Christmas

WANEP hosts peace dialogue for women, youths in Gombe State

Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe

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The West Africa Network for Peace Building, WANEP, Nigeria, has hosted women and youths stakeholders from the Lunguda and Waja communities in Gombe State towards ending the recurring tribal clashes between them.

This was organised in partnership with the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation, under the project tagged Enhancing Participation of Women in Peace and Human Security in Nigeria” the project supports Balanga Local Government Area in the development of a Local Action Plan for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution, UNSCR 1325, which is to promote peaceful coexistence.

Waja and Lunguda Youths and Women Stakeholders converged on Kaltungo for the dialogue, with representatives of the authorities of the LGA, women religious Leaders, Security agencies, Women Groups leaders, youth groups, civil society and community-based organisations, MDAs among others.

It will be recalled that WANEP had also in September hosted some stakeholders from both communities, but giving room now for women and youths to express themselves better.

The essence of the dialogue, according to WANEP is to give parties from both communities the opportunities to talk and express themselves and collectively find solutions to the recurring clashes between them.

Setting the agenda for discussions, Mr. Mohammed Farouq, from the Gombe State Ministry of Women Affairs Gombe, said WANEP had organised the dialogue to provide lasting solutions and peaceful coexistence between the two tribes.

Mr. Farouq also said the dialogue became necessary in view of the importance women and youths play during crisis prevention and resolution.

Women and youths took turns to express themselves and the way forward.

For Mrs. Dima Jasma from Jessu Community of the Lunguda Tribeattributed the lingering crises to peer group influence, under the influence of illicit substances, but called on women and youths of both communities to adopt forgiveness, knowing that they would all one day give account to God for what they had done.

She said it was her second time attending the meeting, but hoped everyone would be open-minded and accept each other as brothers and sisters, which would subsequently contribute in providing the needed peace for all in the community.

One of the women mentors in Gombe State, Mrs. Halima Mahdi, the essence of the gathering was to discuss peace and stability in the two communities, saying the crisis was a shock to her, because of their long-standing relations she came to know while growing up.

Consequently, Mrs. Mahdi called on parents and leaders of each community to expose perpetrators and supporters of this conflict for prosecutions, which would serve as a deterrent to others.

A youth from the Lunguda Community of Jessu, Peter Tadawus, leaders in each of the communities know their youths and those who perpetrate such evil but fail to hand them over to the securities because of their personal interest.

He alleged that some community leaders were behind all the crisis because of their selfishness, but also called on leaders and parents in each community to hand over the perpetrators to law enforcement agents to avoid further occurrence.

Mr. Muhammad Aliyu from Nyuwar said none of the parties was happy with the recent turn of violent events between the Lunguda and Waja, and called for an end to the crisis, by recommending lasting solutions to the lingering crisis.

A Councillor Representing Jessu- Nyuwar in Balanga Local Government Council, Mr. Sakaru Alex, said no responsible members of a community wanted violence and as such called on both Lunguda and Waja good people of both communities to be patient and forgive each other.

At the end of the dialogue, participants from both Lunguda and Waja tribes alleged that the conflict was being instigated by some shadow partners, as well as illiteracy, tribalism, land issues, insufficient security agents in the communities, idleness, population explosion, and political sentiment, among others.

They recommend that children should be educated, leaders should be improved on, citizens should be engaged economically, there should be deliberate in preaching on the negative effect of drunkenness among youths, regular workshops should be organised for members of the communities to educate them on the dangers of conflicts in a community.

The participants also recommended that members of the communities should learn to respect, forgive and forget each other, while leaders should show more commitment to justice and the need to engage women in peace and conflict resolutions.

The representatives of the both communities also signed commitment forms on their peaceful coexistence.

Dominica Nwabufo

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