To avert violent incidents in the region, a non-profit, the Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative (BBYDI), has trained farmers and herders in Nasarawa State, Northcentral Nigeria, on alternative conflict resolution techniques.
Olasupo Abideen, the organisation’s executive director, said at the event on Monday that the purpose of the training was to enlighten locals about the early signs of conflict in their communities and equip them with how to respond promptly.
The participants came from communities across eight Local Government Areas of the state, including Akwanga, Awe, Keana, Keffi, Kokona, Lafia, Nassarawa-Eggon, Obi, and Wamba.
According to Abideen, the training was a pilot exercise that would be replicated in other parts of the state.
He said the decision to train farmers and herders was borne out of the desire to find solutions to insecurity in Nigeria using alternative means of conflict resolution.
The spate of violent activities in North-Central states if not properly tackled could plunge the country into an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, he warned.
He noted that tens of thousands of lives have been lost since 2000 to clashes between farming and herding communities as a result of the struggle for resources and climate change.
Olasupo said: “Lives and property have been lost; many have been displaced from their homes, farmlands destroyed, and so on. These conflicts have threatened our peaceful coexistence and gave room for ethnoreligious distrust. This is not good for our country and poses threat to our unity.
“Our strength is in our diversity and conflicts of this nature turn this diversity into a weakness.
This is why we have come together to find solutions to these problems. As a people, we have continuously demonstrated our resolve to improve the quality of our lives and those of others.”
The training, which was supported by the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) Nigeria Office, featured sessions on occupational peace existence, causes of conflicts and alternative mediation methods, human and economic rights, early warning signs, and peace education.
The facilitators included Dr Aminu Abubakar, Aliyu Adamu, Halimah Olufade, alongside lawyers AbdulAzeez Muhammad Basheer and Emmanual Kuza.
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