Why We Intervene PeaceBuilding In Plateau, Kaduna – Plan Country Director

Why We Intervene PeaceBuilding In Plateau, Kaduna –  Plan Country Director

By Mariam Sanni, Abuja

The Country Director, Plan International Nigeria, Charles Usie has revealed why the international development and humanitarian and non-profit making organisation intervene in peacebuilding amongst youths, girls, and women in Plateau band Kaduna state.

He said historically, Plateau is the cross or the center point of northern Nigeria or middle belt over the years, these two states have been cosmopolitan states that have accommodated people from all parts of Nigeria and have lived peacefully.

The Country Director revealed this during the Middle Belt Youth Peaceful Building Academy Project (MBYPA) closed-out event, in Abuja, yesterday.

According to Charles, in recent years, particularly in the last decade, these two states have suffered some of the worst forms of communal, anti religious violence, in the last two decades. And that’s the cause for concern.

The stability of these two states is the stability of the entire middle belt region and it is on this basis that the Plan decided to intervene in these two states because of our peacebuilding initiative in Nigeria, particularly looking at how it affects young girls and women.

He explained that the project is about building an academy or setting up an academy for young people to imbibe peacebuilding skills, capacity, knowledge, and attitude and they should be able to replicate it within their peer groups across plateau and Kaduna states. 

“We felt that we should go to where the need is greatest in these two states. If Plateau State and Kaduna states are successful in creating a peaceful atmosphere, the ripple effect goes across two states and it would cut across places like FCT, Kogi, Nasarawa, and the Taraba States.

“If the entire middle belt is safe, then we know that to a large extent we are going to enjoy a large form of peace and stability as far as peacebuilding discuss and in most parts of Nigeria.

“When we set out on our intervention plan, we were also careful that we do not merely repeat what others have done or transplants from other places ideas that the might have worked elsewhere but may not necessarily fit Into our context.

“We were certain that young people need to be paid more attention, not just as victims, but also active players in the conflict situation, and we are also had to decide on how we do this. We were determined not to pretend no one has targeted the youths before.

“Youth have been manipulated in the past, mobilized as active actors in the past violent, conflict, maimed, killed made to bear brunt of the aftereffects of such violent conflict, but one thing is clear, the history of conflict does not belong to them and most cases they do not even know them.

Speaking on the uniqueness of the projects, he said, the uniqueness of our project is that we are targeting young people and we’re not just targeting young people for the sake of it. But we are making them the active drivers of the initiators of the peacebuilding initiative.

“These are people based in these communities, making a living in these communities, and at the same time in their everyday lifestyle, driving peace-building initiatives. I think that is what makes Plan unique and that is what makes this particular project outstanding.

“ I will rate Plan intervention in plateau and Kadena state as very high because one of the timeliness of the project, secondly because of the target. I noted that many justice organizations have done peacebuilding projects on the plateau and in Kaduna state”, he said.

Also, the Plateau State House of Assembly member, Timothy Duntu ,said that Plan Academy has done credibly well in trying to train young people that will address issues of conflicts or to build peace among communities in Plateau State and Kaduna state, together with the peacebuilding agencies that we have in this vital state.

He noted that the effort has helped in bringing the communities together and giving people awareness for the need for us to live together and live in peace. We are happy that for the past two years of this training, members that have been trained have been working so hard in all these communities

“We wish to have more organizations like Plan who will come up with initiatives like this to touch other communities. That is yet to be touched on by the government to the peacebuilding agencies. We pray and wish that they will also take off from this initiative and continue with this Plan to ensure that we have peace in all our communities.

On his part, the Executive Director of Aid Foundation, Emmanuel Bonet commended Plan International adding that their project had a very good impact on the communities.

He said that unlike before we the toe communities hear one thing happening in Lagos or Kano, communities in Kaduna will just pick it up and you begin to see a lot of burning and all that, but in recent years, that has changed, even when you hear one community has gone up in violent conflict, that particular communities do not respond because of the different skills and training they have acquired.

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Charles UsiePlan International Nigeria