The Plateau State Governor-elect, Caleb Mutfwang, has promised to incorporate local hunters and vigilante organisations into the peace and security architecture of the State to complement the fight against insecurity.
While promising to build bonds of unity, he said the relationship between herders and indigenes was only one aspect of the crisis in Plateau which had sometimes been blown out of context for different reasons.
Mutfwang stated these in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja during a farewell courtesy visit on the outgoing British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, by a team of peace advocates led by Rev. Dr. Gideon Para-Mallam, President and CEO of the Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, where the parties reflected on a partnership to support the peacebuilding initiatives and reconciliation in Nigeria.
During the visit, Para-Mallam highlighted a number of grassroots peace interventions held in some states in Nigeria as a result of the partnership between the Peace Foundation and the British High Commission, since July 2019.
On her part, Laing expressed delight over some of the reports and the outcomes in terms of impact by various community stakeholders in some States.
She expressed deep appreciation at the composition of the delegation in saying goodbye to her which, she said, suggested hope for stronger peace-building initiatives and reconciliation going forward in Plateau State and Nigeria.
Mutfwang after the farewell/courtesy visit said, “The relationship between herders and indigenes is one aspect of the crisis of the Plateau that is sometimes blown out of context for different reasons. I believe that the people of Plateau have lived well in times past and we will ensure that this historical reality will continue.
“Again, from now on, going forward, we’re going to make sure that the people take ownership of the security processes or architecture by making sure that from the grassroots, we build structures for peace, right from the grassroots between communities amongst communities, and make sure that they themselves begin to trust themselves, and gradually all the potential areas of conflict will be eliminated.
“Of course, if you’re asking for specifics about the kinds of deployments we’ll make, we’ll make sure that the vigilantes and the hunters and all the security architecture on the ground today are effectively mobilized and mainstreamed into the security architecture.”
He said his victory in the governorship election was a victory for the Plateau people who, he said, performed credibly.
Mutfwang said, “These Plateau people did wonders, they voted and defended their votes. That’s why we’re here today. With God on our side, we’ll be victorious. Plateau people, I believe, are peace-loving people. I know that people have taken advantage of these volatile moments in the past.
“But I can see people that are ready to have a change of their narrative. I can see people who are saying enough is enough and therefore leveraging on that, we’re going to build bonds of unity. We’re going to lead by example and show that we mean well.
“We are going to govern with the principles of justice, we are going to govern with the principles of equity and fairness. And I believe that before long, people will see that we are sincere, and they will come and join hands with us to build a new Plateau.”