SCHOOL PEACE CLUBS
Plateau State is one of the 36 States in Nigeria including the capital territory, Abuja. It has the population of 3.4 million people (2006 Nigeria census) with over 50 different ethnic groups. But in the last decade the State has been be-devilled with sectarian crises of varying degrees that claimed thousands of lives and wanton destruction of properties. It is unfortunate that since 2001, the conflict has continued to linger thereby causing polarization along ethno-religious line, mistrust and suspicion between Christians and Muslims thereby hampering their relationships and also affecting their day to day social interactions of the people. The impact of the violent conflict on education is a new pattern emerging in public and private schools in Jos, which indicates attendance by students along gender and religious lines. This pattern of education structured along religious inclinations has separated Muslim and Christian children from studying and learning together. Many private schools in Jos have their syllabi drawn up to educate based on the tenets of a particular religious norm and beliefs that may not necessarily encourage tolerance of different religious faiths. And this really created a vulnerable pool of children and young people with limited or zero guidance on moral and ethical principles for peaceful co-existence, constructive social change and development in the society. The interplay of intractable conflict environment and the arising negative socialisation process has placed children and young people at risk of fostering various manifestations of radicalism, violent characters capable of further destabilising peace and security in the state.
Therefore, the above situation necessitated the establishment of school peace clubs where boys and girls, children with disabilities learn the values of peace and life skills. This is with the understanding based on the significance that children’s population in the state, its future development lies on how well they are adequately prepared to appreciate their roles and responsibilities in the society and their contributions to mitigating drivers of conflict in their various communities. The prevalent complex dynamics of socio-economic deprivations means that children and young people are continually faced with the risk of being engaged in criminal activities and violent conflicts which has implication for businesses and human/community development.
Hence, the need to establish Peace club became mandatory to serve a platform safe space in the seventeen local government in plateau state by CEAPN to engage young people that were born in the midst of ethno-religious violence that bedeviling the state for almost one and the half decade and presently had fifteen functional peace clubs in five local government areas namely: Jos-North, Jos-South, Riyom Wase and Barki-Ladi Local government.
These schools includes Government secondry School Laranto, Government secondry School Anguwan Rogo, Government secondry School Kuwiri, Government secondry School Wase, Government sience secondry School Wasen-Tofa, Nurudden Primary School, ST. Paul Primary School, Government secondry School Tahos, Government College school Riyom, Pilot Secondry School Mangu, Toaheed Secondry School, Sunshine International School, Government Secondry School Tudun Wada, Rochers Foundation School And the method adopted for the running of the peace clubs was the introduction of peace club manual to each school and the manual designed on the module basis where key concepts’ on conflict and peacebuilding was inserted which includes Citizenship, Life Skill, Self-esteem, Mediation. Negotiation, Sport and Peacebuilding Assertiveness and Violence against women and girls.