PLATEAU/Nigeria: An NGO, the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN), organised an arts exhibition on Wednesday in Jos to promote peace and peaceful coexistence in Plateau.
Mr. Cletus Aloke, an official of the foundation, said the initiative was aimed at promoting harmony, cultural and religious pluralism in the society is under its “Zaman Tare” (Living Together) Project.
Aloke, who is the Coordinator of the project, said that it’s being implemented in collaboration with the Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace (DREP) Centre, Jos, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) and funded by the European Union (EU).
He explained that the event was part of its 2021 World Peace Day celebration usually held every September 21.
He further explained that the insecurity that bedevilled Plateau necessitated the delay in marking the day.
The project coordinator said that the initiative was to promote peace and peaceful coexistence in communities in a unique way.
“We want to see how we can use arts to promote peace by deviating from regular meetings and dialogue sessions.
“The idea is to use people with different skills such as arts, which has to do with painting, drama, singing to engage communities with their works.
“We are using this day to unveil these kinds of arts exhibition and promote peace,” Aloke said.
He said that the arts exhibitions would take place in six communities in Plateau in the next few days.
He also stated that the idea of the exhibition was to see how to impart artistic knowledge into young people thereby making them self reliant, useful to themselves, families and the society in general.
According to the project coordinator, if the youth channel their energies into gainful ventures, they will have less time for vices.
Aloke explained that the group had been giving grant to artists every year to encourage them in telling the story of peace using their various artistic works.
On his part, Mr Daniel Ogabiela, the Programme Officer, Peace Building, CAFOD, said that the ‘Zaman Tare’ has impacted greatly in terms bridging the gaps that hitherto existed in some Plateau communities.
“For instance, through the project we are able to break the jinx of ‘no- go- area’ that existed before now. Muslims and Christians to a large extent now mingle without fear of any kind.
“Also, during the recent unrest in the state, we did a survey and realised that people from the six communities we are currently working were not involve at all.
“This simply means that we are making progress; we are not yet there, but with this little achievement, lasting peace is possible,”he said.
Ogabiela said that the project has been giving grants to both undergraduate and postgraduates students to conduct researches that would contribute to the body of knowledge on peace building.