In a remarkable display of harmony and unity, the Kunga community, also known as Rigizah, in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State celebrated the International Day of Peace 2023 on Thursday, September 21. Members of the Anaguta, Fulani, and Hausa communities came together to engage in constructive dialogue on common interests and issues aimed at fostering social cohesion and understanding.
This special event was organized by members of the Kunga community under the The Peace Action for Rapid and Transformative Nigerian Early Response (PARTNER) Project, funded by USAID and led by Mercy Corps in collaboration with the West Africa Network for Peace (WANEP) Nigeria. The PARTNER Project is a multi-consortium effort aimed at promoting peace, preventing violence, and building resilience in Nigerian communities.
Comrade Luka Inuwa Agudu, the Youth Leader of the Anaguta Youth Movement (AYM) Rigizah Branch and the PARTNER Project Coordinator for the Kunga/Naraguta Committee, addressed the media during the townhall meeting. He emphasized the importance of discussing ways to achieve sustainable peace and unity in the community. He acknowledged the community’s ongoing recovery from the significant impact of the 2021 Jos crisis and credited the PARTNER Project with contributing to the restoration of relative peace.
Divisional Police Officer DSP Saidu Osephasr, represented by Admin Officer Ahmadu Rogo, stressed the necessity of cooperation and unity for peaceful coexistence within any community. He pledged to collaborate with local vigilantes and stakeholders to address insecurity in the area. He urged community members to report any concerns promptly and encouraged vigilance to identify potential intruders.
Addressing the gathering, His Royal Highness Pozoh Luka Daku Wariya, the District Head of Rigizah District, expressed appreciation for the program’s timely intervention. He also called attention to the pressing issue of youth involvement in drug-related activities and requested urgent police intervention. Additionally, he appealed to the PARTNER Project organizers to ensure that the progress and peace achieved would be sustained beyond the intervention phase.
Annah Luka, the Women Leader of the Anaguta community, emphasized the crucial role played by women in promoting peace and harmony within society. She noted the positive impact of women’s gatherings and interactions on families and the nation as a whole, highlighting the visible improvements in community interaction during the peace program.
Manji Mangrock the Early Warning Early Response Technical Adviser on the PARTNER Project encouraged community members to continue to commit effort and time in fostering peace as they will be beneficiaries in the long run.
Chuwang Hope Taye, the Team Lead for Research Coordination and Partnership at the Plateau Peace Building Agency (PPBA), explained that the PARTNER Project’s objective is to establish community structures, such as the Community Reconciliation Committee (CRC), in conflicting communities. These structures help mediate and negotiate conflicts at the community level before they escalate to criminal cases involving security forces.
“The PPBA will continue to support communities who are desirous of fostering peace and unity through interactions and cultural exchanges that would lead to mutual respect and tolerance. We commend our partner West Africa Network for Peace, WANEP and the Plateau State government for the support and also the Kunga community for taking the initiative to organize the townhall meeting which shows the beging of a lasting and sustainable peace” She added.
The highlight of the program was a display of various cuisines and delicacies from the Anaguta, Fulani, and Hausa communities, officially opened by their representatives, along with the District Head, and other stakeholders, symbolizing peaceful coexistence.
The event saw the participation of various stakeholders, including traditional institutions, religious leaders, the Neighborhood Watch, hunters, the police, and other community members, demonstrating a collective commitment to building a harmonious and peaceful community.