By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
It is easier and cheaper to maintain peace than to solve problems arising from crisis, hence the call for all to embrace peace has been reiterated.
Programme Coordinator, African Centre For Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD), Mr. Uche Arisuku, stressed this while delivering the welcome address at the Christian Aid in collaboration with Centre LSD with support from START Network Second Strategic Town Hall Meeting on Promoting Peaceful 2019 General Elections on Wednesday March 20, 2019 in Kaduna.
“The amount we will spending in giving relief materials to the over 2,000 IDPs from the recent crisis in Kajuru Local Government Area is far more than what we have been spending on trainings.
“It is easier and cheaper to maintain peace than to solve problems arising from violence.
“The money we would be spending on relief items in Kajuru would have done more in organising such meetings. We would have taken some if you to Abuja to relax and enjoy yourselves but such funds would now be channeled into relief materials,” he told the participants,” he lamented.
He described as pathetic the killings in Kajuru.
“We got talking to the IDPs and you see a small boy that has lost both parents. That is why we make efforts in ensuring peace,” he added.
He said that the town hall meeting was a follow-up to the previous meeting held before the elections.
He charged participants to speak and air out their feelings and views freely.
“In the first town hall meeting, you came and we had discussion and you made commitment and the second one is a review if what you have done, to get feedback.
He explained that the overall aim of the programme was to have behavioural change and people are beginning to know that there is need to live in peace.
In an interview with newsmen on the sidelines of the meeting, he said that It would be negative thinking to expect violence from the elections, but the outbreak of violence cannot be overruled based on history.
“But you could also expect violence. We would say yes our mitigation engagements were successful because we mitigated violence. Those who felt they have grievances have adopted peaceful means in resolving issues, and have settled to go to court'” he said.
When asked if the Kajuru crisis can be described as political, he said it could be interconnected.
“The Kajuru crisis started from communal clashes, but you can’t separate it from politics. It must have impact on election.
“We were in Kajuru to talk to them and seeking ways to deal with it from the roots. We have told people to live in peace,” he said.
On what relief materials would be distributed, he said they were still computing details.
“We are still doing the computation to get the demographics of the IDPs affected, the number in total, number of women, number of children. It would determine how much we would spend on relief materials,” he added.
On ither projects that Centre LSD was organising towards peace building, he revealed that they also had gender based violence discussions on Monday March 18 and Tuesday March 19, 2019 in Kaduna.
“On Monday it was the women and they blamed the men for violence, while the meeting with men was held on Tuesday,” he said.
According to him, the participants of the meeting were drawn from three focal communities; Sabon Tasha, Mandi and Kachia.
“But we also run radio jingles and adverts carrying messages of Peace that reaches all other communities, ” he added.
The town gall meeting was themed, ‘Mitigating Violence During The Electoral Process in Kaduna State’.