Towards activating peace in Nigeria, the Gray Child Foundation (GCF) has partnered with Moesillo Foundation and Silver Cross to re-enforce the weak pillars of positive peace in the rural community of Karsana – Guidna Community, Kubwa, Abuja to address peace, nutritional and medical needs of the residents.
The event project tagged: “Modeling Karsana Community Peace System” held on June 19, 2021 with focus on peace building, supporting the environment and community development. It witnessed grassroot community peace and security dialogue; signing of peace accord; inauguration of community peace and security council; installation of peace pillar; and tree planting.
The Positive Peace Ambassadors carried out grassroot Community Peace and security dialogue to ascertain the level of peacefulness and civil unrest in the Community.
The Traditional Rulers and community key-stakeholders while thanking the group for the initiative gave a comprehensive insight to the level of peace and security in the community.
The Village Head of Guidna, Chief Umaru Danladi in his address recounted the community history, composition, festivals and existing peace and security structures/ machineries. He said the community has been in existence for over 150 years, and currently plays host to many tribes, ethnic and religious groups.
“During the colonial era, the community only comprised of indigenous people of Gbayi tribe. The major occupation of the community is farming and hunting, and our tribe have an annual festival/ ritual to thank our ancestors for good health, prosperity and to propagate peaceful co-existence which holds every April popularly referred to as Akakayi Festival; it consists of masquerades, dance and merriment.”
On the aspect of peace and security, community representatives revealed that the traditional system plays a mediatory and conflict resolution role, adding that since post-colonial era the community has not recorded any major violent conflict because they have a principle and policy of tolerance, mediation and dialogue, which helps them live in peace with neighbouring communities, settlers and visitors alike, but that the community is plagued with insecurity.
“Though there is the presence of the Nigeria Police Force, there is a need to institutionalize and empower the local vigilante as they are the immediate point of contact for security containment.”
This peacebuilding exercise was informed by the uniqueness of the Gbayi tribe in accommodating different ethnic groups and religion in Abuja, without major violent conflict/ hot war. It was important for Positive Peace builders to interrogate what informs their disposition, model and replicate such Peace Systems so as to address inter-tribal, ethnic and religious violent conflicts in Nigeria, and also to ascertain if there are other issues of concern to the Gbayi tribe, so as to see how best to proffer workable solutions to them i.e developmental challenges.
At the end of the dialogue, a Peace Accord was signed to reaffirm the Community’s pledge to continued cooperation, peaceful coexistence, and to adopt peace processes to address any conflicting issues that may arise in future. The Karsana – Guidna Community Peace and Security Council was further commissioned. The Council serves as GCF Early-Warning Early-Response mechanism in the Community, that would act as the custodians, interrogators and mediators of peace and security. The Council consists of Traditional rulers, Religious, Political, Women and Youth Leaders, Civil Society Leaders, Residence (indigenes and non-indigenes), Gentlemen etc.
In the usual tradition of the programme for Activating Positive Peace in Nigeria, a peace pillar was installed in the Community, bearing the inscription: “MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH” written in English, Arabic, Hausa and Gbayi. The peace pillar is to serve as a constant reminder to indigenes, residence and visitors alike for the need to maintain peace in the community and beyond.
Eight (8) trees were planted by Community Key Stakeholders (Traditional Chiefs, Women and Youth Leaders), Global Positive Ambassador and Government Representatives, symbolizing the Community’s agreement to peaceful coexistence and further represented the eight pillars of positive peace.