The Director General of the Plateau State Peace Building Agency, Mr. Joseph Lengmang has said that Saturday’s signing of a commitment to peace by Irigwe and Fulani communities in Bassa Local Government Area was merely symbolic.
Peace building according to him is a process, not an event as the dialogue and reconciliation forum organized by the agency, during which the commitment was signed.
“Peace building is not an event. Peace building is a process, but one that needs to be nurtured, one that requires the buy-in of everybody, one that requires the trust and confidence of every party, one that requires sincerity of purpose.
“If there is no sincerity of purpose, then it becomes practically impossible for us to achieve our goals of building lasting peace and also attaining the goals of development in Irigwe land and across the state,” Lengmang said.
The signing of the peace commitment was followed by a fresh attack barely 48hrs later in the LGA’s Hukke village.
Victims of Monday’s attack in Hukke village, Bassa LGA, Plateau State
During the signing in Meyango town, youths and women groups openly protested that the agreement was not to be trusted.
The President of the Irigwe Development Association, Sunday Abdu said, “We hope that this one (agreement) will not be like the others.”
Most previous attacks in the locality were reportedly preceded by similar peace meetings.
The PPBA DG, Mr. Lengmang was however clear that the meeting was not an assurance of the return of peace.
“There can ever be peace without agreement, understanding and the willingness to work together,” he said at the event.
Although there have been disagreements, there is hope for peace and reconciliation in Plateau State, said Mr. Lengmang.
He said, “Yes, we have been touched by adversity, yes we have had our bad times, yes we have lost so much human and material, yes relationships have been broken, yes neighborhoods have been uprooted and communities have become segregated but yet we want to overcome, we want to triumph, we want to open a new chapter in our social relations.
“We want to open a new social compact on the basis of mutual respect, confidence and trust.”
The Plateau State Peace Building Agency was established in 2016 to resolve and prevent conflicts for societal growth and development.
The agency has held several dialogue meetings among other events to discuss the ways forward on the peace process in the State, which has witnessed violent clashes for nearly two decades.