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Workshop Analyzes Conflict Issues in Jos

by Christiana Gokyo, Jos

Conflicts Analysis is said to be “a systematic study of the profile, causes, actors, and dynamics of conflicts, which helps in development of humanitarian and peace-building organizations to gain a better understanding of the conflicts in which they work and their role in that context.”

The Conflict Technical Adviser (CIPP), Godwin Okoko, was speaking in a paper presented at a two days’ workshop on ‘Capacity Building Training for Media Practitioners on Conflicts Reporting’ organized by the Interfaith Mediation Center, (IMC) Kaduna, under the Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP), funded by Mercy Corps and USAID recently in Jos.

He explained that, “There are different tools of conflicts. For any information we want to pass, we have to ask ourselves – is it a true story or the reality of things? He then charged journalists to always find a way of investigating, not to listen to hearsay, as this would help them improve in their reports.

According to him, “The importance of ‘Do no Harm’ is one of several tools/frameworks for the application of Conflict Sensitivity to aid policies, program design and program implementation. It is important for media to understand conflicts; this will help them give effective reports.”

Also speaking during training, the Special Adviser on Security to the Plateau State Governor, Brigadier-General G.G. Shipi (Rtd), urged journalists that whenever security challenges manifest, they should always report the matters in a proper perspective way that would not cause more harm to the people.

While cautioning them to always report threats or security challenges in the correct perspective, he noted that one of the issues he had to contend with when discussing security issues is getting the threats reported in correct perspective.

He observed that, when a threat or security challenge is given a wrong name (or nomenclature), the solution is already missed, adding that this is one of the major issues that he is contending with at the moment in the state.

Brigadier-General Shipi further cautioned journalists to always balance their reports, and guard against giving issues wrong names, when they are trying to address issues, and give it the correct name.

He stressed that, “Once the context is not gotten correctly, it affects lots of the jobs we do and, if something is happening and you don’t have idea on how to go about your reportage, get an expert to tell you the right thing to use, because when the wrong thing is being reported it becomes difficult to retrieve it.”

In his own words, the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor, Gyang Bere, appreciated the organizers of the event, saying, “The training was very important not only to the state, but the nation at large,” adding that, “The early warning signal is key to addressing conflict. When early warning signals are taken seriously, conflicts would be nibbed in the bud.”

He charged participants to always bear in mind the state where they operate, while reporting, as they could make or mar situations, and urged them to report things that will create a conducive atmosphere to attract global and national investors to the state.

The Special Adviser observed that, “The image of the state and the country is key; so, we have to take deliberate steps towards reporting issues that will make Nigeria and Plateau State conducive for people to come in and do business.”

He called on them to always report issues happening in the state in a manner that will solicit help for it, and it is important to tilt their reportage towards that direction.

According to him, “Since May 29, when Governor Mutwang took over office, he has put in place efforts to ensure that Plateau State remains peaceful and has done a lot and his desire is to unite citizens of the state, create a conducive working atmosphere for the people to carry out their businesses.”

He said his mission is to see a situation whereby Plateau citizens are united across ethnicity, faiths and regions, saying, “No matter where you come from, as long as you are someone who believes in peace, I’m ready to work with you.”

Acting Director-General, Plateau State Peace Building Agency (PPBA), Gayi Gayi, said the media has been an integral part of the success story of the Agency for the past six years.

He lamented how, in the last few months, there has been a resurgence of violence around some communities, particularly, in Mangu LGA, across border communities of Bokkos, Barkin Ladin, Riyom, and Bassa, respectively. He said the gathering is apt and at the end, participants will go out better as they report both on the traditional and new media.

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