Jos – Mr Ibrahim Nakande former Minister of State for Information on Tuesday called for restructuring of traditional institutions in Plateau with a view to restoring peace in the area.
Nakande made the call in Jos at a symposium organised by the Plateau Peace Building Agency (PPBA) for media practitioners.
The theme of the symposium was ‘Conflict Sensitive Reporting: Setting Agenda for Peace Journalism’.
Nakande, who is also the Chairman, Unity FM, Jos, said that to change the perception of Plateau as a “theatre of War”, the traditional institutions should be empowered, as critical stakeholders, to contribute their quota to the restoration of peace in the state.
“We must take into cognisance the important role of traditional institutions especially in the detection of early warning signs of conflicts.
“There are some communities in which everyone poses as a traditional leader.
“These people concentrate more on selling lands instead of good administration of the land.
“We need to restructure the system,” he said.
Nakande said that traditional leaders, especially at the grassroots, were critical to the success of peace initiatives in the state.
He said that because some happenings in the state were not properly reported, they tended to trigger violence.
He, therefore, urged journalists to be responsible in their reportage of goings-on in the state.
Earlier in his remarks, Mr Joseph Lengman, the Director-General of PPBA, said that the symposium was to remind the media of its critical role in the promotion of peace in the state.
He said that the media had a role as the watchdogs of the society to set public agenda on peace as well as foster mutual understanding to accelerate development in the state.
In his remarks, Mr Paul Jatau, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Plateau Council urged state’s peace building agency to open more vistas of interaction between the two organisations.
He said that frequent interaction between the two organisations would ensure the success of peace initiatives in the state.
He also urged journalists to always fact-check before publishing their reports.
“You should be circumspect in doing your reports, and in discharging your duties you should be objective, ” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that more than 40 media practitioners from the print, electronic, and new media participated in the one-day symposium.
The symposium was supported by the United States Embassy in Nigeria under the project title `The Mechanism for Sustainable Cooperation and Transformation of Farmers/Herders Conflict in Plateau’. (NAN)