After a four-and-half year hiatus, members of the Adamawa Peacemakers Initiative (AUN-API) has reconvened.
On Saturday, August 28, the internationally recognized peacebuilding organization, made up of prominent religious, cultural, business, and community leaders in the Yola area, recommitted themselves to peace work and human development, with a special focus on youth and vulnerable populations in the region.
Against the backdrop of clashes and banditry in other parts of the country, the AUN-API members resolved to reach out to like-minded peacebuilders and committed stakeholders in Plateau and Kaduna states to share the successful peacebuilding model which has helped to keep Adamawa State relatively peaceful.
AUN-API members pledged to work together again and to do more to sustain the peace in Adamawa State by engaging the youth and at-risk vulnerable groups through the re-introduction of their outreach empowerment activities.
The AUN-API programs include the Feed and Read programmes for out-of-school boys and girls, Peace through Sports, and ICT literacy training.
The President of American University of Nigeria, Margee Ensign, who has chaired AUN-API since its inception, as well as other foundation members including the Bishop of Yola Catholic Diocese, Stephen Dami Mamza, prominent business leader, Paul Ogbonna, and senior management staff of AUN were all present at the event.
Others members, who were unavoidably absent, include the Adamawa state Chairman of the Muslim Council, Gambo Jika; they sent in their regrets and pledged continuing support.
The Adamawa Peacemakers also commiserated with the families of two of their founding members who had passed away this year, praying for the repose of their souls. They are Dauda Bello, a former AUN faculty, and Ahmed Joda, a former chairman of AUN’s Board of Trustees and co-chair of API at inception.
After the formal meeting, the AUN-API members later converged at Mr Joda’s home in Yola to pay their respects. Receiving them, the late elder statesman’s son, Mr Aliyu thanked the members for their visit and urged them to remain steadfast in upholding the ideals of API, about which his father was passionate, and to continue to work for the peace and development of Adamawa state and Nigeria.
Formed in January 2012, the AUN-Adamawa Peacemakers Initiative quickly assumed a frontline role in peacebuilding and in inter-community dialogue in the Northeast region.
At the peak of the unprecedented humanitarian crisis which followed Boko Haram’s invasion and occupation of Northeast communities in 2013, the group took on the staggering responsibility of feeding over 300,000 internally displaced persons, and providing shelter, education and livelihood support for the most vulnerable populations.
The group also mounted a sustained media campaign by radio and television, preaching peace and tolerance.
AUN-API has hosted international peace conferences, peace rallies and numerous training and livelihood support outreach programmes for IDPs as well as for other members of the Adamawa community. On December 9, 2016, the AUN-Adamawa Peacemakers Initiative was awarded the annual prize for Inter-religious peacebuilding by the London-based International Peace Direct Organization. The award was in recognition of the groups’ success working against conditions that created Boko Haram.
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