Climate Action and Peacebuilding: International Alert launches project in Benue

From Scholastica Onyeka, Makurdi

International Alert, a peace-building organisation, in collaboration with the Benue State government, has launched a project called “Powering Peace Through Climate Action.”

The project, funded by the government of Ireland, aims to restore peace, deal with the impact of climate change and transform the local economy of targeted communities.

The project will take place over 24 months in four communities of Makurdi and Agatu Local Governments of Benue state, and it will adopt a catalytic approach to build the right visibility through showcasing the gains and what communities can do to address the impact of climate change and build peace.

Speaking at the launch event in Makurdi on Thursday, the country Director of International Alert Nigeria, Paul Bemshima Nyulaku, emphasised that extreme climatic events, such as flooding, extreme heat, and drought, have led to soil degradation resulting in low crop yields. He noted that a decline in agricultural productivity discourages farmers and may lead to changes in livelihood, especially in rural settings.

Nyulaku stated, “We need to find ways to deal with the impact of climate change, seek to improve agricultural yields through climate-smart agricultural practices as a pivot to promote peace and hopefully, prosperity.”

He also emphasised that the scarcity and competition for land and other natural resources have led to violent conflicts and groups across the country. The pilot scheme will be implemented in Sokoto and Benue states.

The state Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Mr Godwin Oyiwona, expressed joy that International Alert considered Benue as one of the pilot states to implement the project. Oyiwona pledged to give all necessary support to ensure the project’s success and improve the lives of the people.

Chairman of Traditional Council in Agatu, the Ad’Agatu, Chief Goodwin Onah, expressed readiness to partner International Alert on peace-building in his community that has been ravaged by crisis, saying peace is paramount in the lives of the people.

Leader of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Benue State Helen Teghtegh commended the organisation for their peace-building intervention, especially the climate change aspect, and pledged their support to make the project work succeed.

International Alert Nigeria urged the Benue Srate government, key traditional institutions, and stakeholders to support the project to make it a success.

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