The Chairman, Kaduna State Peace Commission (KAPECOM), Rev Josiah Idowu Fearon, has warned that within Kaduna metropolis, there is a need for sustained surveillance over likely criminal acts by gangsters particularly in Kaduna North and South, Zaria and Sabon Gari Local Government Areas of the state.
He, however, called on the residents of Kaduna state to take advantage of the space and window of respite provided by the presence of the special forces, as an opportunity to restructure priorities by coming together to genuinely work for lasting peace.
He said only by working together as brothers and sisters, and good neighbors can they guarantee themselves security and peace which are the perquisites for progress, development, and prosperity for present and future generations.
He thanked Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufa’i and the Government of Kaduna State for their continuous support for the Peace Commission and appreciated all the development partners who continue to support their work towards promoting peaceful and harmonious co-existence in the state.
Fearon, who urged individuals and the media to moderate their voices for the sustenance of peace, spoke on the occasion of the 8th quarterly meeting of the Peace Commission via webinar, in Kaduna.
He recalled that on 2nd November 2017, Governor El-Rufai, inaugurated the Kaduna State Peace Commission, adding that the Commission was charged with the responsibility of working with the people of Kaduna State in particular and all other stakeholders at national and international levels to promote and sustain peaceful and harmonious coexistence in the State.”
“The establishment of the Commission was necessitated by the frequent and avoidable violent conflicts that bedeviled the State for over the last 30 years. “
This meeting, he said, was taking place at a time that the world was grappling with managing the ravishing COVID- 19 pandemic.
“It is also taking place at a time that our state has witnessed another wave of violent attacks and killings. This includes communities in Kajuru, Kaura, Kauru, Kachia, Chikun, Igabi, and very recently Zango Kataf LGAs.
“There are also threats to peace either in the form of inter-communal tensions or criminal activities in Sanga, Jema’a, Kagarko, Birnin Gwari, and Giwa.
“Within Kaduna metropolis, there is a need for sustained surveillance over likely criminal acts by gangsters particularly in Kaduna North and South, Zaria and Sabon Gari LGAs of the State.”
“Some of these incidents have resulted in the unfortunate loss of lives, bodily injuries, destruction of properties, farmlands, livestock, displacement of people, and loss of livelihoods.
“The Commission condemns these attacks and deeply commiserates with individuals and groups who have suffered losses and untold hardship during this period. “
“We commend the efforts of Government and Security Agencies to stem the tide of violence and address insecurity in the state.
“We welcome in particular, the special forces of the Nigerian Military to the Southern parts of the state on a special assignment to address the security challenges in the area.
“There is absolutely no doubt the presence of the special forces is an added impetus and a refreshing dose of energy that will complement the efforts already invested in building sustainable peace in the southern part of the state as well as ensuring security, mutual trust, and development.”
“Their presence alone is not going to bring about peace overnight. However, it will provide the needed space that would offer the opportunity for all the communities in the area to step up efforts towards resolving lingering challenges and mistrust among the people.”
He explained that the Peace Commission believed that given this possibility, “it is incumbent on all stakeholders, whether minor or major—there is no gradation of importance, everyone and every group are relevant and important—to take advantage of the opportunity availed to us by the presence of the special forces to achieve sustainable peace.”
“We commend the efforts of diverse stakeholders, including officials of the State Government, traditional and religious leaders, leaders of political parties, respected citizens and elder statesmen, elected representatives at the national and state level, civil society organizations (CSOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), women and youth groups, and the media, among many others, who are working hard to ensure stability and peace in the state.”
“The Commission believes that working with stakeholders, including community, religious, youth, women, traditional and political leaders, will encourage dialogue and mediation efforts.
“Through these groups, creative community-driven initiatives can be undertaken and sustained. An example of this is the Kajuru Truth and Reconciliation Committee (KTRC) whose members have already participated in training programs and have also organized stepped down programs for volunteers at ward level.”
“So far, the Peace Commission has taken the lead in organizing communities and stakeholders towards restoring social cohesion and sustainable peace in communities in local government areas (LGAs), namely Kajuru, Kauru, Kaura, Lere, Giwa, Zangon Kataf, Sanga and Igabi.
“The Commission has also invested in capacity building support for community stakeholders in negotiation and mediation, and peacebuilding in the belief that community-driven initiatives involving state and non-state actors working together offer the best workable approach towards achieving sustainable peace.”
“The most practical and rewarding achievements have been the peacebuilding process involving the Atakad and Ganawuri communities of Kaura and Riyom Local Government Areas of Kaduna and Plateau States respectively.”
“The other obvious success story is the community-led peace process in Atyap Chiefdom which culminated in the peace summit on the 22nd August 2020.
“We are foreseeing similar successes with the Kajuru peace process and also Gure in Piriga Chiefdom of Lere and Rumaya in Kumana Chiefdom of Kauru Local Government Areas respectively.
“Both have assumed great momentum and we are very hopeful that in the not-too-distant future, the two processes would be used as templates for other areas that are experiencing challenges in the state,” he said.
Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Barr Priscilla Ankut said that they have not relented in the advocacy to see that the relevant agencies reach those that were displaced by the conflict.