The Institute of Governance and Social Research (IGSR), Jos continues to work with community members in Plateau Central Senatorial Zone to increase community resilience to violent extremism. The most recent of its efforts is the organization of an Early Warning Seminar themed “Improving Timely Community Response to Violence and Crime through the Youth Peace Ambassador Network”.
The Seminar was organized for 250 Youth Peace Ambassadors and Stakeholders in the Central Senatorial Zone of Plateau State (Kanam, Kanke, Pankshin, Mangu and Bokkos LGAs) under the project titled “The Youth and Peaceful Coexistence in Community: The Plateau Case” Round II sponsored by Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF).
The event, which was the second organized by IGSR in the last 2 years, was designed to improve timely community response to violence and crime in their communities. The Seminar held on the 14th of September, 2021 in Kajola Cooperative Hall, Pankshin LGA for participants from Pankshin, Kanke and Kanam LGAs, and on the 15th of September, 2021 in Youth Centre, Bokkos LGA for participants from Bokkos and Mangu LGAs. In attendance were Youth Peace Ambassadors, Traditional Rulers, Representatives from religious institutions, security agencies, Voluntary Security Organisations, Women Leaders amongst other participants from the five LGAs. Youth Peace Ambassadors are youths who have been trained from each of the 98 wards in Plateau Central Senatorial District. These youths undergo a seven-day intensive value-reorientation, leadership and de-radicalization programme organized by IGSR at the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre.
The seminar was chaired by a retired Police Commissioner Barr. Aromeh Attaboh. In his remark, early warning has no gender, religion or ethnic specifications, as it is the responsibility of every community member to be involved in early warning process. He further went on to state the importance of early warning in communities; According to him, it is the early warning signals that provides information to community members to ask questions and take quick action.
Security experts from security agencies delivered presentations on two main topics: A General Overview of Early Warning and Response: Improving Community Response to Violence and Crime” and “Efficient Information Gathering, Sharing and Reporting Techniques between Community Members and Security Agencies”.
Participants were educated on the importance of developing strategic responses to crises and crimes, anticipating and preventing violent conflicts and developing community-based early warning responses and peacebuilding efforts. In addition, there were discussions on the principals of early warning, the stages and dynamism of conflicts in relation to timely early warning. Furthermore, the participants were educated on intelligence gathering, analysis and management in relation to the current security architecture in the state. It was emphasized that security agencies are not solely responsible for maintaining peace, law and order in the state. Therefore, members of the various communities must perform their roles in ensuring their communities remain peaceful by being observant, security conscious and reporting any unusual movements in their communities to appropriate authorities.
Community stakeholders such as traditional rulers and local government representatives expressed their happiness with the seminar which has increased their knowledge on security and the importance of early warning in their communities. The Traditional Ruler from Bokkos LGA, HRH Monday Adanchin noted that the seminar was timely with the current situation of the country, he added in assuring IGSR to educate his community members about the early warning process. A representative of Plateau State Peace Building Agency said peace is a vital requirement for development and as such community members are advised to be at peace with each other irrespective of their ethnic group or religious belief. He went further to state the importance of community members having a cordial relationship with Security Agencies, as this will help them in reporting incidences with ease.
The Chairman, Youth Peace Ambassadors Network, Central Zone, Mr Samuel Amuna Panan expressed gratitude to IGSR for organizing several trainings for the youths in Plateau Central Zone, including the early warning seminar which help their community in timely response to signs of violence.
In the closing remarks, the Head of Administration IGSR appreciated the resource persons for practical and comprehensive lectures. He encouraged the youth peace ambassadors to step down knowledge acquired during the seminar to their various communities. He also thanked the Security Agencies, Traditional Rulers, Community Leaders and other Stakeholders present. In his final remark, he wished all the participants a safe journey.