By Brenda Agba and Iorwashima Iorhuna
Benue State Governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia has encouraged communities in the state to embrace opportunities availed them for peace building and capacity change by an Irish based organization, International Alert and the Kende Avese Foundation.
Fr Alia gave the words of encouragement when he received the Executive Director, International Alert, Nice Herry and his team on a courtesy visit at Government House, Makurdi, recently.
Governor Alia said the state was going through harsh realities of climate change and internal crises, which were resulting in threats to internal peace and heightened tensions.
“The initiative to promote peace, mitigate impact on climate change and boost community incomes through cooperatives is truly commendable”.
“I firmly believe that our working hand-in-hand can make significant strides to address these issues affecting lives and livelihoods “, he said.
He restated commitment for collaboration with International Alert and other partners in addressing such noble objectives and expressed the hope that what the organization has started would yield fruits in no distant time.
Earlier, the Director General, International Alert, Nice Jerry said their topmost interest in the state was to ensure peace and security and to return the IDPs to their ancestral homes.
According to him, they were already working on the fish ponds challenges in Agatu, Agatu Local Government and Fiidi in Makurdi and the projects were yielding desired results.
He sued for the governor’s collaboration to attract bigger projects to the state.
Contributing, the Director, Josephine Haba maintained that their interest was to make communities safeguard the environment and raise their capacities by teaching them how to make briquettes for cooking to preserve trees and heritage.
Meanwhile, in a ceremony held at Primary Health Care Centre, Fiidi at Fiidi ward, Makurdi Local Government Area, the community members showcased their abilities in building peace by co-dancing and exchanging blankets among themselves, and the impact on climate action by turning waste to wealth through briquettes making.
In her goodwill message at the closing ceremony, Wife of the Tor Tiv and Founder, Kende Avese Foundation, HRM Felicia Ayatse expressed satisfaction with the commitment of all stakeholders to the success of the project.
She was confident that the peace attained would be for good and would usher in development as well as guide the community members to earn their living.
The Ter Makurdi, Chief Vincent Aule in his remarks called for the extension of such projects to other communities in the state for greater impact.