By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) Of Kaduna State Peace Commission, (KAPECOM), Barrister Priscilla Ankut has lamented that internal and external factors have promoted major conflicts between communities in Riyom in Plateau and Kaura in Kaduna states.
She expressed while delivering an address during a solidarity visit of Director General Of Plateau State peacebuilding agency to its head office at Tafawa Balewa Way, Kaduna, on Monday, August 31, 2020.
“Whereas it would have been easy to resolve some of these misunderstanding, internal and external factors impacted negatively to even promote them to major conflicts,’ she said.
Barrister Akut said that Kaduna and Plateau states are not only neighbours; they share more than boundaries.
“For example, communities along our common borders are brothers and sisters and share same lineage.
“Their cultural practices are almost the same, and in terms of religion, they share virtually the same faith and worship in the same churches and mosques.
“This is significant in the sense that shared histories and mutual co-existence have been our way of life for centuries,” she said.
The EVC said that she was delighted to welcome the Director General of Plateau State Peacebuilding Agency (PPBA), who is on a solidarity visit to the headquarters of Kaduna State Peace Commission (KAPECOM).
“This visit is the second of its kind, the first haven been undertaken by the Board members of Borno Peace Agency.
“There is no doubt that this visit is unique in many senses given the fact that we are all involved in the business of peace.
“The most important aspect of this relationship has been the umbilical bond that has held our people together despite and in spite of skirmishes that occur once in a while.
“In recent years, we have experienced such flourish of skirmishes and conflicts involving our communities in Riyom (Plateau) and Kaura (Kaduna) which, unfortunately, led to the loss of precious lives.
“The conflicts have been simple in some instances, and complex in other circumstances,” she said.
Speaking further, she said that however, it is gratifying to note that the governments of Kaduna and Plateau states, under the able leadership of Malam Nasir el-Rufai and Dalong, have not only taken keen interest in the conflicts but are assiduously and creatively involved in ensuring that the lingering conflicts are resolved peacefully.
She pointed out.that in recent years, the Attakar and Ganawuri conflict has been the most recurring.
“Thankfully, both PPBA and KAPECOM, and assisted and supported by our partners, have been engaged in peacebuilding efforts to bring about sustainable peace in these communities.
“Our joint efforts are beginning to yield positive results. Whereas in the past contact, dialogue and mediation were almost non-existent, today that is the norm, and the visit of the Director General is a testimony of our resolve to work together to build sustainable peace in these communities.
“The visit of the Director General will undoubtedly step up our working relations,” she assured.
She explained that before now, officials of KAPECOM and PPBA, supported by their partners, especially the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), initiated two interactive sessions at Abuja and Jos with the aim of understanding and then kick starting the peace process.
“During those sessions a major headway was made which will step up the peace process: both communities have submitted their position papers detailing their grievances.
“Also, relevant government agencies in both states are now involved in one capacity or the other in trying to identify problem areas and offer possible solutions.
“The visit of the Director General also offers both sides an opportunity to rub minds and share experiences.
“Sharing experiences on several similar and dissimilar problems and conflicts offer us the opportunity to make rich harvests which will bebeneficial to both sides and to the general good of our people,” she added.
Akut added that it will also help in strengthening the bond ship among their people and communities, thereby promoting not only peaceful and sustainable co-existence but development and prosperity.
“We are happy to have the Director General and his team with us. I believe that we will have very rewarding exchange of ideas during our interactions which will impact positively in our work as merchants of peace,” she concluded.