Plateau communities seek peace amid attacks

3 min read
Sympathizers at funeral of attack victims in Plateau State

Communities in Plateau State may have had enough resolving conflicts with violence.

For over 18 years, the State has witnessed violent hostilities between Christian and Muslim groups, often with severe facilities.

The conflicts which hitherto occurred within Jos, the capital of the State spread to local communities in 2010, beginning with the reported killing of 500 women and children in Dogo Nahawa village, located Southeast of Jos.

Thousands of villagers have so far been killed with at least 130,000 people displaced from over 50 communities, officials say.

At least 14 people including four Policemen have been killed within the past two weeks.

Four of these were killed in the Irigwe dominated Bassa Local Government Area.

Despite this however, Mr. Sunday Abdu, the President of the Irigwe Development Association says violence is not a solution.

A Christian usually should be for peace. The Bible says blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. I want to be a son of God not by mere confession but by conduct,” Abdu told MK.

According to him, the hostilities may have defied all efforts to build peace but “There is no stop to this search for peace.”

The path to peace is tedious and rough and wicked, yet, if you persist and insist you will succeed.

My subjects are dying everyday and if they all die who will i lead? So i need peace to keep these people alive,” said the community leader.

Last year January and March, similar attacks in Daffo, Bokkos LGA led to the death of over 40 people and the sacking of over 7000 people from 11 villages.

However, the community has long adopted multi-stakeholder partnership to restore peace.

District Head of Daffo, Saf Dauda Mandong told MKnews that several committees have been set up involving Ron and Fulani natives to prevent recurrence of the classes.

We set up the hate speech committee, dialogue and other committees and have seen a drastic drop in the attacks,” the community leader told MKB.

Last week Tuesday, an attack on a Police patrol team in the community occurred during a peace and security meeting at the traditional ruler’s palace with Fulani leaders in attendance.

The attack which led to the death of two Policemen has not however affected the resolve of the villagers to work together for peace, Mandong said.

“We will continue until we find an end to this evil,” he said.

His Fulani counterpart in the community, Mr. Shagari Abdullahi said most of their youths have been enrolled in school to enlighten them against violence and other crimes.

“The few cases of attacks we still hear about at mere efforts of criminals who are bent on destroying the State,” he said in a telephone interview.

The day we will all come together and sincerely work for peace, and say these criminals must be exposed, we will all be surprised because these criminals are all among us and in every tribe and religion”, said Mr. Nura Mohammed, the Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Plateau State branch.

Criminals leveraging on the insecurity in the state for personal gains can however not be uprooted except through “joint vigilance,” Ms. Patience Chaimang, Search for Common Ground’s Plateau and Nasarawa State Coordinator told MK.

The fact that people are making commitment to peace does not mean that they should be relaxed.

They have to at the same time strengthen mechanisms for the protection of their communities. Protecting their communities means that they must set up a joint vigilante to secure their borders and the neighborhoods to know who comes into a community, when, from where and why,” Chaimang said.

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