Plateau - Why Peace Building Efforts Must Be Sustained...

Plateau - Why Peace building efforts must be sustained

October 27,2019

By Golok Nanmwa,Jos

Plateau State is said to be a miniature Nigeria primarily because nearly all the ethnic groups of Nigeria are present there.

There are more than 50 ethnic groups in Plateau state, These include: Goemai, Ngas, Tarok, , , Mwaghavul,  Beroms, among other tribes .

The state has 17 Local Government: Barikin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos, Jos East, Jos North, Jos South, Kanam, Kanke, Langtang North, Langtang South, Mangu, Mikang, Pankshin, Qua'an Pan, Riyom, Shendam, Wase.

Plateau state had  been in the news for the wrong reasons for almost a decade due to the recurring herders/farmers conflicts which has  displaced thousands, claimed hundreds of lives and property worth millions of Naira destroyed.

Recently the Committee on Resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, set up by the  Simon Lalong led Government  said 1,801 persons were killed in the recent attacks on the state in June 2018 .

AVM Bala Danbaba (rtd), Chairman of the committee, while presenting its report   last year  shortly after the attacks  in Jos, revealed that 50,212 persons were displaced from their ancestral homes.

Danbaba said the committee identified 115 communities cutting across Jos North,   Jos South, Bassa,   Riyom,   Barkin Ladi and Bokkos Local Government Areas, that were affected by  the crisis

In order to ensure  an improved relationship between farmers and herders  in Plateau State, Governor Simon Lalong  after his swearing in to office in 2015 immediately established a peace building agency .

Director General, Plateau Peace Building Agency (PPBA), Mr. Joseph Lengmang while speaking with our correspondent some months ago   said the agency was created to nurture and promote mutual trust among residents of the State.

Lengmang  added that the agency  has begin working out steps to promote harmonious co-existence among ethnic and religious groups in the State.

He maintained that the agency, which was established by an act of legislation in February 2016, had a primary mandate of preventing violent conflicts and consolidating on the peace currently being enjoyed on the hitherto conflict ridden State.

“Our mandate is to seek out the issues and deal with them at the latent stages with the aim of tackling them before they escalate into violent conflicts.

According to the DG, “This is the first time Plateau State is having an institution to deal with conflicts; we have found that waiting until things get out of hand has only worsened already  bad situations.

Lengmang further explained that, the agency was working with state and non-state actors towards a collaborative synergy that would make Plateau a peaceful haven for all.

He said that the agency had long started  its mandate by conducting advocacy campaigns to enlighten the people on the functions of PBA and how it was contributing to peace building.

It could be recalled that following the return of peace in Plateau , Gov Lalong started working out modalities to return the IDPs  to their ancestral homes .

Lalong worked to ensure the establishment of a Police Mobile Squadron unit in Gashish District of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area.

Earlier the Gov Lalong had requested the establishment of a mobile police barracks in the area to forestall attacks during President Muhammad Buhari’s visit to commiserate with the people after an attack on some communities in the LGA .

After ensuring that security has been put in Place , Internally Displaced Persons from the  attack in  Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau State were  returned to their communities six months after they were displaced. About 204 households from Kakuruk, Kuzen and Kura Falls in Barkin Ladi returned home under what Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) classified as phase one of the repatriation programme for 18 communities affected by insecurity.

 Sighting their communities, the IDPs  began to sing and many could not hold back tears. They were converged on the Kakuruk Central Primary school under heavily armed security personnel where they were briefed on the next line of action before taken to their respective villages

To sustain this peacebuilding efforts  Governor  Simon Lalong has said  he will continue to work for peace and unity among the people of the state devoid of religious and ethnic differences.

Lalong gave the assurance at a memorial Mass for his late uncle, Stephen Sule, and other deceased relations on Saturday in Shendam.

Lalong,  said he will not compromise the peace in the state throughout the tenure of his administration, adding that decisions taken by his administration will always be in the best interest of the state.

Lalong said, “For me as the Governor of Plateau State, my responsibility is to do justice to all people in the state irrespective of their background or affiliations. That is why every decision we take as a government is to ensure that we address the problems bothering us and not to escalate it.

“I will do everything that is needed to ensure that the peace that we have today is maintained and improved upon because when there is peace, there will be investment and prosperity which will reduce crime.”

He advised those who are bent on criticizing every policy of government to think about the greater good of the state rather than parochial sentiments that are capable of isolating people and deterring progress.

It  could be recalled that Governor Simon Lalong had some months ago  unveiled the vision of his administration tagged: “Plateau state in the next level: Policies and programmes of the rescue team, Phase 2” with focus on a three-point policy thrust framework. The three-point policy, according to the governor while marking the Democracy Day at the Banquet Hall, New Government House in Jos, would focus on Peace, security and good governance; Physical infrastructural development and Sustainable economic growth.

In his speech Lalong said, “We have carefully woven all the critical sectors of the Plateau economy and society into three-point policy direction to ensure that we lay foundation for sustainable growth and development for the future of our dear state.” In the second term, the governor promised to ensure the full take-off of the Mobile Police Force Barracks in Gashish, Barikin Ladi LGA and in Longvel, Shendam LGA .

On the farmers / herders conflict in the state , Alhaji Garba Musa  a herder who spoke to our correspondent said he is confident that the proposed  Ranching policy would go a long way to end the crisis .

I must commend the Plateau state government and other stakeholders like t Search for Common  Ground SFCG , the international NGO for their efforts in tackling the farmers / herders clash .

Pam Datiri a farmer in the state  also commended the peace building efforts of Government and Search for Common Ground and said the peacebuilding efforts in Plateau must be sustained .

Datiri said  "i rate Governor Simon Lalong as the best when it comes to peacebuilding efforts "

"Lalong has proven that he is determined to end the farmers herders clash as well as ensure  lasting peace in the state ."


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