United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has decried the damage caused by conflict and violence, especially as perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen and other criminal elements.
The agency said Nigeria loses an estimated $12 billion yearly due to conflict and violence adding that through the Mercy Corps, it has created a leeway towards the resolution of such conflicts through the CIPP programme to mitigate violence.
USAID, which is to partner the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to promote dialogue, tolerance and social cohesion all aimed at engendering peace and conflict resolution in Benue State, explained that Mercy Corps is one of the leading agents of USAID and the implementer of the Community Initiative for Promoting Peace (CIPP) programme.
Country director of Mercy Corps in Nigeria, Ndubuisi Anyanwu, stated this at the Conference Hall of the Bureau in Makurdi with all the Council Chairmen of 23 local governments in attendance.
In his remarks, Special Adviser to Benue State Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Jerome Shimbe, decried the wanton destruction of lives and property, human abuse, especially rape being perpetrated on the innocent Benue people by marauding Fulani herdsmen, and appealed to Mercy Corps to present the plight of the Benue people to the international community for succour.
He particularly lamented the incessant rape and abuse of women by the marauders and appealed for a trust fund to be set up to support rape victims overcome their ordeals.
Speaking on behalf of the council chairmen, ALGON chairman and executive chairman, Guma Local Government Area, Caleb Aba, said the CIPP programme couldn’t have come at a better time than now and urged the implementers to expedite action on ensuring the early take-off of the programme in the state.
He assured that ALGON would provide the necessary logistic support to ensure its success.
In his vote of thanks, permanent secretary of the Bureau, Elvis Attah, described the group as God-sent and assured of the Bureau’s utmost cooperation to make the programme a huge success in the state.