Tag Archives: peace rally

Photos of Peace Rally in Jos

Youth from Kanem say “We Love Peace” (c) CM

I was hoping to post a longer article on the Young Ambassador’s Peace Rally that took place in Jos on 1 July, but I’m in the middle of a hundred different things, trying to write a conference paper and also hoping to write another blog post on the most recent arrests ordered by Rabo Abdulkarim, head of Kano State Censorship Board, who is himself avoiding arrest in Kaduna (For a quick summary of what is going on see Ibrahim Sheme’s opinion piece in today’s Leadership.)  So for now I will just post a link to my photos of the event on Flickr. The Young Ambassadors for Community Peace and Interfaith were hoping to have a bigger rally but because they had a hard time finding funding, they changed their plan and had representatives of different communities from all over the state come instead. (Note, all of the photos here are copyright to me.)

Programme for the Jos Peace Rally, 1 July 2010 (c) CM

The organizers of the programme Young Ambassadors for Community Peace and Interfaith foundation describe their “journey so far in the event programme:

YACPIF registered 23 Young Ambassadors before the Jos crisis within the Jos City around the Assemblies of God Church and Central Mosque in Kwararafa, Jos. The Muslim Young Peace Ambassadors protected the church from being burnt by some Muslims during the crises.

YACPI Foundation holds the belief that there can never be any meaningful Development in a community where there is war and injustice. Jos  is a city in desperate need of peace. YACPI Foundation has chosen Jos city amongst other cities in the Northern part of Nigeria to kick start her project. From here we will move to other places like Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Borno, etc, cities that have a history of religious strife in Nigeria.

To carry out these initiatives we carefully identify youths most interested in promoting peace. Our desire is to work with them to channel the message of peace aimed at stopping religious and ethnic wars, promote peace building, and other challenges confronting our young people today in Nigeria. Very soon we hope we can organize a football tournament between youths of different people groups in Jos, first and then later Plateau State. Sports sometimes can be a powerful balm when there are festering wounds.

Peace Rallies held to date from March 22nd, Kwararafa, Bukuru, Dadin Kowa, Nasarawa/Congo Russian, Rayfield, Riyom Local Government, Tudun Wada and Zaria Road.

Today we are witnessing a State-wide peace rally. The journey for peace on the Plateau has begun in earnest. By God’s grace we will reach our destination

The programme included short speeches from the founder of the Young Ambassadors Rev. Yakubu Pam (who made a point of saying that the rally had not received financial support from the government), trustee Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, former governor of Kaduna State, Women’s Representative Ngo Naomi Jugu, among others, as well as youth leaders from Miyati Allah, JNI, CAN, SUG, Plateau Youth Council, and representatives from the Yoruba, Igbo, and South South communities. The best part of the event was seeing young people passionate about promoting peace and fellowship in the state parade past with their placards.

But, I was thinking as I sat there, that I hope that in the future YACPI can partner with Nigerian musicians to bring together more youth, perhaps with no speeches by politicians and elders–just youth, just the next generation, who can commit to change. As one of the speakers noted, it is the youth who inherit the bad decisions of their elders.

The Police Band played for the event, and the BBC Berom cultural troupe performed very danceable traditional music at the Peace Rally, but I thought it was telling that everyone (including the cultural troupe) started dancing when contemporary Naija Jams started piping through the sound system.  There have been so many artists and musicians who are from or who have spent large amounts of time in Jos: M.I., Jesse Jagz, 2Face Idibia, Jeremiah Gyang, P-Square, Ice Prince Zamani, Ali Nuhu, Abbas Sadiq, DJ Yaks,etc, etc, etc. A recent article from Nigerian Entertainment Today describes how artists condemned the crisis, saying they were “keen to be of help and rally colleagues to ‘do something positive’.” It would be fantastic if this group could reproduce the kind of peace concert that took place in Port Harcourt last year, rallying the youth of Jos for peace with their music. And, indeed, one of the objectives of YACPI is “to solicit the support of Local and International Artists to license a positive song for our compilation CD that will inspire listeners to end war, crime, and violence in our country, communities and schools.” One would hope, we could have more songs like Eldee’s “One Day” and Sound Sultan’s “Let There Be Light,” which includes a very poignant tribute to “to the lost souls in Jos.”

Here are the photos I took of the rally on July 1. For those who were there and would like to download photos, click on the “All sizes” icon directly above the photo you would like to download and select either small, medium, large, or original, and you will be able to download it onto your computer or a disk. You are free to use these photos in other publications, as long as proper attribution is given to me and you send me a link to the article. Thanks.

A Representative of ACTS sells “My Brother’s Keeper” by Ruth Beattie (c) CM

A Representative of ACTS (African Christian Textbooks) sells at cost copies of Ruth Beattie’s book, My Brother’s Keeper: Stories of Grace from the Jos Plateau. Ruth Beattie is from Northern Ireland and brings insights growing up during times of conflict to her descriptions of Muslims and Christians helping those of different faiths during the Jos crisis.

Youth of Jos North march for peace

Youth of Jos North march for peace (c) CM

Jos North looked like it had the largest delegation there.

Yan Zaman Lafiya: “Those who live at Peace” (c) CM

Yan Zaman Lafiya

Pankshin Ngas for Peace (c) CM

Youth march for peace in Jos (c) CM

The Youth of Shendam say “Give Peace a Chance” (c) CM

Youth March for Peace in Jos (c) CM

Youth March for Peace in Jos (c) CM

Peace Advocates from University of Jos, including students from the Niger Delta (c) CM

Peace 4Ever say the youth of Jos North (c) CM

Senator Ahmed Mohammad Makarfi, former governor of Kaduna State, is a guest speaker (c) CM

Rev. Yakubu Pam, founder of Young Ambassadors for Community, Peace, and Interfaith organization, looks on. (c) CM

People interact after the main events of the Peace Rally (c) CM

Youth hang out in the bleachers after the peace rally (c) CM

Magaji Sule, Young Ambassador for Peace and youth leader in Bukuru (c) CM

Magaji Sule, the leader of Muslim youth in Bukuru, helped avert a crisis between rival groups in March 2010.

Young People for Peace in Plateau State (c) CM

Young people gather for peace in Jos (c) CM

Young people gather for peace in Jos (c) CM

Soldiers want peace too. (c) CM

Police want peace too. (c) CM

Ruth Beattie, author of My Brother’s Keeper: Stories of Grace from the Jos Plateau. (c) CM

Ruth Beattie, an “indigene” of Northern Ireland grew up during, what she calls in her book, “the troubles” of Northern Ireland, the sectarian crisis between Protestants and Catholics. With this perspective, she approaches the crises in Jos 2008, which she experienced, with particular sensitivity, telling true stories about both Muslims and Christians, who helped neighbors and strangers of different faiths from their own, during the crisis.

Goro Seller: the next generation (c) CM

Boy with pure water. (c) CM

These children are the next generation. May they see peace.

Youth Peace Rally, Jos, Rwang Pam Stadium, Thursday, 1 July, 10am

A youth peace rally is planned in Jos for Thursday, 1 July 2o1o, 10am. The rally will be held in the Jos Rwang Pam Stadium along Tafawa Balewa road. The rally anticipates between 20,000 and 40,000 participants.

Young Ambassadors from Jos East at the YAPCI Peace Rally, July 1, 2010 (c) CM

The organizers of the event, an NGO the Young Ambassadors for Community Peace and Interfaith Foundation, which includes a nearly equal representation of Christians and Muslims, has planned eight other events in Plateau State in the past few months. According to Yakubu Pam, the executive director of the foundation, whom I spoke to on the phone, the first event was was held at Kwarafa Cinema, Jos, and had several thousands in attendance, the second was in Bukuru and again had over a thousand in attendence. The rest, held in smaller communities, were as follows:

3. Dadin Kowa, over three hundred participants,

4. Rayfield, over three hundred participants

5. Tudan Wada Stadium, over two hundred participants

6. Nassarawa Gwang, over two hundred participants,

7. Riyom LGA, over one thousand participants,

8. Nepa (sp?) community in Jos, over one hundred participants.

The rally planned for Thursday is a private initiative and is not sponsored by the Plateau State Government. It hopes to bring together young people from Plateau State and surrounding states to make a commitment for peace.

The Daily Independent, in it’s coverage of the Bukuru event on 1 April 2010, quotes Yakubu Pam on his vision for grassroots level youth talks:

“When I look at other peace conferences that had taken place in Jos and other places in respect of this Jos crisis and discovered that only select group of people were called to come and discuss in the peace talks, yet nothing happens at the grassroots because they were not made to be part of the peace process and that is why my foundation target audience is the grassroots,” Pam stressed.

Pam said the youths were the active participants in the recurring crisis in Jos and other parts of the state and must be taken into consideration by the government in its quest to seek for lasting peace in the state.

He pointed out that his foundation has engaged youths, which cuts across Christians and Muslims in the state and the result of this, he said, was the bringing them together to discuss and chart a new course towards getting out of the recent crisis that rocked Jos and Bukuru metropolis and the councils in Northern part of the state.

“Due to our contacts with these youths before now, we were able to have acted swiftly last week Wednesday to avert another crisis that was looming at Bukuru community in Jos South. We called on the warring Gyel youths and Hausas to lay down their arms and return to their respective homes without hurting each other. We know them and they give us their listening ears,” he said.

Pam challenged Plateau State government and the Presidency to change their approach towards finding lasting peace in the state from selecting only few privileged ones on the Plateau to be engaged in peace talks on behalf on the people; rather the youths should be engaged directly so that government could know what are their problems and find a way of solving them to put an end to youth restiveness in the state.

My father, Professor Danny McCain, who was a participant at the 1 April Bukuru event, described in his journal (I’ve quoted with his permission) how the 1 April community event in Bukuru was called following an averted crisis the week before. Apparently, as Pam described above, Christian and Muslim youth leaders had been able to disperse angry mobs of youth who were about to start fighting. My father writes:

Pam […] explained that the organization was providing special recognition for the two people who had helped to avert that serious crisis. He then pulled out our certificates and called Magaji Sule, the Muslim youth leader forward. Later, Ishaya Bot, the Christian leader came forward. The chairman presented the certificates to them with a strong exhortation to be peace makers. He then had them raise their right hands and repeat after him phrase by phrase a spontaneous pledge that went something like this: “As a leader of the youth, I commit myself to be a peace maker. I will not allow the peace to be broken again. When I learn of trouble, I will go there and intervene. I will encourage others to be peace makers until peace is restored to Plateau. So help me God.” […] One of the most moving moments of the whole event was when these two youth leaders came together and embraced each other enthusiastically, with big smiles on their faces. What a powerful statement that made to their followers! Both were very happy—genuinely happy for the recognition and for the hope of peace. The crowd was happy as well. Before they had hardly received the certificates, people were already shouting, “Take care. You need to get those laminated.”

Here are a few articles about the other events planned by the Young Ambassadors for Community Peace and Interfaith Foundation

“Dialogue with Plateau Youths, CAN advises Govt” from the Daily Independent, 13 April 2010

“Fulani, Berom Leaders Resolve to Embrace Peace” from the Vanguard, 2 June 2010

“Tension Brews in Jos” from the Daily Champion, 6 June 2010

The website for the organization is still under construction, but you can view what there is of it here.