From Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
As the general elections draws closer, the Jos Stakeholders Centre for Peace (JSCP), a platform created and supported by Search for Common Ground (SFCG) has sensitise about 150 youths from Jos not LGA of Plateau State towards preventing violence before, during and after the polls.
The Town hall meeting tagged: Youth Town hall meeting on the Prevention of Violence during the 2019 Elections, which was held at the Jos North LGC Secretariat, targeted participants from eleven communities in the aforementioned Local Government Area of the State which has the tendency to ignite unrest.
Speaking on the topic: “The Dynamics of Hate Speech in Understanding Democracy and Interfaith Cooperation “, a Facilitator, Prince Charles Dickson, reminded the youths that the upcoming elections is not about religion, but they should look at it from the perspective of the social amenities lacking in their various communities.
Dickson also told the youths that “dangerous and hate speeches” are usually spread by their own friends.
“All the time politicians will bring you out for their selfish interests.
“The political class has a way of bringing you to fight each other, and after the elections they abandoned you.
“The rich man or his child doesn’t die during elections, is that of the poor man who dies.
According to the Facilitator, most politicians are neither Christians nor Muslim, they just hide under religion because they are looking for power.
He advised the youths not to allow any politician use religion to come between them.
“Have you ever seen Buhari or Atiku’s son or daughter in the campaigns, please don’t allow anybody bring disharmony amongst you; just go and vote for the candidate of your choice, don’t fight because of any candidate”, he admonished them.
The Consultant of the SFCG’s Collaborative for Violence Prevention, Pwakim Jacob Choji, said, “Under this project a network has been formed known as Jos Stakeholders Centre for Peace which has stakeholders from the academia, government, civil society, business community, religious leaders among others, the essence of the platform is to see how we can have different perspective to addressing key drivers of violence in Jos.
Choji said, “A research was conducted by the Jos Stakeholders Centre for Peace as it was discovered that hate speeches were very predominant during electioneering period.
“Because this is electioneering period, the stakeholders felt there was a need to organise a town hall meeting so that the voices of those who may not ordinary have been heard in their communities, especially what we call the hard to reach youths, we have given them opportunity to express themselves and also educated them on the dangers of their being involve in violence.
“Believing that if overtime they have had low esteem, because they have not been heard, this time around they have been heard and have been mandated to go and be peace ambassadors in their communities and we will see how we can follow-up the conversation”, he stressed.