By Cj Kingsley
300 peace monitors have been trained, equipped with over 160 telephones and deployed within Plateau communities in Nigeria’s northcentral, to dictate and provide early warning signs of crisis situation, says a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), otherwise known as Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD).
Speaking yesterday at the Launch of the HD Situation Room in Jos the city’s capital in Plateau State, the Senior Programme Manager, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue Mr. Babatunde Afolabi, said the 300 peace monitors are to provide real time situation of a crisis situation before it escalates.
“HD has trained 300 peace monitors on the field and we have supplied over 160 of them with mobile telephones that they use in conveying real time information to our Situation Room.
“We believe that in order to achieve our desired objective, the forgoing of effective collaboration and partnership is critical and a must for success”, he said.
Afolabi said that HD has realised that a key factor for the resurgence of conflict is the non-implementation of recommendations contained in peace agreements, adding that they are cognizant of the fact that the way out of some of the prevailing conflict issues across Nigeria and indeed across the West African sub-region, have already been dealt with in either some earlier-brokered peace agreements, Government White Papers, or the recommendations contained in the reports of Special Panels or Commissions of Inquiry.
In his remarks, Governor Simon Lalong who graced the occasion said his government deliberately put peace and security as the first policy priority among government five pillar thrusts, saying that the wisdom behind it is based on the fact that no development can take place in any society that is ravaged by crises.
While acknowledging the 300 peace monitors, Lalong said he hope the peace monitors will rise to the occasion by not letting matters escalate for failing to do what is required of them.
“I there urge them to be prompt and efficient in supporting the situation room adequately and appropriately as this would trigger the requisite early response that would save lives and property”, he said.
Earlier, the Netherlands Ambassador, Mr. Robert Petri, and his German counterpart, Amb. Bernhard Schlageck, said prevention is better than cure, charging government to continue to play the big brother role in conflict management.
The duo laud Governor Lalong for establishing the Plateau Peace Building Agency, saying that the initiative provides a platform for dialogue and conflict prevention.