Ahead of this year’s farming season, the Plateau State Peace Building Agency, PPBA, has stepped up efforts at fostering a healthy farmers/herders relationship to avoid violent conflicts during the rainy season.
At a briefing, the Director-General of PPBA, Joseph Lengmang, among others, said “As the wet season sets in the media have a role to play in dousing tension between farmers and herders in the State. So far, the Peace Building Agency has done a lot in terms of training both parties and creating platforms for them to share ideas and express their disagreements, to build consensus. It is important to consolidate this success by bringing to the limelight success stories of the peace project, such as the joint building of a borehole by the farmers and herders in Shendam Local Government Area, LGA, as we continue to work towards improving peaceful coexistence in conflict communities.
“Giving the fact that we are approaching the rainy season, one of the approaches is what we are doing now to raise awareness and sensitize the public that we are all stakeholders in the peace process, we will continue to encourage you to ensure that conflict between the two groups does not escalate and degenerate to a point of no gravitation. We continue to encourage them to fall back on the mechanisms that they have created as a response to potentially dangerous conflict situations.
“Respect for traditional institutions, if there is encroachment, based on the rules, the terms and conditions that they had agreed, they should seek for redress and do it peacefully so that we are not consumed in irreconcilable struggle.”
On the National/State Livestock Transformation Programme, NLTP/SLTP, he noted that “It was supposed to be a federal government policy response to the issue of farmers/herders crises, a very beautiful document, steering committees were set and a Board to provide policy guide and all of that but the process is a bit slow, we have not been able to take this forward for a variety of reasons but I think strongly that if the document is effectively implemented, it could to a large extent help in dealing with the issue.
“The whole idea is to see how the framework contributes to the transformation of the very conditions that engender conflicts between the farmers and the herders in Plateau State and Nigeria. The bane of good policies in this country is there fantastic on paper but there is a huge gap between the policy and implementation. The political will require to implement the policy and the resources could be very problematic.”
He called on citizens to shun all forms of ethnoreligious hatred which may undermine the successes or modest achievements recorded over the years in restoring relative peace in the State.
“In every election, there will always be one form of violent or conflict contestation and dispute over the electoral outcome but generally the election was peaceful here in plateau state and we would like to commend the media on the coverage of the just-concluded elections.
“We call on those who won to be magnanimous and those who lost to show grace in defeat. We need to collectively work together as it is no longer politicking but about governance. Discontented individuals and bodies should adopt institutional mechanisms to address violations and seek redress rather than inciting dispute and using ethno-religious hatred, as it undermines the successes of the electoral process and creates unnecessary wedges among citizens due to political differences.”