Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
First Lady of Benue State, Mrs. Eunice Ortom on Monday disclosed that over one million people are currently living in makeshift camps for internally displaced people (IDP) in the state.
This, according to her, is aside displaced persons who are being accommodated by family and friends as well as the thousands of cameroonian refugees who are taking solace in Kwande Local Government area of the state.
Mrs. Ortom stated this in her keynote address during the inauguration of Women Peacebuilding Council organized by Mercy Corps held at the New Banquet Hall of the Government House in Makurdi the state capital.
The Governor’s wife who was resorese ted by the Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Mrs. Isegbe Ajene stressed the need for every hand to be on deck in order to promote peace in the home and in the community, maintaining that, “it is not an individual strategy but a collective responsibility of all.”
Speaking on the theme for the 2020 International Day of Peace which is, ‘Shaping Peace Together’, Ortom’s wife posited that the women peace council is a strategy to include women’s voice and talents in also participating in peace processes and the security apparatus of the state.
She commended Mercy Corps for selecting Benue as one of the six states to implement the Community Initiative to Promote Peace (CIPP) — a USAID funded programme aimed at the inclusion of women at all levels of decision making, promoting religious tolerance and gender equity of the roles that men and women can play in the home and the society at large.
“All hands must be on deck to ensure that we shape peace Together’. In any interaction, there are bound to be conflicts but what we do after conflict determines if peace will flourish.”
Earlier in a remark, Mercy Corps’ Chief of Party, Maurice Amollo explained that Mercy Corps in collaboration with the Benue State government and the Ministry of Women Affairs would be inaugurating women peace building council.
He noted that the council Isa platform that would bring together 60 women of influence from various communities and religious backgrounds to champion peace, development and stability in their communities.
Amollo stated further that the council which had women drawn from four local government areas of Agatu, Buruku, Guma and Makurdi would create and expand platforms for grassroots women to meaningfully address triggers of violence, gender inequities and discrimination.
On her part, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Tabitha Igirgi said the Ministry is happy with the collaboration especially as it aims to promote active participation of women in the maintenance of peace and security as well as support local women’s initiative and indigenous processes for conflict resolution.