SELL Foundation Nigeria places high priority on multi-stakeholders approach in tackling the ills that befall any community. To this regard, SELL Resource team alongside Jalingo SELL volunteers paid advocacy visits to various stakeholders to discuss way forward and build synergy with them in order to continue to make meaningful impacts in the lives of young people and bring positive changes in the community.
Taraba state has in recent time suffered deadly attacks and clashes which has brought about the wanton loss of lives and properties. The visit to Jalingo was timely as the foundation prepares to embark on training for young adults in Jalingo and across the North East and Plateau State on Peace and Conflict Resolution, Gender Based Violence and Child Protection so that they can in turn help to bring sanity and peace in their communities.
Activities of the visit commenced with a review meeting with the Chaplain of the Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON) Rev. Fr. Jacob Wovoro, SELL resource team and facilitators to evaluate SELL activities in the Community and to check with the SELL team in Jalingo community on their SELL funded business. Fr Jacob Wovoro who promised to work with the team challenged the team to always put him in the know of their activities as he is always willing to support them in the areas that he can.
Fr. Jacob Wovoro after the meeting led the advocacy team to Most Rev. Charles Hammawa the Catholic Bishop of Jalingo Diocese in his office to intimate the Bishop on the activities that are coming up in Jalingo. Beji Jibe the SELL team leader commended the Bishop for accepting to host the SELL team and for his effort in the Diocese and State towards promoting peace and harmony among different ethnic groups and religions in the State. Beji on behalf of SELL management also commiserated with the Bishop, Priests and the entire Catholic community in the Diocese of Jalingo over the loss of a priest Rev Fr David Tanko who was murdered on his way to attend peace meeting. Beji acknowledged the stand of the Catholic Church particularly on human rights, good governance and provision of social services.
The Bishop who is a father and friend to young people and SELL Foundation was excited with the visit and stated that peace building is a collective responsibility, and for this reason, there is need for all stakeholders to work together in fostering peace, unity and harmony in the State. He added that all areas SELL have identified for the next training are topical and the Church is taking issues of Child protection very serious. Bishop Hammawa assured SELL of his full support and readiness to work with the young people in a bid to find solution to the crises in Taraba sate and he promised to be at the opening session of the training due to hold in Jalingo, Taraba State come November, 2019.
After meeting with the Bishop the team proceeded to the Muslim Council where we met with the Secretary Alhaji Muhammed Sani Modibo and other executives of the Muslim council, Taraba State chapter.
Addressing the council, team leader Mr. Beji Jibe thanked the council for accepting our request for advocacy and stated our purpose of visit which is to solicit for partnership between the Muslim council in Jalingo and SELL Foundation Nigeria on the areas of peace. He added that SELL over the years has trained young people drawn from North East and Plateau State on peace building. He further said that in order to continue to promote peace, there is need to involve every relevant groups and organizations in the quest to promote lasting peace and development in Taraba State.
He added that SELL Foundation Nigeria is opened to working with religious leaders because of the important role they play in providing meaningful leadership and ensuring that peace is enshrined in the society. Beji thanked the Muslim council and the CAN body for constructively engaging the government in a dialogue that is beneficial to the state on peace and community development.
Responding, Alhaji Muhammed Sani Modibo, Secretary of the Muslim Council Taraba State on behalf of the council expressed his excitement with the work SELL has done in the North east to promote peace and tranquility. He noted that the council is saddled with the responsibility of promoting religious tolerance and supervising of all Islamic activities in the state. He called for research into the recent unrest in the society with the aim of finding lasting solution to the situation. He commended SELL foundation for work done and promised to work with the volunteers in Jalingo to bring peace to the community.
His Royal Highness Mr Augustine Njenmang Vengkani, the Kuru of Kona kingdom in Jalingo was also part of those visited. Kona is among the chiefdoms in Taraba State that has continued to suffer attacks by Fulani herdsmen where many lives were lost and people displaced. Leading the delegation Mr. Victor Kamai commiserated with His Highness and the entire Kona kingdom over the recent happenings in the community. On his part, His Royal highness who is already aware of SELL vision and Mission warmly welcome the team and stated that his kingdom is open to receiving any interventions on peace building. His highness challenged and made a clarion call to SELL Foundation to interface with the young people in Taraba State during the course of their stay in Jalingo to counsel them against taking rush decision and to make them understand that peace is not found by violence but by dialogue and understanding.
Similarly, the team visited Taraba Advocacy and Rehabilitation (TARE) foundation; Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) Taraba state chapter and Youth Wing Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN) to intimate them on the forth coming training and to solicit for their support and participation in an effort to finding lasting peace in Taraba state.
The advocacy activities ended with a meeting with the SELL volunteers in Jalingo community where modalities were set for the selection of participants for the trainings.
We thank the Bishop of Jalingo Diocese and other stakeholders for their support and collaborations towards SELL activities. Think and Choose!
Written by Emily Ranna Yinala
SELL communication officer