Residents of Plateau State have been called upon to ensure they monitor early warning signs in their various communities to mitigate against violent conflicts which could be triggered if not reported in time to appropriate authorities.
The call was made by the Acting Executive Director, Community Action for Popular Participation, Mr. Nelson Ananze, during a training on Early Warning and Early Response for Jenta Adamu, Kabong, Anguwan Rukuba and Congo-Russia communities all in Jos North LGA of the state.
The training which was targeted at community, women, youth and religious leaders, and also vigilante security operatives in the aforementioned communities, was organized in partnership with Search for Common Ground, under supervision of the European Union.
Ananze said, “The overall objective of the training is to give skills to the community members on how to report early warning signs of conflicts in their communities.
“In the course of implementing the project, we found out that a lot of things happened in the communities but they are not been reported, and sometimes if they are allowed, they escalate and lead to violent conflicts.
“What we are trying to do is to build a culture of reporting incidences or early warning signs in our communities no matter how small; so that there will be quick response from relevant government agencies, most especially the security agencies.
“Sometimes reporting such incidences becomes a problem for community members, so in the training we emphasize on just for them to say the exact location of the incident, time, and if possible the parties involve.
“So that people who are coming to intervene will prepare well, and know how to response to the issue.
Speaking further, Ananze said, they have also trained the aforementioned communities in,
“Locally Led Conflict Response Process, where from time to time, we organize a forum to dialogue or to build trust and confidence of community members on peace building, with more emphasis on peace, tolerance and reconciliation.
“So that if there are other emerging issues of conflict, you will come out, so that you will be able to deal with them immediately.
“Its a forum that we organize from time to time to feel the pulse of the communities and know exactly what is happening.
“If there is peace you continue to urge them to keep the peace and protect it, but if there are issues that need intervention, then we try to find ways of intervening and resolving them.
According to the Program Manager, the first Phase of the “Plateau Will Arise” project was aim at building the architecture of peace in Plateau State.
“At that time we laid the foundation, mostly it was intensive trainings during the first phase, and then some local led conflict processes, where we sit with community members either to dialogue, mediation among others.
“But at the end of the first phase of the project, some of these things were still ongoing, they were not concluded, so the Phase 2 of ‘Plateau Will Arise’ came in to consolidate on the peace architecture that we started in the first phase.
Ananze maintained that at the end of phase two which ended last December, they demanded for a no cost extension of six months, which was gracefully given by the European Union, who are the donors, hence the need to continue with the project.
Speaking on behalf of the communities, a Youth Chairman from Jenta Adamu community, Mr. Ogak Tukur, commended the efforts of the organisers, saying their efforts have helped in mitigating conflicts in their various communities.
Tukur said, “We have been able to report some issues to the appropriate authorities, which if not because of our early warning response could have become a problem in the communities.
“We hope that similar trainings would be extended to other communities who have not benefited”, he stressed.