By EZEKIEL DONTINNA
The Plan International Nigeria, has trained young leaders in communities of Plateau State to build inter-communal tolerances and trust that would further strengthen the technical peace building in these communities.
The workshop which was held recently, at silk suite along Rayfield in Jos, the Plateau State capital, where participants were drawn from five communities Mangu, Daffo-Bokkos-Yelwa-Shendam, Jos-Jarawa and Rukuba-Bassa LGA respectively.
Speaking shortly after the workshop, the project coordinator and youth engagement leader with Plan International Nigeria, Bedwom Bogoro Elias, said, for Plan International Nigeria; this is actually a project that resulted as the offshoot of the project that we have in Kaduna State.
“Plateau State has actually been known lately as community of people who had issues of violence and conflicts cutting across religion, ethnic and communal and some cases, herdsmen/farmers conflicts. So, for us, we see this as a major distraction along the path of consolidating on the gains of democracy.
“For governance to actually hold it root in Plateau, we feel that people need to participate in building Plateau State. We focus on youth engagement in peace building and conflicts management and we feel its sits well into the conflicts issues in Plateau State. So, the project seeks to integrate young people to germane processes, community development processes and be able to give them skills to negotiate on the path of peace building” ‘he highlighted.
Elias cleared air on the choice and criteria in selecting the have communities was based on areas who have had conflicts in the recent past where Muslims and Christians hast communal issues and hope that, if more fund are made available for them, they might be thinking of extending to other communities.
Earlier, Mr. Abraham Tonjing, of Plateau Radio Television Corporation PRTVC) who was a participant, described the workshop as educating, but advised them to look at the case of Plateau as purely an attack on their people and should come up with a template that address it once and for all.
On her part, Mildred Bakwo, of the Voice for the Girl-child Foundation, also said, this is one of the most innovative initiatives I have seen over the years and it is not a kind of repetition as it used to be. This is new more so that, it is community driven especially those affected by the conflict when driving for peace building. I can give it a possibility of achieving the project.
Also, Mr. Duke Ogurke, Director of YARAC in Jos, described the workshop as very encouraging and believed that with commitment of communities and stake holders involved in the project, there was possibility that peace will return permanently and called on people to embrace peace for development to strive.