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US-Based Peace Project Inaugurates UniPort Chapter

A university-based peace advocacy initiative, Pardue Peace Project (PPP) domiciled in Pardue University, Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America, has inaugurated a chapter in the University of Port Harcourt. The new chapter would initiate peace advocacy programmes in tertiary institutions in Rivers State.
Formally known as the Community Peace Development Initiative (COPEDI), the new chapter at its formal inauguration as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), which held at the Centre for Conflict and Gender Studies Hall, University Park, on Thursday, December 8, 2016, will now be known and addressed as Community Empowerment for Greater Peace and Stability Initiative (CEGPASI).
In their separate addresses, Director of PPP and Associate Head of Brian Lamb School of Communication, Dr. Stacey Connaughton and Executive Director of Health Matters Incorporated (HMI), Peter Ujomu, who jointly performed the inauguration, disclosed that CEGPASI was instituted to build peace in Rivers State-based tertiary institutions and their host communities through diverse empowerment programmes that would further enrich intended beneficiaries. 
“The NGO is also committed to running a youth-centred programme through the engagement of youths in productive ventures as an aspect of community development,” Ujomu stated, commending the Management of the University for affording the new chapter an opportunity to blossom into an NGO. He promised that the organisation would intensify efforts aimed at stemming the rising conflict portfolio in Rivers communities. 
In his remarks, representative of the Vice-Chancellor and Director of Quality Assurance and Quality Control Unit, Professor Ikechukwu Agbagwa, commended PPP and HMI for instituting a chapter aimed at building peace in tertiary institutions based in Rivers State and their host communities. “With mechanisms, such as the one you are putting in place, the perennial conflicts we are experiencing in this State would be a thing of the past in our universities and their environs,” he said at the opening ceremony. 
Professor Agbagwa pledged the support of the University Management to activities aimed at promoting peace and ensuring security of lives and property to enable academics to pursue their core mandate in an unencumbered environment.
In her contribution, Contact Person for the University, Professor Julie Umukoro, on behalf of the President of CEGPASI, Gogo Oriekeme, expressed gratitude to the University, Health Matters Incorporated, the Pardue Peace Project and host communities for the partnership aimed at fostering peace and development in the target areas. 
“As part of ongoing projects, we have started a microfinance initiative in selected communities for the empowerment of women and donated motor bikes for effective neighbourhood security policing,” she stated, pleading that the new body would continue to expand its programmes to cover more tertiary institutions outside Rivers State.
In their goodwill messages, Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences, Professor Barisua Nwinee, Associate Dean of the Student Affairs Department, Dr. Adedaramola Onyeaso and representative of the Chief Security Officer, Mr. Shirley Chuku, described the inauguration of the NGO as a welcome development for the University and an attempt to ensure that peace returned in the target areas of interest for the new organisation.
Highpoint of the event was the donation of one patrol motorcycle each to three host communities comprising Aluu, Choba, Rumualogu and the University of Port Harcourt to assist in effective community policing.

 

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