The Welfare Secretary of the National Association of Plateau State Students (NAPSS) the University of Jos Chapter on Friday, 15th November 2019 organized a peacebuilding symposium titled “What Has Gone Wrong on the Plateau?” for students of the University of Jos.
The program began in high spirits with Mr. Bello Lukman being the master of ceremony (MC). The National and School Anthem was offered after which the opening prayer was led by Alh. Umar Farouq Musa.
The event which was held at the Multi-Purpose Auditorium, Bauchi Road Campus had in attendance various dignitaries to include Hon. Shehu Bala (Chairman, Jos North LGA), the Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP Yunisa Isa (representing the Commissioner of Police, CP Austine Agbonlahor), Alh. Umar Farouq Musa (JNI Secretary), Mr. Jacob Pwakim (representing Rev. Labar Yahnan), Mr. Adejo Yakubu, Mr. Godwin Okoko (Peace Building Agency) Homulak Sean (NAPSS National President), Dusu Dagwong Bitrus (NAPSS President Unijos Chapter) amongst others.
A speech was presented by Alh. Umar Farouq on “The Role of Students in Peace Building” as he said, “peace must be described as the backbone of every development in the world.” He also added that youths constitute the largest part of a country and therefore advised youths to wake up from their slumber and engage their minds and hands by being creative to make things happen positively without being used as tools for violence. He finally said learning from one another is magnificent as he said: “God created us to work together.” He illustrated this point by making the students clap using a single hand when they couldn’t he, therefore, stated the importance of working together to achieve a common goal which is peace and unity.
Also speaking at the event on the topic “What has gone wrong on the Plateau: The Role of Students in Peace Building,” Mr. Adejo Yakubu blamed the structure of the country as a major cause of violence in the society, saying that youths are exploited despite the fact that they are meant to be the leaders of tomorrow. He further said that politicians use religion to brainwash the citizens and cause conflict for their own interests. He advised young people to avoid conflicts as much as possible and to focus on their dreams, aspirations, visions and work towards achieving their goals and maintain peace. Concluding his speech, he said, “no meaningful community development can be achieved in the absence of peace.”
The Chairman of Jos North LGA, Hon. Shehu Bala while delivering his speech said “peace is priceless, keep it” is the new slogan for the Constitution of Jos North LGA. He appreciated the organizers of the program saying it is timely and priceless. Further speaking, he built on what the previous speakers had spoken on as he added that recently, drug abuse and other vices have become the new trend on the Plateau among youths which has increased the rate of crime and violence. He, therefore, implored students to help in promoting harmony, building peace and curbing violence by working together.
Also speaking on “The Role of Students in Peace Building” ACP (in charge of operations) said “peace is the absence of violence and violence is the absence of peace.” He advised students to be channels of promoting peace by creating awareness in the community. Stating that “Police is your friend,” he encouraged students to be their brother’s keeper by reporting any suspicion of insecurity and violence to the Police.
Mr. Jacob Pwakim spoke on “The Role Young People in Peace Building” as he said that young people need to stop being used as tools to perpetrate violence and start being channels for peacebuilding talks and seminars.
A scholarship was awarded to two participants of “drinking contest” Dangtis Harrison Naankang (Mechanical Engineering 400L) and Kassam Morgak Jonathan (Plant Science and Biotechnology 100L) by Hon. Shehu Bala as he offered to pay their next session school fees. Awards were also presented to Mr. Adejo Yakub, JNI Jos North, Alh Umar Farouq, and Mr. Godwin Okoko by NAPSS Unijos Chapter.
In an interview with the convener and Secretary-General NAPSS Unijos Chapter, Mr. Mabwe Geoffrey expressed his gratitude to the dignitaries for gracing the event despite their tight schedule. When asked what motivated him towards organizing the program, he expressed his dissatisfaction with the incessant crisis that has been ongoing on the Plateau as a motivating factor, saying that peace is for everyone and without peace, we can’t live together.

Report by Gabriel Theophilus 
Edited by JM (4/5)

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