USAID enrolls 100 children into Kaduna schools, rebuild damaged houses



 Nigeria Early Recovery Initiative (NERI), a unit of the U.S Agency for International Development-Office Transition Initiative  (USAID/OTI), has enrolled 100 children into primary schools in Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 80 of the children are from displaced Fulani communities that resettled in Ungwan Gwandara, while 20 are locals from the host community.

NERI also built 10 new homes for the herders in Gwandara and renovated 10 other damaged homes in Ungwan Bido belonging to the locals.

Speaking at the enrolment and handing over ceremony of the new homes to the beneficiaries, Programme Manager of NERI, Chikodi Omokide, said the initiative was aimed at promoting social cohesion and restoring mutual trust between the two communities.

“Following a violent incident in 2020, locals of Ungwan Bido and herders that migrated to Gwandara have been in a state of unrest.

“But following meetings facilitated by Southern Kaduna Joint Peace Committee and Jema’a LGA, they stated their willingness to commit to community level reconciliation.

“Building on this commitment, NERI supported the communities’ reconciliation process through a holistic package in a bid to rebuild mutual trust and cohesion,” she said.

According to her, NERI had provided the children with school uniforms, bags, shoes, writing materials, as well as paid their Parents Teachers Association (PTA) levy for the first three terms.

She added that NERI had installed street lights and boreholes, trained and equipped youths of both communities on bricks making as a source of future income.

In his remarks, Samuel Aruwan, Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, commended NERI and other stakeholders for their peace building efforts in Southern Kaduna.

“We are grateful to NERI and others who played a critical role in ensuring we achieve enduring reconciliation in Ungwan Bido and Gwandara communities.

“Those that worked for peace in this area have done a good job and history will not forget you.

“You have done something that generation upon generation will appreciate, because we had a situation where people suffered human and material loss.

“I assure you that we will do all that we can and dispense everything at our reach to ensure that this peace becomes an enduring one,” he stated.

Aruwan called on other warring communities to channel their grievances through the appropriate authorities instead of taking laws into their hands.

“When all sides in conflict recourse to the law, most of the killings we are witnessing today will be avoidable.

“So, we are appealing to our communities to always recourse to the law. Once we do that, we will avoid bloodshed and suffering.

“It is our hope that what has happened here will become a template and model to other communities affected by crisis,” he added.

Also speaking, the District Head of Aso, Mr Barnabas Samaila, described NERI’s intervention in the area as timely.

Barnabas restated the resolve of communities within his domain to live peacefully and harmoniously going forward.

NAN reports that since 2020, USAID/OTI-NERI has been working to strengthen grassroots security and implement other developmental interventions in Southern Kaduna. (NAN)