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Plateau community, Hausa, Fulani sign peace pact

N a fresh attempt to restore normalcy to the area, the indigenes of Irigwe in Bassa Local Council of Plateau State, the Hausa and Fulani communities living in the area yesterday signed a peace pact to end incessant clashes in the area.

In the agreement, the three communities unanimously submitted that they were tired of their communal clashes and pledged to stop the bloodbath in the neighbourhood.

The event was witnessed by soldiers of the Special Task Force (STF), Bassa Local Council Chairman, Musa Sule, the Police, Immigrations officials, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) personnel, the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps and other officials of government.

Meanwhile, the Fulani have asked security agencies in the state to help them retrieve 1,612 of their cows that were allegedly stolen in Fan District of Barkin Ladi Local Council.

In a letter addressed to the Commander of the STF and the state Commissioner of Police, which was made available to the media, the Fulani, under the state’s branch of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACABAN), said the security agencies in the state should raise a combined team of the army and police to retrieve their cows.

“In the interest of peace, law and order we hereby formally appeal to you to urgently raise a combined team of army and police, through the use of helicopter to trace our cows and hand them over to us,” the letter added.

The letter signed by state Chairman of MACABAN, Nuru Abdullahi, added: “Our cows are all we have in Plateau State and they are our generational wealth and means of livelihood. Their confiscation and destruction is an equivalent of waging a war against us, our children and generations yet unborn.”

In his remarks, the STF Commander, Brig.-Gen. Hassan Umaru, who was represented by the Sector Six Commander in charge of the area, Col. Oduware Irabor, welcomed the peace pact in view of the ripple effects of the crises in neighbouring local councils.

Gen. Umaru stated: “I am happy to be a part of the peace process and that it is a stepping stone to other peace processes. Other local governments should emulate what this local government is doing. I am ready to create a forum for peaceful meetings and processes towards achieving peaceful co-existence in Jos and Plateau State in general.”

Administrative Officer, Bassa Local Council, Chuwang Wash Pam, read the report of the committee set up by the council to fashion out a lasting solution to the return of peace in the council in the aftermath of the recurring ethno-religious crises in the area.

All parties, according to the committee, agreed that it was paramount for all to live in peace with one another, as no religious, economic and social development could be achieved in a crisis-ridden environment.

The report stressed the need for all stakeholders to be involved in the peace process.

The committee also noted that most crises between the Fulani herdsmen and the indigenous ethnic communities arose from alleged damage to farmland by under-aged children who drove the cows, adding that there was a need for all cultural norms and practices of indigenous communities to be respected by all parties while security agencies and the local council should intensify their efforts in the protection of lives and property.

The report added: “There is need for the security agencies to prosecute people who are found to have broken the laws of the land so as to once again re-enforce and instill the confidence of the people in the security agencies not regarding their status or place in the society.

“There is also need for a process to be established for all affected Fulani herdsmen and their families who intend to return to their various places of abode prior to the beginning of the crises.”

The committee recommended that for a lasting solution to recurring crises in the area, the council should constitute an inter-religious and ethnic committee which would be saddled with the responsibility of going round the council to encourage the displaced and other members of the community on the need to stop further hostilities and embrace peace.

The council chairman, Sule, in a chat with reporters later, said that the three communities took the initiative for the peace accord.

He expressed optimism that the crisis was over for good in the area and there would be no crisis again going by the level of commitment of the communities.

His words: “We constituted a committee from the three ethnic groups. We allowed them to meet on their own because we were trying to avoid a situation where somebody would make a comment and later claim that it was under duress or under pressure from any quarters.

“We allowed them to find a suitable place where they would meet. First of all, we asked each community to identify some of the problems they have.

“In Irigwe, we asked them what were the conditions they want since the Fulani were ready to come back and we also asked the Fulani to list their own conditions that they want the natives to meet. So, at their own sittings they brought out all the recommendations and they all agreed after vetting and this is what we have now today (yesterday).”

Sule said that none of the communities had written any statement under duress, adding that they met at a conducive place before arriving at the conclusion.

He added that the council faced many challenges, stressing that “when your domain is not at peace, it affects virtually everything, the economic, social and even the spiritual aspects.

“Our attention was diverted to security. Some of the funds meant for development were channelled to the maintenance of security and without peace, there will be no development. It has affected everything.”

-Guardian

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Posted by on Feb 10 2011. Filed under Latest Politics, Plateau, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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