By Brenda Agba
International Alert Nigeria has launched the ‘Powering Peace Through Climate Action’ Project in Benue State.
In his opening remarks during the launch which was held in Makurdi at the Benue Metropolitan Hotel, the Country Director of International Alert Nigeria, Paul-Bemshima Nyulaku disclosed that the project, being funded by the government of Ireland, has great potential for establishing peace, dealing with the impact of climate change and transforming the local economy of the targeted communities.
According to him: “Extreme climatic events such as flooding, extreme heat and drought have led to soil degradation which results in low crop yields. Decline in agricultural productivity discourages the farmers and may lead to change in livelihood especially in the rural settings”.
Speaking further, the Country Director said: “Communities affected understand their problems and in most cases the solutions, they only need a little push and support to deal with these problems and build resilience for emerging situations that impact on their livelihood and social cohesion. This project will be consultative in approach and put affected communities on the driver’s seat because they know better how to deal with the challenges they are facing. We have had initial engagements at different levels and hope to build on it to ensure the project is participatory and achieves the right impact. The project will adopt a catalytic approach and build the right visibility through showcasing the gains and what communities can do to address the impact of climate change and build peace. This would hopefully stimulate more funding into the space for the benefit of the state.”
He therefore sued for support from the Benue State Government and other key traditional institutions towards making the project a success.
Presenting an overview of the project, the Programmes Manager, Anicetus Atakpu said the project which is to run for two years is currently being implemented in Nigeria and Kenya, adding that in Nigeria, it is going to be implemented in Benue and Sokoto States.
“Four Communities in two Local Government Areas each in both Benue and Sokoto States will be benefiting from this initiative”.
“In Benue, the Tiv and Jukun communities in Fiidi Council Ward of Makurdi Local Government Area as well as the Ologba and Egba Communities in Agatu Local Government Area who have had lingering incidents of crises are the focal points”.
According to Atakpu, the target beneficiaries of the project include women and youth, traditional leaders as well as key government officials at both local and state levels.
“The expected benefits of the project are Climate Action Adaptability; Prosperity for the Individuals and Community as well as Social Cohesion and it is the outcome that would determine whether there is need for possible upscale of the project or not”, he stated.
Responding, the state Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Godwin Oyiwona, the Ter Makurdi , His Royal Highness, Chief Vincent Aule as well as the Ad’Agatu, Chief Godwin Onah said climate change is currently one of the leading causes of crises in communities due to its attendant effects.
They further assured of the readiness of the Benue State Government as well as the Makurdi and Agatu Traditional Councils to give the necessary support to enable the project yield the desired results.
Also present during the launch were representatives of the state command of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as well as the Tyo-Or of Ugondo, Chief Terseer Ihwakar among others.
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