by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
Plateau State chapter of ‘Justice, Development & Peace Caritas’ (JDPC) – a Catholic (welfare-centred) organization in-charge of implementing social policies of the Archbishop of Jos – has distributed food items (including palm oil), buckets, mats, blankets, towels, toiletries, among others, to the recent victims of crises in Ta’abe in Maiyango, Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau.
Coordinator of the JDPC in Jos, Benedicta Daber, disclosed that, about N60 million is being spent in the purchase of these items, which will be distributed in 3 installments, saying, “This is the first phase. The second phase will be at the first week of March, 2022, while last phase will be at the end of March, 2022; that is to complete the project circle.”
According to her, “The 3 interventions are to sustain them through up to the season when they would start farming. This is done depending on the availability of funds.
“Last year, N40 million was also used in the distribution of items in 3 installments to Maiyango, Yalwa-Zangam. This was with the support of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and also with the support of three Catholic Bishops in Plateau State that came to our aid.
“The JDPC has a humanitarian department that, as soon as their volunteer informed us of any disaster or any problems in any community, we immediately swing into action, visits the community, conduct assessment; look at and see where we can come in. If there is none, then we come back to do analysis; then we contact some of our development partners with the report and share the report,” she stressed.
The coordinator added that, if the development partners are ready to support them, then they would develop a proposal that would come up with the items, adding that, they do this to assist humanity, not just Christians or Muslims. “We work for humanity, irrespective of tribe, gender or ethnicity or your faith.”
She noted that, “This JDPC started as far back as 2001, when there was a conflict in southern of Plateau – in Yalwa, Shendam, Quan-pan, also extended to Riyom and Mangu.
“Almost all the local governments that have been affected by crises, most of their interventions come through the Catholic Caritas Foundation, CCFN, and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, CAFOD, and even some individuals.
“The JDPC is highly involved in peacemaking and dialogue operations in Jos and its surroundings; it is a non-religious and apolitical French-based organization with its headquarters in Paris,” she revealed.
The coordinator said, 150 households are beneficiaries, with the average of 6 persons in every household, and each went home with one bag of rice, beans, maize, two buckets, two towels, two blankets, palm oil and toiletries, among others.
Also, there was one Akawu Bitrus, a clinical Psychologist and a Psychosocial Support Consultant, who were there to collect data from direct survivors of the insurgency in some communities affected.
He assured they will use the information to plan for future intervention, saying, “The people, as you can see, are already traumatized. No meaningful peace dialogue can be achieved when the people are not detraumatized.
“Trauma has shattered the individual and interferes with his thinking, reasoning, problem-solving skills and judgment. So, you see the need for both structural and psychosocial intervention to create a conducive atmosphere for peace building? They are peculiarities to communities and, therefore, the need for firsthand information to aid planning. That’s what I’m doing now,” he noted.
In response, the Mai’Angwa (community leader) of Maiyango expressed appreciation to JDPC on behalf of the beneficiaries for the organization’s humanitarian support, while noting that, “On 26th December, 2021, I was at home when these gunmen came with guns. We run out of the houses to the bush and those, who stayed at home, where killed.
“Some of us are staying in our relatives’ houses, and it is not an easy thing; but it’s not everyone that can do that.” The Mai’Angwa noted also that, they are not praying for this to continue, but prayed that God should take it away; and advised the beneficiaries to help those, who don’t have.