Plateau sets up 14-man Fulani/Berom peace comittee to reconcile differences
“We decided to select seven representatives from each of the groups to enable them resolve their differences.
“The peace committee is already working and they have gone very far,” Lalong told newsmen in Jos on Sunday.
He said that the committee was at the behest of the warring groups after meeting with them separately and collectively.
“We met the two groups separately, listened to them, before we met them together where we gauged their feelings toward each other.
“From what they said, they all appeared to have resolved that government should allow them to work out a peace process from among themselves without any external interference.
“They have all poured out their minds and you will be surprised at how open they have been to each other.
“Honestly, they all want to live in peace. They are all tired of the violence and want to live peacefully because they have all seen and felt the consequences of the lingering violence,” he said.
Lalong said that government’s involvement in the talks had been supervisory.
“The committee is chaired by a government representative. The secretary is also a government representative.
“We did that to free the atmosphere for the talks to proceed without distractions over who should chair or lead.
“We also believe that such stance had smoothened the flow of the talks because they all feel equally treated and are confident that no one is being treated as a minority in the talks,” Lalong explained.
The governor urged the warring communities to embrace the peace process, pointing out that the consequences of the instability had been very disastrous to all groups.
“They are farmers and herdsmen that need freedom to enter the bushes to farm and graze without fears of being attacked or ambushed.
“The restrictions to cattle movement and distractions from farms have brought untold hardships to them and they appear anxious to put that experience behind and embrace each other,” Lalong said.
The governor expressed government’s readiness to parley with any group or community toward a peaceful Plateau, noting that such peace was crucial to the state’s development and growth.
“We want a better state. We want to grow as a people and we want development projects.
“We also want our Irish potatoes and poultry farms to flourish and buyers to come in from inside and outside the country. We can’t get such dreams to reality if there is no peace and if the impression is created that Plateau is not safe,” he said.
Lalong advised communities to enlighten their youths on the ongoing peace process to avoid pockets of clashes that could create fear, doubts and suspicion amongst those involved in the talks.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two groups have been locked in a lingering violence that had cost several lives, while farms and livestock had been destroyed.
Government’s efforts toward settling them had always ended in a naught as fresh violence often erupted sometimes immediately after one peace agreement or the other.