Central Nigerian “Operation Rainbow” security outfit owned and operated by government in Plateau State says it is building networks for peace, “an effective way to deal with violent conflicts” in the State.
Stakeholders from 20 identified conflict flashpoints in Jos, the capital of the State are being engaged to discuss issues affecting peace in their domains, and identify solutions independent of government, the Director Administration, Operation Rainbow, Mrs. Keziah Dung said, Thursday.
“Normally, we bring the Christian and Muslim communities together. We sit together and discuss; ‘what is it that we are doing different from the way we did when we lived in peace and harmony?’ In the end, we collectively find solutions to the issues raised,” Mrs. Dung told MK.
The stakeholders normally commit to stepdown the engagements to their respective communities, an approach that has, according to the Official, proved “rewarding” in conflict management.
Implemented in a monthly stakeholders roundtable with at least six township flashpoint communities covered so far, the model, Keziah said would be replicated all over the State to rid it of violence.
“It is better to be proactive than reactive. You don’t need to wait until there is crisis to deploy armed securities to the warfront. By then, there’d be casualties. But you can stop war from happening by engaging parties concerned, giving them enlightenment and allowing them the free hand to proffer solutions to issues affecting them,” she said.
Among issues believed to cause conflict in the widely called “Home of peace and tourism” is drug and substance abuse.
These substances alter brain functions, mood and emotions, creating a violent tendency in one, said Dastu Ringle, a Psychologist and military trainer at the August community roundtable.
Fighting the vice, Dastu said is crucial for the physical and mental health of affected persons as well as societal peace.
This starting from the family level, along with sustained campaigns against conflict causing prejudices and stereotypes would be more effective, said a female community activist, Fati Aliyu.
Community leaders are equally crucial to resolving conflicts before they escalate, said another expert, Panan Gongden.
Participants at the forum were delighted to be involved in peace building, assuring of sustained partnership with government for total end to violent conflicts in the State.