In a bid to embrace total religious tolerance, promote harmony, development and provide relief materials to all displaced people residing in the northeastern state of Adamawa in Nigeria, the Adamawa Peace Initiative (API), a nongovernmental organization, composed of religious and community leaders was established.
The API (started by American University of Nigeria (AUN) in 2006 – Turaki Atiku’s school) to bring peace to Adamawa State began after a nationwide strike against the removal of fuel subsidies in 2012. AUN President Dr. Margee Ensign and then Chairman of the AUN Board, Ahmed Joda reached out to religious and community leaders of Yola to understand the sources of tension and find ways to defuse the tension and promote peace and stability.
The purpose of the API and AUN was meant to create a unique model with a broad, constructive impact on the community. API members, such as the leading local imams and pastors, personally identify “vulnerable youth” in the community who are then offered training and support in a number of AUN funded and organized initiatives.
As at-risk youth are frequently targeted and recruited by Boko Haram, API’s peace model focuses on bringing youth back into the fold, enhancing their tolerance across social, ethnic and cultural divides through sports and peace workshops and preparing them for education and practical training programs.
It’s on record that the nongovernmental organization has reached thousands of vulnerable Nigerian youth, helping them to obtain an education, develop valuable life skills, and nurture the fortitude to resist recruitment by Boko Haram, which has slain innocent children, women, and men, causing more than 1.5 million survivors to flee their homes.
They have made their presence felt in Yola, most especially in the internally displaced persons, IDP camp in the state capital where they have contributed massively by providing relief materials anytime there is an attack by the deadly Islāmic group.
In June, 2014, more than 100 peace activists from all over the country came together for the inaugural Peace Conference at AUN to discuss peace in Nigeria. One of the major outcomes of the 2014 Peace Conference was a list of recommendations on governance, security, education, gender, and the role of religion and the media that would help secure peace, especially in the northeast.
In all, the API and AUN have brought solace to the people of Adamawa State and have defiled the threat of being attacked by the Islamic group in the northern region; something which has attracted global attention within the short period of time they have been in existence.