By Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
In its efforts to foster peaceful coexistence in hitherto border crisis ridden communities of Anguwan Mai Damisa and Bala Kaze of Rikkos and Jos Jarawa, the Jos Stakeholders Centre for Peace (JSCP) under the auspices of ‘Breaking the Borders’, has commissioned 30 members of the two communities as ambassadors of peace.
The 30 members of the aforementioned communities were taken evenly (15 from each of the communities) to help in preaching peace in the two communities and also send out early warning signals in case there is tension within the areas.
The official public Commissioning of ‘Breaking the Borders Ambassadors’, took place, at Science Day Private Secondary School, Katon Rikkos, along Bauchi ring road, Jos North LGA of Plateau State.
It is a project that is being funded by Tearfund, and implemented by Jos Stakeholders Centre for Peace in collaboration with Global Relief, and Dialogue Reconciliation and Peace (DREP) Centre.
Giving an overview of the Breaking the Borders Project, the Consultant, Pwakim Jacob Choji, said, “It was originally a 3 months project with focus on reaching out to communities that share common boundaries whose relationship has been ruptured by violence.
Choji said, “The implementers focused on communities of Busabuji and Kwanan Shagari (Laranto), and Angwan Mai Damisa and Bala Kaze of Rikkos and Jos Jarawa, all in Jos North LGA.
According to him, “Angwan Mai Damisa and Bala Kaze of Rikkos and Jos Jarawa have experienced most recent and most pronounced ethno-religious violent conflicts leading to the loss of lives and property.
“It’s remarkable to note that, Communities were beginning to dialogue as a result of the effort of one of the implementing partners Jos Stakeholders Centre for Peace with the support of the DPO of Nasarawa Division”, he maintained.
“The main objective of the project us to establish breaking the border ambassador network that promotes actions that foster collaboration across Angwan Mai Damisa and Angwan Bala Kaze of Rikkos and Jos Jarawa, which today we are Commissioning”.
Addressing the gathering, the Director General of Plateau Peace Building Agency, Joseph Lengmang, commended the efforts of the JSCP, saying their step was timely.
Lengmang who was represented by the agency’s Head of Strategic Communications, Kenneth Dakop, added that the steps JSCP was taking is in line with the policy thrust of the agency, which promoting peaceful coexistence amongst the citizenry.
The Director General maintained that, “The Plateau Peace Building Agency is undertaking similar campaigns to communities who had in one way or the other have been ravaged by unrest.
“As a Peace Agency, we are working towards establishing a school between two border communities which had hitherto could not see eye to eye; where pupils and teachers would come from both communities, this is all in an effort to foster peaceful coexistence especially among the upcoming generation”, he stressed.
Earlier in her opening remarks, Team Leader of ‘Breaking the Borders’, Mrs Jennifer Yerima, said it was a thing of joy to achieve the feat.
Yerima added, “For your information, these 30 ambassadors volunteered themselves, and have been part of the peace process in the two communities since we commenced this project.
“It is worthy to note that, this two communities in this hall today, do not see eye to eye, but to the glory of God, this is where we are.
“Honestly, we commend all the community leaders, women and youths from the two communities who have taken time to listen to us and together we have achieved this feat”.
Commissioning the”Breaking the Borders” Ambassadors, DPO of Nasarrawa Gwong, SP Musa Hassan, who represented the Commissioner of Police, Isaac Akinmoyede, challenged the 30 ambassadors to continue to carry on with the gospel of peaceful coexistence in the two communities and beyond.
He promised to always support them whenever the need arise
The Commissioning had in attendance traditional, community and religious leaders, as well as women and youths from both communities, who commended the efforts of the JSCP, and assured to continue to ensure peaceful coexistence in the two communities.
The event was also attended by representatives of various security agencies.