Buruku a community in Bukuru Local Government Area of Benue state has become a good reference point to show how community resilience can work. Affected by violence resulting from Fulani-Herdsmen crisis for over three years, the community has been able to utilize traditional justice system as an effective means of conflict resolution, bringing about now peaceful co-existence in the community.
Before the community resilience project initiated by CLEEN Foundation in Bukuru community, there was a deep-seated animosity, mistrust and suspicion that existed among the residents, with little or no social interaction amongst religious and ethnic groups , and non- existence of community structure to bring residents together to discuss and resolve issues affecting the community.
According to Mr. Yunusa Abubakar, a Zaki-traditional leader of the community, “in the last three years, it was impossible to have the traditional leaders, religious leaders, women leaders and youth leaders come together to forge a path way for the community, but, as a result of CLEEN intervention, the community residents now live in peace and have built a structure for peace and conflict resolution… and also fostered peace, unity and collaboration in the community. The project reconciled different ethnic groups and promoted mutual cooperation thereby bridging the gap created by ethnic and religious sentiments in the past. The peace in the community had led to extension of electricity to other villages as a sign of love and mutual cooperation”,
For Mr. Herma Nwosu aka Simple, a community youth leader, “The youth of Buruku community have embraced peace and eschewed violence which was evident during the 2019 general elections as youths refused allow themselves to be hired for political thugs, , giving room for peaceful elections in the community.” He added that as a result of the project, the community has put in place, early warning signs and alternative dispute resolution as means of addressing all forms of conflicts.”
Mr. Olisemeka Hyacinth, a Religious Leader recounted how “inter-Religious Exchange”, an initiative of the project enlightened him on the different doctrines of religions and brought about peaceful co-existence among them. “Prior to my participation in the project, I was always afraid of associating with the Muslims, my participation in various Inter-Religious Exchange deepened my understanding about Islam and now I can associate freely with Muslims” he said.
For Mrs. Hembergo Nyickwa a community women leader the Women in Peace Building initiative of the project helped restore peace in the community. In addition, there is now an improvement in women inclusion in decision making in the community andwomen are now given opportunity to speak and express their views on issues affecting the community.
In the last two years, Bukuru community has enjoyed relative peace withno record of violence as community members continue to utilize peacebuilding structures initiated through the project and build on the gains that have been made so far to sustain peaceful co-existence and community resilience