Dec 1, 2007

CEPAN Recognizes the Heroes of Peace

A society that lacks record setters is not a dynamic society. Everything remains in a standstill. Most record setters derive their energy not from the quest for material things but the intrinsic desire to serve mankind. If we must encourage such persons so that others can be prompted to carry on from where the older ones run out of steam and entrench a traditions of record breaking we must be able to recognize the heroes. Jesus Christ in his days was known to have healed a lot of people. But only one came and expressed his gratitude. Jesus Christ was deeply troubled and was compelled to ask about the others that failed to come to him to express their own appreciation. This underscores the significance of recognition to deserving members of any community.

The Center for Peace Advancement in Nigeria (CEPAN) has been in the lead as far as recognizing outstanding individuals in the area of peace building in our community. The 2007 edition of CEPAN's Peace Award was hosted by the organization at the Lamonde Hotel here in Jos on the September 27th. Prior to the presentation of the award the Executive Director of CEPAN, Mr. Yahuza Iliya, explained the criteria for nomination of deserving individuals. First a nomination committee is set up. This committee sends invitations to the general public to nominate individuals in their communities whom they deem to have worked hard in the area of peace building. These nominations, which usually come in thousands, are then screened to a final number. The successful nominees are then notified. A date is then set for the presentation of the awards.

This year (2007) seven individuals were honoured with the piece award. The men and woman who stood out include: - Reverend Istifanus Dodo of Salalma Baptist Church, Gindiri Road Mangu, Imran Abdulrahaman of CEPID Pump Street, Jos Plateau State, His Royal Highness The Ponzhi Bwarat, Mr. Sambo Selchak Sambo, the Paramount Traditional Ruler of Bwarat District in Langtang-North Local Government Of Plateau State, The Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Movement (JPRM) Dogon Dutse Jos Plateau State. Others include the Nigerian Aid Group of Jama'atu Nasril Islam, Massllacin Juama'a Street Jos Plateau State, Adesiyan Adesola Adejoke a corps member posted to Shendam Local Government of Plateau State in 2004 and Mrs. Julie Emmanuel Job Sier the Director of Personnel Management (DPM) of Bassa Local Government of Plateau State.

Mrs. Julie Emmanuel Job Sier was recognized post-humously following her sudden death on the May 11, 2004 as a result of kidney complications. Mrs. Sier was when she died was the President of Nigerian Christian Women Society (NCWS), Plateau State. She was also the co-founder of the Country Women Association of Nigeria(COWAN), Plateau State and also the Executive Director of the Center of Gender and Rural Development (CEGARD)

She left her impressions in the areas of peace building, awareness, social and economic empowerment of the rural woman and the youths in particular. Under CEGARD she was involved in creating awareness and computer training among the youths. Under the same organization she embarked on peace missions during political elections thereby helping the concerned communities to avert some of the crisis that usually follow the declaration of election result and the lost of lives and properties associated with such. Under COWAN she was the heroine of the rural woman when as she provided them with hope through creation of awareness, skill acquisition and the provision of revolving loans. Working under COWANS ensured that she was always with the rural people and was thus able to have a firsthand experience in the event of any crisis. The most spectacular event, for which she became popular, internationally, was the event of Black Wednesday. On this day, she led a women demonstration that expressed their condemnation of the September 2001 crisis. The provoking revelation of the crisis was that Conflict brings no gain. It only brings a backlash and economic losses. Those who suffer most are women and children thereby rendering previous effort in the rural community abortive. Her followers were women, in black costumes, drawn from the 23 local government areas of the state. They gathered in the heart of the city and matched to the State Government House where they expressed their feelings. CNN and the Nigerian television authority (NTA) gave the event its global prominence. She accomplished this as the President of NCWS.

CEPAN the organizer of the award night is itself an organization that has been involved in peace building since 2001 when it was founded. The Peace Award is just one among its numerous activities towards the consolidation of peace in Plateau State. The occasion was well at

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