Correspondents’ Chapel Partners OPSH to Ensure Food Security in Plateau

Our Correspondent

To underscore the importance of food security in Nigeria and Plateau State in particular, the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Plateau State Council has organized a one-day peace summit.

The summit was also part of the Chapel’s contributions toward complimenting the peace efforts of both the government and the security agencies in Plateau State.

Speaking on the topic “Promoting Interethnic and Interfaith Dialogue: Towards Ensuring Food Security in Plateau State,” Guest Speaker at the event, Rev Fr. Stephen Akpe warned that if people do not ensure food security for themselves while they are alive, they will soon become food available for others.

The cleric submitted that hunger does not know religion or tribe, hence the need for stakeholders especially community leaders to create awareness and caution citizens against what he termed “food abuse” both at home and in public places.

Emphasizing the need to ensure food security, Fr. Akpe stated that food was like a god within the human temporal domain describing it as “the next most important tool for humanity.”

Participants in a group photograph at the end of the summit

The Catholic priest added that food as a creation from God for human survival and well-being, has a sacred function, hence the need for man to respect and show dignity to the environment including food.

“If we could generate it ourselves, I am sure we would not pray. So, food is important to all of us. Try hunger then you will know the power of food. Watch natural geography and see how animals hunt when they are hungry, the speed, accuracy, timing, calculation, skills, monitoring, and determination they bring together is marvellous. The future of the planet depends on our protecting crops and livestock.”  

To ensure food security, the conflict expert advocated for a policy to protect food such as people protecting animals in reserves and the Nigerian Naira as well as the criminalization of perceived food abuse by citizens adding that such a legal instrument was necessary to secure food security.

He also recommended the institution of plans by community stakeholders to create awareness and caution citizens against the abuse of food be it at home or in public places.

The cleric advised that personal hygiene should be taken to secure food security where families protect food.

“If we do not ensure food security for ourselves while we are alive, we will soon become food available for others,” he stressed.

Also speaking the General Officer Commanding, GOC 3 Division and Commander, of Special Task Force (OPSH) in Plateau State Operation Safe Haven OPSH), Maj. Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar warned that the military will not condone any attempt to disrupt farming activities in the state.

The GOC who was represented by Col. US Abdulsalam said, “I would like to send a strong warning to criminals and those planning to obstruct farming activities during this rainy season, which could result in food scarcity in the coming year. OPSH will not hesitate to deal decisively, in line with the law, with anyone planning to disrupt farming activities or cause harm.

“It is also imperative to point out that the ethno-religious tensions generated by remarks from some religious and ethnic leaders are not only threatening food security but also undermining social cohesion needed for collective progress in our communities.

Earlier in his welcome address, Plateau State Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel, Polycarp Auta disclosed the peace summit put together in conjunction with the Special Task Force was part of the Chapel’s contribution toward the peace efforts of the state government and the security agencies, particularly the Operation Safe Heaven.

He added that beyond reporting security issues, the Chapel felt the need to bring together young people from different tribes and religions particularly from troubled communities in Mangu, Bokkos, Barkin Ladi, Riyom and Jos South LGAs to fashion out best ways toward peaceful coexistence.

Said he, “As the farming season set in, and Plateau being an agricultural hub, we also wish to use this medium to remind ourselves of the looming food insecurity in the country and the desire to develop a collective approach that will allow farmers cultivate enough food to feed the state and the nation in general. This, therefore, informs the choice of the topic for this summit.

“Also, we are strongly convinced that dialogue serves as a major avenue for people to air out their views, concerns, and suggestions, hence, hope that this event will elicit conversations and change our mindsets toward addressing the current security challenges bedevilling our dear state.”

Mr. Auta who used the forum to call on Plateau citizens to support the officers and men of OPSH in their bid to stamp out bad elements causing mayhem in our communities added that the Special Task Force requires the support and cooperation of the civil populace to achieve its mandate.

While applauding the STF, Mr Auta stated that though there were bad eggs within the security circle, he, however, called on residents of the state to consider the larger picture and ensure a cordial relationship with the military personnel deployed to protect their communities. The peace summit held at Gwol Motel in Barkin Ladi LGA brought together youth from Mangu, Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Jos South and Bokkos LGAs.

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