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Plateau unrest: US, German envoys join communities to sign peace pact




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 agreement was brokered by the Geneva, Switzerland-based Centre
for Humanitarian Dialogue, HD, which is an independent mediation
organisation, dedicated to helping improve global response to armed
conflict. It has been mediating in the inter-communal disputes in
Plateau and Kaduna states.

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.

He told the communities that by continuously engaging in crisis,
money meant for development will be diverted into private pockets in the
guise of security votes, adding that he was amazed at the billions of
naira siphoned by the previous administration and when he made
inquiries, he was told that they were expended on security.

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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.

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