Benue cri­sis: Tiv, Fu­lani, Aguta sign peace pact

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - From Hope Abah, Makurdi

Fu­lani herds­men and farm­ers in Agatu and Tiv ar­eas of Benue who had been in per­sis­tent con­flict yes­ter­day an­nounced a stop to the con­flict and killing on both sides.

Re­tired Brig-Gen. Atom Kpera, the leader of the Benue del­e­ga­tion who read a com­mu­niqué at a news con­fer­ence in Makurdi af­ter a two-day peace meet­ing at the Govern­ment House said the war­ring par­ties had re­solved to im­me­di­ately stop hos­til­ity.

“The Tiv, Agatu and Fu­lani have agreed to an im­me­di­ate ces­sa­tion of hos­til­ity and no party should at­tack the other,” he said at the news con­fer­ence which was wit­nessed by the Deputy In­spec­tor Gen­eral (DIG) of Po­lice, Op­er­a­tions Michael Zuoku­mor.

Brig-Gen. Kpera said the Fu­lani had not been chased out of the state and should feel free to live peace­fully with the Tiv and Agatu farm­ers.

“The Tiv/Agatu and Fu­lani will im­me­di­ately work to­gether to set up a joint task force to check the ac­tiv­i­ties of crim­i­nal el­e­ments on both sides and im­ple­ment de­tails of the peace agree­ment,” he said.

Na­tional Pres­i­dent­Gen­eral of the Myetti Al­lah Cat­tle Breed­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Bello Ab­dul­lahi Bodejo, con­firmed that a de­ci­sion was reached to end fight­ing and ri­valry be­tween the herders and Benue people who ac­cord­ing to him had been good friends of his kins­men un­til the re­cent en­mity. Bodejo as­sured that his mem­bers would heed the terms of agree­ment as both par­ties con­tinue to meet reg­u­larly to build con­fi­dence and keep track of its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

“We agree to all the peace talk dur­ing the meet­ing. We want peace be­cause the Tiv man is my brother, you see the Fu­lani were sus­pected for all the things hap­pen­ing but it’s not Fu­lani,” he said.

DIG Zuoku­mor warned the people against ru­mours and to shun acts that could heighten provo­ca­tion. He said he was del­e­gated by the federal govern­ment to bro­ker peace be­tween the war­ring fac­tions and ar­rived the state on Sun­day with more po­lice­men to keep sur­veil­lance in all parts the state.

“The restora­tion of peace is a grad­ual process but we must be­gin from some­where. We ad­vised all par­ties in­volve to go back and talk to their people to sheath their swords. Even in coun­tries where there are long wars, there al­ways comes a time when they would cease fire and be­gin to ini­ti­ate peace. We have started and we will fol­low it up. We are also go­ing to mop up arms,” he said. The com­mu­niqué signed by lead­ers of the var­i­ous fac­tions and their sec­re­taries re­solved to among other things dis­man­tle all il­le­gal road blocks and de­sist from search­ing mo­tor ve­hi­cles to ha­rass any­one.

They also re­solved to stop all at­tacks on per­sons of spe­cific na­tion­al­i­ties and their prop­er­ties and warned that people de­sist from any acts that con­sti­tute crim­i­nal of­fences for which the po­lice would not hes­i­tate to ar­rest and pros­e­cute of­fend­ers.

Mean­while, the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, has urged the federal govern­ment to look into the al­leged use of chemical weapons in the killings be­fore such act spreads to other parts of the coun­try.

“Chemical weapons have been used on our people and for the first time, I saw it yes­ter­day. It was con­cealed in can­is­ter shells,” he said while donat­ing re­lief ma­te­ri­als worth over N20 mil­lion to dis­placed per­sons in the state and called for peace among the war­ring fac­tions.

In an­other de­vel­op­ment, the Agatu Elders Fo­rum has called on the federal govern­ment to de­ploy more se­cu­rity per­son­nel to vil­lage bor­der­ing Kogi and Nasarawa States. In a com­mu­niqué signed by chair­man of the fo­rum, Peter Sule Ngbede af­ter a meet­ing at Otukpo, the elders con­doled with fam­i­lies who lost loved ones in the cri­sis and en­joined its sons and daugh­ters at home or in the Di­as­pora to co­op­er­ate with them in the quest for a last­ing so­lu­tion.

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