The Mercy Corps organisation has engaged selected communities of Plateau State to a 2-day training on ‘Community Initiatives to Promote Peace’, CIPP, aimed at mitigating conflicts in the state.
The training which ended on Tuesday with support from USAID had the Fulani herders and farmers reechoing their commitments to work for lasting peaceful coexistence in their various communities.
A farmer from Shanong Village of Riyom LGA, Vogan David, said the programme was educative and timely, adding that it made them redouble their efforts towards peaceful coexistence.
“It is very timely. The program is very educative and very enlightening that if it should continue, the conflict between farmers and herders will soon be a thing of the past.
“We were trained on how to intervene without bias, the Fulanis and Beroms should be having meetings jointly. If that happens we will definitely live in peace,” he said.
Yaqub Ibrahim, a Fulani herder from Mahanga in Barikin Ladi LGA, said the training gave them another opportunity to meet and advance the cause of peace.
“What I have seen here is a kind of thing that will progress peace within communities living together, especially farmer and herders who live in the villages afflicted with insecurity,” he said.
In his remarks, the Mercy Corps deputy chief of party, Sani Maigoro, said “the two key uniqueness of the training was to see how communities can mediate and negotiate in a manner that they do no harm to their relationship.
“We want them to effectively communicate in a way that their interest will be clearly articulated and communicated to each other, so that farmers and herders can better understand what the interests of each other are, and how they can work together to address it.”
Mr Maigoro said people only hear about the conflict that escalated into violence, “but people don’t get to hear the efforts that community people are doing to address many cases of conflicts’.
He said Mercy Corps is identifying those community level engagements so that it can be strengthened, rather than only taking it to elite stages where people only speak grammar.
Mr Maigoro noted that besides the forty male participants, Mercy Corps will also be training forty women and another forty persons with disabilities, in due course.