Central Nigeria: A 10-month peace and good governance dialogue program funded by the United States of America, Thursday ended with stakeholders seeking an extension.
The program Building Civic Participation and Good Governance in Plateau State (BCP-GGP) started in November 2019 to promote positive relationships between government and citizens to solve governance and security problems.
During the program, a selection of civil society organizations, government departments, security agencies, religious bodies, youth and women groups as well as traditional institutions were coached in citizens – government trust building, collaborative problem solving between between police, community leaders, youth and women groups as well as strategic communication in policy advocacy for civil society organizations and community leaders.
A dialogue forum on collaborative problem solving of gender based violence between police, government agencies and community leaders, as well as dialogue on electoral reforms equally held during the lifetime of the program.
At the close out session in Jos, the capital of Plateau State, Mrs. Persisa Yawa, an official of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said until the program started, violations of women and children’s rights were rampant in Plateau State.
The program however opened new discussions and collaborations that have “drastically” reduced the problem, said Mrs. Yawa.
An extension, however, she said might be necessary to further expand opportunities for women in governance.
Also, Mr. Dangyang Dangyang, a community chief speaking for participating monarchs said the program has enlightened them to be more inclusive and open in decision making.
He however believes an extension would help expand the campaign for women inclusion in monarchical hierarchy, a traditionally forbidden practice in Nigeria.
Participating in the program, Mr. Victor Elias, a Chief Superintendent of Police, said the program increased communication between civilians and security agencies, improving partnership and mutual understanding for crime prevention.
A representative of participating clerics, Makwin Monday also said more the event challenged religious leaders to be more transparent and honorable to earn trust.
He and the representatives of securities, civil society organizations, women and groups equally appealed for an extension of the program to cover more communities and sectors.
The program was a “huge success” said Mrs. Esther Ibanga, one of the implementing officials.
“Nigerians have been complaining about good governance and we are happy we have been able to influence positive change,” she said.
From testimonies and surveys carried out, the program has met its set objectives, said another official, Assistant Commissioner of Police Sa’ad Ibrahim.
Should the program be extended, specific focus will be on government officials to influence inclusive policies, added Mr. Wilson Iyamu, also ASP and implementing partner.