On Monday 26th September, the Special Committee on Peace Building invited various communities within the Jos metropolis for a parley on how to end the incessant killings on the Plateau.
The seven-man committee was recently inaugurated on the floor of the Plateau State House of Assembly on September 12. It contains the immediate past Speaker, Istifanus Mwansat as the chairman, Timothy Jatau, staff of the state House of Assembly as secretary, and five other legislators as members.
About thirty-four communities considered flash points for crises and other criminalities, including the three indigenous tribes of Jos North local government area, Non-Governmental Organizations, the physically challenged and religious groups were in attendance at the state house of assembly.
While welcoming the representatives to the interface, the chairman of the committee, Istifanus Mwansat disclosed that the inauguration of the committee was prodded by the security challenges the state is experiencing, and noted that “the House of Assembly deemed it fit and very expedient that we have this committee to also participate in the peace building process on the Plateau”.
Mwansat further maintained that their purpose is not one of an investigative committee, explaining that “the mandate of this committee is one: that we have arrived at the strategic junction where every responsible person, within and outside of Plateau must put on his thinking cap and ask the question: what do we do?” And in the course of the discharge of its function, Mwansat said that the committee has met with groups, heads of security outfits, N.G.O’s etc.
Opening the floor for discussion, barrister Smart Irabor, representing the South-South community lamented that countless similar forums had been conducted before, yet no positive result had been subsequently generated. He absolutely condemned the incessant killings while he admonished participants to educate their people on the need to consider citizenship, which he said had more advantages above indigeneship.
The representative of the Miyetti Allah cattle breeders, Mohammed Nuru Abdullahi blamed the government for the unending violence. Abdullahi further said the crises have persisted because the state government is pursuing an ethnic agenda against Fulani citizens in the hinterland. He further identified the tussle for the ownership of Jos as the trigger for the crises even as he advocated for the implementation of the white papers of past commissions of inquiries on the Jos crises.
Politics, religion, ethnic rivalry, lack of proper consultations for political appointments, rising wave of criminality as a result of proliferation of firearms, and tardy response of security personnel were all cited as reasons for the incessant violence.
Review and implementation of past reports on the Jos crisis, perpetual dialogue among communities, total disarmament of the various warring communities, genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, rehabilitation of youths, and compensation to victims were all cited as possible solution.
The communities finally resolved to live together as one in a peaceful atmosphere.
The chairman of the committee, Istifanus Mwansat expressed his joy over what he considered a successful parley.
In the mean time, one person has been confirmed killed and another gravely wounded in a midnight attack by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Larin, a village bordering Barkin Ladi and Riyom local government areas.
A similar incident occurred simultaneously in Vyel, but was repelled by the locales that had kept vigil. No life was lost in the attack.
Reacting to the attacks, the Chairman of Barkin Ladi Local government area expressed regret that the perpetrators of these heinous deeds are still bent on prosecuting their sanguinary agenda and appealed for calm amongst the people.