REBUILDING A BROKEN AND FRACTURED COMMUNITY
From 2013 to 2016, the people of Agatu were caught in a conflict between Fulani armed militia who left a broken and fractured community.
The Fulani armed militia throughout this violent conflict destroyed 30 villages, about one thousand lives lost and estimated 20,000 people displaced and over 4000 children were forced out of school. At its height, this deadly conflict displaced nearly 60% of the region’s population (.5 million people) from their businesses and farming. This can be dubbed the world’s worst neglected humanitarian crisis. Although the Fulani militia crisis has escalated to other parts of the Middle Belt Region, the process of rebuilding Agatu has been a slow and arduous one.
Agatu community faces a lack of food and safe water, poor infrastructure and inadequate access to healthcare and education. These factors affect Agatu community disproportionately: indicators of health, including mortality rates and prevalence of disease are significantly on the rise.
ARIC is a development purpose driven entity for Agatu community and to discover human and natural resources that constitute producible form of wealth for her people and community.
The goal of ARIC is to deliver a no-excuse-Agatu community where every latent talent is discovered and built. An Agatu community that will be self-reliant and a business hub. Agatu community can still achieve its goal of reducing poverty by a third in the next one decade.
ARIC aim is to convert those resource into marketable, productive and sustainable wealth creation hub and business incubation center for her people: The main aim of ARIC is to provide marketable skills for local people.
ARIC target is to raise Two million dollars by April 2020 to complete all the project phases from infrastructure to empowerment. ARIC will raise fund from government agencies international organizations and individuals to achieve this.
HISTORY OF AGATU COMMUNITY:
Prior to Colonialism, West Africa had several kingdoms based on ethnicity. In the past, conflicts were dealt with accordingly: dialogue, war, retribution, etc. Since colonialism we have defined national boundaries, problems need to be solved according to their laws – not contravened or ignored. The Agatu Community according to history is 400 years old and it occupies two local governments in Benue State Nigeria with a population of about 200,000 people. Over 195,000 people are Christians primarily farmers and fishermen/women residing along the Benue River in Benue State – in the contentious Middle Belt Region.Agatu people, like the majority of rural Nigerians, are farmers. Often those who live in rural areas are ignored, unprotected and threatened.
1. ARIC Business Incubation Center: The mission is to cultivate the growth and development of small businesses through one-on-one support, mentoring, programs, and classes. The vision is to be recognized, not only for being one of the most successful business incubation centers in Benue and the country, but as the best place to grow a sustainable small business. Skills and vocational training is hosted in the center.
2. ARIC Agribusiness Center:Agatu is agrarian community and this is the strength and the highest producible form of wealth. It will be agriculture conducted on commercial principles, especially using advanced technology. It includes agrichemicals, breeding, crop production (farming and contract farming), distribution, farm machinery, processing, and seed supply, as well as marketing and retail sales. It encompasses soil testing technology, improved seedling, value addition and creation of value chain, agribusiness financing and international market.
3. ARIC Information Center: This is a resource library where ICT, education and other research will be conducted online and the center library. This is No Excuse Agatu outfit. Every Agatu indigene has talents and gifts and must be honed and developed into producible wealth. The youth will be taught in this center how to conduct research relevant to their career goals and objective. Information such as scholarship, fellowship and internship around the world will be provided in cycles. Robust advocacy and human rights groups will be developed through training and support. Public health awareness, clean water campaign and human rights vanguards.
4. Office Complex: Administrative office housing all the center’s staff and the directorates.
5. Veritas Guest House: There will be a 50-bedroom guest house and a multi-purpose hall and five boardroom meeting rooms for different ceremonies not at variant with the Center objective. The purpose is to generate sustainable income to run the center.
6. Agatu Chapel: A chapel shall be built to provide some ecclesiastical services for the community-it can be in form of marriage officiating or funeral service. This is not necessarily a Church or any denomination. There can be In- Residence Chaplain and Sunday evening fellowship [5-7pm] provided to Christians irrespective of denomination.
7. Library: Physical library to support all the primary and secondary schools in Agatu to access curriculum-based books that are out of reach of the students. It will start a reading mentoring and simple research for students. Books will be available on loan for students and schools.
8. Printing Press: ARIC would like to have a printing press that is business oriented where young researchers will be encouraged to publish their research findings. Also, it will be open to the public to print their work and other event related publication. This printing press will house a studio for photography and videography.
9. Sport and Recreation: ARIC will have sport arena where there will be gymnastic training/aerobic, Tennis court, mini soccer field and other sporting outfits. As the youth are developed mentally they will be developed physically also.
10. Staff Quarters: ARIC is a community and intends to house some critical staff and also recommended citizens who want to build their residences within ARIC secured facility.