Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State.

By M. Peter – Jos

The recurring violent conflicts in communities in Plateau state can be curbed if the traditional institution is given free hand to effectively perform its duties as traditional and community leaders.

Ardo Wada Waziri gave this view while speaking in Jos on ways to sustain cooperation and transformation farmer/herder conflict in the State.

Waziri said as traditional rulers they know the people who reside in their domains and could synergize with relevant security agencies to weed out bad eggs among the people.

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At the close out ceremony of the peace project funded by the United States Embassy, Abuja and implemented by the Plateau Peace Building Agency, PPBA, the Fulani leader lamented that criminality has crept into the situation and called for urgent steps to arrest and punish criminals pretending to be either herders or farmers.

“Traditional rulers are not given free hand to perform their duties effectively, they know who is who in the community, synergy is needed for security issues to be solved.

“Kidnapping and other crimes have become problems, information sharing among communities are needed for intelligence gathering, we all need to continue to promote peace in our communities”, Waziri said.

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Also, Chinge Dodo, the President Irigwe Development Association, noted that issues of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs should not be swept under the carpet but properly addressed as justice is part of peace process.

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Irigwe tribe has suffered numerous violent conflicts.

Dodo said, “we are concerned about issues of resettlement of IDPs because it is as if the Irigwes have been forgotten. There are kidnappings in Bassa, ransom are being paid, ambushes are ongoing but we need to improve on interpersonal relationship and share intelligence.

“We need not discard rumors but look into them because rumours in the past have turned out to be true, as a people, we will continue to work to have peace.”

However, Emma Ado from the Operation Safe Haven, a security outfit working on maintaining peace in the state urged the people to eschew violence and embrace peace.

“If anyone wants peace in Plateau, it is the security, right now, I’m mourning the death of my men who were killed at Exland, Barkin Ladi without any provocation.”

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Earlier, the Director-General of PPBA, Joseph Lengmang stated that the project was executed in conjunction with the community people and the idea is “to foster mutual understanding and cooperation among communities so that issues of farmers/herders conflicts could be solved.”

The DG who noted that, “strategic engagements were adopted to talk about these issues with the view to understanding one another and agreeing to live in peace” also added that, “There are many unresolved issues but there is no need to engage in violence.”

PPBA’s Director of Programme, Godwin Okoko enumerated the successes and challenges of the project but as a way forward, he maintained, “peace is all we need to be able to live together as one.”