PARE enjoins Communities to Consolidate, Sustain CIPP intervention Projects in Kogi

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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

PASTORAL Resolve (PARE) a Non-profit, Non-Governmental Organization working on restoration of peace in six Nigerian states under the aegis of Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP) has called on communities in Kogi State to consolidate and sustain the level of peace so far attained.

Mr Israel Edwin Okpe, Senior Programmes Officer of PARE made the call while speaking at the close out ceremony of the CIPP four-year intervention in Kogi State on Saturday in Lokoja.

According to Okpe, the CIPP project through its interventions has been able to address violent conflicts between farmers and herders (pastoralists) by building their capacity for negotiation and advocating for supportive policies from the state government.

He said that the project also offered support and as well, coordinated the activities of various peace structures and register them with relevant Ministries to address community issues effectively towards nipping the conflicts which hitherto, had dominated public discuss.

Okpe who was addressing community leaders from Bakumba, Gadan-Sagari, Adankolo and Lokongoma communities said that the project had addressed farmer-herder conflicts and other forms of violent extremism.

He said that in executing the project, the organisation also conducted activities such as interest-based negotiations and mediations as well as formation of peace committees in four local governments – Dekina, Igalamela-Odolu, Lokoja and Yagba West in Kogi State.

He hinted that the close out ceremonies had been held in the other three Local Government Areas of the state where the CIPP project was executed.

Okpe pointed out that as part of the strategies to address the conflicts, PARE also conducted an activity called the Community Conflict Prevention Forum through which the communities identified drivers of conflicts.

He said that the communities in the course of the project evolved what is known as “Resource Sharing Agreement”, a document to which they are all committed to ensure equity in the allocation if their common resources.

Members of the communities who spoke with our correspondent expressed satisfaction that the Mercy Corps CIPP Project was a success as they affirmed the return of peace to their various communities.

One of them, Hajia Ummi Meimunat Ali from Adankolo community thanked PARE and Mercy Corps for helping to maintain peace and reduce violence in Adankolo community which hitherto, had been riddled with violent crises resulting from abuse of drugs among youths.

Hajia Ummi, a facilitator of women discussion group said before the intervention, the community faced issues with youth involvement in drugs, trafficking, and violence during elections.

Ayuba Ahmadu, a leader in the Lokongoma community, expressed gratitude to PARE and Mercy Corps for the positive impact of the CIPP programme and for being instrumental to the positive change in the community.

He said that before the Programme, the community experienced political crisis, fighting, and drug abuse adding that however, through CIPP’s training and intervention, the community has achieved a significant reduction in these issues, leading to a 100 per cent peace.

Also speaking, Yusuf Idris, Youth Leader, Bakumba Community, said through the training received by members from the CIPP, he and his community leaders had been able to broker peace between pastoralists and farmers in the Felele adjourning communities and restored peaceful coexistence.

“Because of the training, we now sit together and address issues. You see a situation where the Ardo the pastoralists’ leader and the leader of the farmers sit down together to address issues”, he said.

Imam Tahiru Husseini, Fulani Leader from Gadan-Shagari in Lokoja Local Government said CIPP had taken them out on workshops in Plateau, Kaduna and Kano States building their capacities in resolving Herders-Pastoralists conflicts.

Imam Tahiru said they have been able to resolve a lot of crises and avoided violent conflicts in his area in the last four years and implored PARE and Mercy Corps to continue with the project.