hands and testified to the fact that, “Truly, there is no way to Peace, Peace is the way if only we sit down and talk. No one can define you better than your self.”
The herders agreed that they would take every preventive measures to ensure that their cattles does not graze on farms until such farm is harvested. The farmers equally agreed that it would work with the herders especially in the area of grazing.
Another major highlight of the project with Daffo Community is the emergence of Daffo Youth Peace Academy. The NeCCOP and Youth Peace Academy were formed by the community to monitor and report indicators of violence.
The group meets every month to study and learn skills and strategies for peace and development as well as Conflict Mitigation Styles. The leader said, “since conflict is inevitable, Youth Peace Academy is equally inevitable for learning to prevent and transform recurrent violent conflicts using local assets.
At the end of the mediation, the State security and leadership of both parties were appreciative of the Trado-Modern conflict resolution approach used by the organisation.
While speaking with CityMirrorNews, the Director, Centre for Healthcare and Economic for Women and Youth, CHCEEWY, Mr Peter Iorapuu said that “the mediation become necessary to sustain our strategy for preventing Mass Atrocities between Herders and Farmers.”
He noted that the project continued even amidst COVID-19 pandemic because the search for lasting peace can not be stopped.
“Despite the lockdowns, Nigeria and Plateau State is still experiencing violent attacks of communities which has led to killings of many innocent people and destruction of means of livelihoods and homes. Therefore, we must continue to preach peace.”
The mediation is part of the CHCEEWY funded partnership project from Peace Direct and Peace Initiative Network Local Action Fund UK.
The project aimed at proferring lasting solution to the Farmers-Herders recurring conflicts in Daffo District of Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State.
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