More than 30 communities in the Southern Senatorial District of Plateau State have agreed to end years of hostilities, which have led to the death of scores of people and destruction property worth millions of naira.
In an agreement, signed in Shendam, the communities who are from six Local Government Areas of Langtang North, Langtang South, Mikang, Qua’an Pan, Shendam and Wase, all resolved to put aside their differences and live in peace irrespective of tribe or religion.
The historic occasion tagged: “The Southern Plateau Peace Declaration”, was witnessed by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, W. Stuart Symington, his German counterpart, Bernhard Schlagheck, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, member representing Wase Federal Constituency, Idris Majei, Management Committee Chairmen of the six Local Governments in the zone, traditional rulers, among others.
Governor Lalong, who was elated by the development, said that the state had enjoyed relative peace since his administration came into office, which has enabled him to concentrate on delivering democracy dividends to the people.
While commending HD for their efforts in southern zone, the governor recalled that the organisation had achieved similar feat in the northern zone where it worked with Afizere, Anaguta, Berom, Fulani, Hausa, Igbo, South-south and the Yoruba communities, which had resulted in peaceful co-existence in the Northern senatorial zone.
He said, “I must say that the peace process has laid the ground for strong foundations, upon which more effective long-term work in peace building, will logically develop and progress,” stressing that it was for this reason that he established the Plateau Peace Agency.
In his remarks, the US ambassador, W. Stuart Symington, said his country was interested in peace on the Plateau because Nigeria is an important partner that the United States of America could not ignore.
Also speaking, Chairman of the occasion, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, recalled with nostalgia how many people had loved to live in Plateau because of the serene environment and expressed optimism that those days would surely come back.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Lead Mediator and HD Country Director, Mrs. Alice Nderitu, said that the signing of the agreement was not an end in itself, but the beginning of the peace process.