Stefanos Foundation News Publication First Quarter 2017 (English)
An aerial shot of the land for IDP resettlement in Kugwaru, which was acquired with the financial support of Jubilee Campaign – The Netherlands. << Click here to download the PDF version of the Newsletter >> Greetings friends, We believe God has been gracious to you even in the midst of the challenges confronting our world today. We are confident that He who brought us to this time will grant us victory in our endeavors as we wholeheartedly serve humanity.Stefanos Foundation has been actively and passionately involved in humanitarian services and providing care and relief for victims of violent attacks in Nigeria.This publication seeks to give a summary of our activities for the first and second quarter of 2017.
Internally Displaced Persons
1. FACT FINDING
In the first quarter of 2017, Stefanos Foundation facilitated a fact finding mission to Parts of Central Nigeria. This was done to get the firsthand experiences of victims in attacked communities. The fact finding mission was embarked on with Douglas Murray a UK based renowned Journalist and Allan Craig a UK based supporter of Stefanos foundation.
This project was sponsored by Allan Craig. The project is on-going and requires more funds to be executed.
The fact finding team visited communities in Kaduna (Southern Kaduna), Plateau, Nassarawa and met with some stakeholders in Abuja, Nigeria.
Some of the places visited are; an IDP camp at Takau Primary School Kafanchan, Chawe, Atakad all in Southern Kaduna. The fact finding team also visited Jol, Sho, Stefanos IDP camp in Jos south LGA of Plateau state, Kugwaru IDP settlement (camp) in Karu of Nassarawa State and Abuja.
Mark Lipdo, Stefanos Program coordinator, Douglas Murray, Mancha Darong, Stefanos Camp director, Allan Craig at the Stefanos IDP camp in Jos.
The fact finding team interviewing a victim in Kafanchan.
The team with the District Head of Atakad.
FACT FINDING VISIT TO BENUE STATE, 27TH - 29TH APRIL, 2017.
Following incessant attacks and killing of defenseless, law abiding citizens of Nigeria, and wanton destruction of property worth millions of Naira by Fulani herdsmen/militants in Nigeria, especially in the North and Central parts of the Country, many groups and individuals nationally and internationally have become interested in finding out the true situation and facts about the incidents.
Stefanos Foundation facilitated a three (3) day fact finding tour to meet with victims of the violent attacks by Fulani militants in Benue state and to collect data of displaced communities, people injured and those who lost their lives. Places visited include Agatu, Logo and Guma of LGA. The inhabitants of the communities welcomed the fact finding team gladly and showed willingness to provide the necessary information needed by the organization.
The leader of the advocacy team of Stefanos Foundation briefed the people of their aim and objective and informed them of the purpose of the visit which was to collect verifiable information/data of both deceased and injured victims of the Fulani attacks in the community. The visit was also aimed at gathering the data of the displaced communities with pictorial evidence if available.
The CAN Youth Leader and Stefanos Foundation coodinator for Benue state, who also embarked on the fact finding visit also addressed the people saying, the organization has risen up to help address the suffering of the people in the hands of the Fulani militants by drawing the attention of other spirited individuals and organizations, so that prompt action be taken to put an end to the oppression in Benue State amongst others.
Stefanos foundation funded this fact finding exercise and more fund is required to do more research on other affected communities on Fulani herdsmen.
A cross section of representatives of deceased and injured victims of Fulani attacks in Benue state during the fact finding exercises.
2. RELIEF DISTRIBUTION
Stefanos Foundation in the first quarter took relief materials to displaced persons as a result of the attacks in Southern Kaduna and some from North East who are now residing in Kugwaru, Karu Local Government, Nassarawa state.
Over 500 individuals benefited from the relief materials distributed. The items distributed include; Clothing, grains, bathing and washing soap, buckets, palm and groundnut oil, beverages etc. communities that benefited includes: Godo-godo, Kafanchan, Atakar, and Chawe village.
This project was funded by Release International a UK based organization and more funds are required to reach out to other affected communities as not all the people affected were given the relief. There was a plea for reconstruction of those communities for the villagers to resettle back to their communities.
Some beneficiaries in Atakar community.
Stefanos Administrator presenting Relief package to beneficiaries in Kafanchan.
3. TRUAMA HEALING
Following the spate of attacks, the people of Benue have suffered in recent times, Stefanos Foundation saw the need for urgent trauma after care for the victims. A trauma healing seminar was organized by the organization from 23rd to 27th of March, 2017. The program which was held in Markudi, Benue State capital had a total of 53 participants.
The participants were selected from four of the most affected local governments by the militant Fulani herdsmen attacks. The local governments include: Logo, Guma, Agatu and Takar.
This project was funded by Release International UK. This project needs more funds to be able to conduct more trauma healing sessions for more people. The organization also conducts children trauma healing. However, lack of funding has affected holding children session.
Below is a testimony of one of the Participants.
Smith Graham, Agatu LGA, Benue Sate
My name is Smith Graham from Agatu LGA in Benue State. When Fulani herdsmen attacked my village in 2014, I lost 3 of my cousins, 2 of them from the same mother and the other was from a different mother. This happened in April 2014. It all started when I was in school. My cousins went to the farm around 5:00 pm to transfer yam seedling from one farm to another, on their way from Odu farm they were attacked by the Fulani herdsmen, 8 people were killed that day, 2 of my cousins were among them. I was in school preparing for a test when my sister called around 7:00pm, to inform me that 2 of my cousins were missing, that they went to the farm. She said Fulani herdsmen attacked people on that route. Hearing that, I hoped that they might have escaped or ran to a neighboring village. Unfortunately, in the morning, we received information that they had been killed. They were the only sons of their mother. The eldest of them was called Ode, he was well known in Agatu LGA, the dream we had for Ode vanished into thin air on the 14th April 2014. My cousin, David was also killed in Adoji, when he went with his uncle to fetch sand in a Truck. James, another cousin of mine was very lucky to have escaped with two of his sons. Unfortunately for David, that was the first time he went to fetch sand and sadly he never returned. That day several people were killed by the Fulani herdsmen. Right now the government has actually made efforts for peace to reign in our land. We have suffered a lot in Agatu LGA. The intervention of the government so far is not adequate. Our people have been inflicted with wounds that are still fresh and unhealed. Currently in Agatu, the herdsmen are still destroying our farms. We don’t know what to do, we have tried so many ways but to no avail. The Fulani herdsmen claim they have conquered Agatu. Agatu is still in trouble. We are not safe. We do not want herdsmen in Agatu LGA of Benue State anymore. It is very painful to lose 3 members of my family in one day.
i. Pray that the wounds inflicted on our people would be healed.
ii. Pray that God would save Agatu people just as we know God as the author and finisher of our salvation.
A cross section of facilitators and participants.
A participant being prayed for.
4. INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS
Stefanos Foundation runs an internally displaced persons camp in Bukuru, Jos. The camp has been in operation since November 2014 and over 2000 individuals have passed through the camp and are resettled in other communities. Some whose villages are now safe in the North East have returned home. Meanwhile there are still over 200 persons in our IDP camp in Jos and over 3000 in our IDP settlement in Kugwaru, Karu Local government area of Nassarawa state.
Currently Stefanos Foundation is working on an IDP resettlement program which will allow the displaced persons under our care to own houses and some land for farming activities. Expanse of land about 22 hectares was recently acquired for the IDPs by Stefanos Foundation in Kugwaru. The plots will be allocated to families for them to build their houses. Stefanos Foundation plans to provide roofing sheets for the IDPs to roof their houses on completion of their structures.
This project was sponsored by Jubilee Campaign Netherland. The organization needs more funds to be able to raise shelter for this IDPs and acquire farm land.
In the area of education, International Christian Concern (ICC) collaborated with Stefanos Foundation to provide support for the IDP camp school in Jos camp through employment of some teachers, provision of classroom seats and other educational materials which will help boost learning for pupils. The program covers only pupils in Primary one (1) to three (3), and Stefanos caters for pupils in other classes. The agreement between both organizations is to be reviewed after every three months.
International Christian Concern (ICC) funded the following project.
Stefanos Administrator Mr. Hassan addressing pupils during Inauguration of the camp School under ICC partnership on 8th March 2017.
CATHOLIC ARCH BISHOP OF JOS DIOCESES VISITS STEFANOS IDP CAMP
Arch Bishop Ignitious Kaigama of the Catholic Dioceses of Jos, together with a Bishop from one of the catholic dioceses in Germany visited the Stefanos IDP camp on the 21st, April 2017. They donated food items and gave the IDPs some good will messages from the Catholic Church in Germany.
Stefanos Foundation also carried out some advocacy visits both locally and internationally. As part of our advocacy for victims of violent conflicts and oppression in Nigeria, the advocacy team travelled to Geneva, London, New York and Washington DC. During these trips, strategic events/meetings were held with different organizations and groups including hosting a press conference at the Swiss Press Club in Geneva, presentation at the UN in Geneva, meeting with UN Special Rapporteur on Execution, meeting with Representatives of the UN High Commission on Human Rights, UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom, an open meeting at the House of Lords, 61st Session of the UN Women-NGO commission on the Status of Women where Civil Society organizations Morning Meetings and Briefing were held at the UN headquarters in New York. Also an interview with Revelation TV in London, engagement of few Nigerian Federal Legislators and key stake holders in Washington DC which was facilitated by Stefanos Foundation, Nigeria and 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, Washington DC, and Meeting at the US Institute of Peace, amongst other several meetings.
The issues discussed bordered on human rights, discrimination against minorities in Nigeria, rule of law/justice, peace and security, attacks on innocent Nigerians, Women economic empowerment, support for Internally Displaced Persons and the role of the Nigerian government and the international community.
This trip was sponsored by Jubilee Campaign Netherlands, and Jubilee Campaign USA with some support from Dr David Carling. More funds are required to embark on advocacy trips to other countries especially on the rights of Nigerians that have experienced one form of atrocities or the other. The on-going issues of abducted girls and attacks on communities by Fulani herdsmen are among such cases.
Workshop on “ACCESSING THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS AND THE USE OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION” from 31st May to 2nd June 2017 at DRAAC, Lugbe, Abuja.
Dr. Martin Ejidike (Senior Human Rights Advisor to the UNRC and UN Country Team) took the participants on a presentation titled “Basic Training on Human Rights and Accessing the United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms”. The conference was aimed at educating participants on their fundamental rights as human beings and accurate channel to lay complaints to the human right commission either as a community or an individual whenever those rights are out rightly violated. He stated the obligations of the duty bearers which is to respect and protect lives. He emphasized that for the UN to recognize complaints sent to them, there must be consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Gross violations refer to violations of civil and political rights in any part of the world under any circumstances including armed conflict or threat to peace. He pointed that complaints can be submitted against any State irrespective of treaty obligations and complaints will be treated timeously by the Human Rights Council which is the highest human rights body.
He explained that the complaint to be made must be written in any of the 6 official languages of the UN and contain description of facts, names of victims, dates, location and other evidence which should not exceed 15 pages. It is important that complaint should not be political or abusive and not exclusively based on media reports. He said any individual, group of individuals or an NGO can submit an acceptable complaint. He referred participants to the UN websites where complaint forms can be downloaded.
Ms. Janet Faden (CEO Jfaden Multimedia) tutored the participants on Social Media for Effective Communication. She pointed to the fact that the day to day social networks (Facebook, Linkedin, Blog, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp) can go a long way in spreading information and educating the people than the entertainment and pleasure activities people use them for. These mediums can go a long way in communicating to the world at our convenience which is faster and easier than the broadcast and print media. Technology is getting better by the day and enhancing effective use of other gadgets daily. Mobile phones which is now trendy enables us get information faster than the old print and electronic media, so the internet is the best bait to promote businesses, inform the public, educate people, and to entertain diverse people.
The tutorial was mainly interactive. She had a one on one verbal and demonstrative communication with the participants teaching them on the steps to create and use of Twittter handle, Instagram pages, Facebook accounts, Blogs and Linkedin both on phones and computers.
These project was sponsored by Hon. Rima Shawulu and Hon Edward Pwajok. This project is ongoing and requires more funds to train more people on UN human rights mechanism and effective use of the media to report their issues.
At the end of the conference, most participants testified to the positive impact the conference has created on them saying it has opened their eyes to the humongous tool of communication to acquire justice for violated people. They went further to appreciate the organization and the sponsors of these training and hoped for more of its kind.
We in Stefanos sincerely appreciate our partners and friends for their continuous support and prayers which has encouraged us to stand up for human rights. We express our gratitude to God who has enabled us to play a part in reaching out to many in desperate situations in Nigeria. We will continue to stay strong until justice and fairness is achieved in our society.
Thank you and God bless us all.
Bongden Beny Manbyen