A Non – Governmental Organisation (NGO), Gender Advocacy for Justice Initiative ( GAJI) with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Benue State Government and the Government of Japan has commenced the implementation of a project titled “Support for Social Stability and Security” of the conflict -affected communities in North East and Middle Belt of Nigeria.
Addressing Gatekeepers and Stakeholders during a sensitization and advocacy visit in Gbajimba, the headquarters of Guma Local Government Area of Benue state, the Executive Director Of GAJI, Ms. Iveren Sambe, explained that with the support from the above bodies, GAJI seeks to embrace and strengthen mechanisms for enhancing social cohesion and community security.
According to her, it is also targeted towards early recovery and peace building of the conflicts affected communities in Benue State.
She further explained that the project is designed to facilitate improvement of social stability, security and mitigate the negative social effects of the conflicts in Agatu, Buruku, Guma and Kwande Local Government Areas through enhanced social cohesion and community security.
“The project has a research, evaluation and an intervention component. The research component is designed to assess the impact of crisis on conflict affected communities using analysis of risk and resilience through the administration of baseline and end line surveys and design of responses for enhancing community cohesion and security in the communities”.
The intervention component, according to her, is to support the creation of social cohesion by way of conducting peace dialogues and strengthening existing and creating new peace committees where non exists, as well as trainings on community security, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) prevention, Psychological First Aid (PFA), Trauma Sensitive Healing (TSH) and counselling and healing sessions for post – traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with dignity kits shared to participants at the end of the trainings.
Responding, the Chairman of Guma Local Government Council, Mr. Caleb Aba, who led members of his councils and traditional rulers to the occasion, described the project as a welcome development that will ensure peaceful coexistence, sustainable peace and revive destroyed livelihoods.
One of the traditional rulers, the Mue- Ter- Ihyarev, Chief Agustine Shonyi, commended GAJI, UNDP, Government of Japan and Benue State for their commitment to ensuring that people of the affected communities live peacefully, dignified and a secured lives.
The sensitization and advocacy took place across communities in the four local government areas attended by traditional rulers, religious leaders, Faith Based Organizations, military, paramilitary personnel, leadership of Miyetti Allah in Benue State, Council Chairmen and their Councilors, Women and Youth Leaders, Community Leaders, Leaders of Farmers Associations.
Others are representatives of Internally displaced Persons in the communities, Representatives of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), People with Disabilities, Community Volunteer Guards, Market women leaders/trade unions, Motorcycle hirers associations, Community Based Organizations, Muslim Leaders and International Organizations (Red Cross), DSS and Chairman of Ex Service Men also in attendance.
The project which is centered on peace building, training of victims of conflicts and empowering them to live normal life if achieved will see to the return of over 1.5 IDPs to their ancestral homes in the state.