By Yakubu Uba
Peace is important because we need a better world for our next generations is an answer from a sociologist to a question on why peace is cardinal to useful existence.
Peace, described as freedom from fear of violence in society, provides a better place to live and develop in education and value system.
Apparently realising its importance, communities in Madagali Local Government in Adamawa that was worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgency, recently set out to celebrate their liberation from the insurgency they have contended with over the years.
With peace and normalcy returning to the north-eastern part of the country affected by the activities of Boko Haram insurgents, residents of the region note that returnee communities are hopeful.
So, as they strive to pick up their lives once again, they express optimism that with the support from governments and other stakeholders involved in resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction process of the region, peace will be sustained.
The declaration of the return of peace and normalcy to Adamawa has, therefore, elicited joyful mood of the residents of Michika, Mubi North, Mubi South, Maiha, Hong and Gombi local government areas who had been, hitherto, estranged from their homes by the insurgents.
Also, following the declaration, returnees in the affected local government areas have been gathering to mark the defeat of Boko Haram and the return of peace to the communities in various forms.
For instance, in Gulak Local Government Area, Gulak, the residents recently organised cultural dances and horse race to show the communities how excited they were to pick up their lives once again.
“The activities of insurgents in this local government have led to deaths, unprecedented displacement of people, lost of property and dislocation of source of livelihood.
“We appreciate the success recorded by the military, other security outfits and the vigilante groups in recapturing the communities under the influence of insurgents in the local government area.
“To welcome them back home and to show to the whole world that peace has returned to our communities, we need to celebrate,’’ Alhaji Yusuf Mohammed, the Chairman, Madagali Local Government Area, said.
In another development, in Mubi town, the commercial nerve centre of Adamawa, Alhaji Abdulkadir Musa, the Chairman Mubi Chambers of Commerce, said business activities had picked up.
“Business is moving more than before; we are now experiencing shortage of shops as you can see some people displaying their goods by road sides,’’ Musa said.
He explained that people were also coming to Mubi for business from neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Central Africa Republic.
Musa said the state government was aware of the development in Mubi and it had
started the reconstruction of parts of Mubi main market affected by fire as a result of the Boko Haram invasion.
He noted that most banks had resumed business in the town while cattle and grain dealers, particularly from the southern part of the country, had since resumed their trading activities in the town.
Apart from this, the presence of security personnel of the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service and other para-military agencies, are now visible in the affected region.
To sustain peace, SP Othman Abubakar, the Adamawa Police Command spokesman, said policemen had been deployed in all the recovered areas to consolidate the existing peace.
“People have return in most of the liberated areas and are busy going about their normal businesses.
“Policemen have been deployed to all the areas with the exception of Madagali to consolidate and build on the already existing peace,’’ Abubakar said.
He explained that most police stations and barracks destroyed by the insurgents in the affected areas had been reconstructed by the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative.
Similarly, Mr Adetoye Francis, the Adamawa/Taraba Command Comptroller of Nigeria Customs Service and Mr Sulaiman Baba, the Public Relations Officer of Adamawa Command of the NSCDC, confirmed the deployment of their respective organisations’ personnel to the recovered areas.
According to an official of the Nigeria Prison Service in the state, Mubi Prisons, the second largest in the state destroyed by the insurgents, had also been rehabilitated by the state government.
Alhaji Abdulkadir Musa, the Chairman Mubi Chambers of Commerce, commended Gov. Muhammadu Bindow of the state for awarding 14 road projects to further open up the town.
He, however, pleaded with the Federal Government to rehabilitate the dilapidated federal roads linking the area to other parts of the country to facilitate movement and boost commercial activities.
“I want to plead with Federal Government to also improve on power supply and access to loans by our members to boost small scale industries,’’ Musa said.
Further to all efforts at sustaining peace, Alhaji Mohammed Barkindo, Adamawa Commissioner for Local Government, promised that efforts would be made at the grassroots to sustain the peace.
According to him, sustained peace will create the needed momentum for increase engagement in peace building initiatives.
“This will lead to community resilience in terms of increase trust, respect for diversity and decrease fear between groups,’’ Barkindo said.
Observers in various towns in the state note that academic activities have begun in all schools including tertiary institutions such as Adamawa State University, Federal Polytechnic and School of Health Technology, Yola.
To sustain the return of peace in the region, the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Adamawa Government, had trained peace volunteers on community peace building and coping strategies across the state.
Dr Joseph Ochogwu, Chief Research Fellow in the institute, said the volunteers who were provided with needed skills in peace building, conflict resolution and management, among others, would serve as promoters of peace among the residents of the areas.
With this initiative, the institute believes that the restoration of peace and recovery of areas occupied by insurgents in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe have come to stay to stimulate developments in the region.(NANFeatures)