The Aten, Attakar and the Fulani communities of Ganawuri chiefdom in Riyom Local Government of Plateau state, over the weekend held a facilitated dialogue aimed at transforming the long-standing conflict between them to guarantee sustainable peace.
This was a systematic dialogue that started in 2020 by the Plateau Peace Building Agency (PPBA) and the Kaduna State Peace Commission with support from United States Institue for Peace (USIP).
The meeting was a review of the process and progress made from December 2020 when a Commitment to Peace Agreement was signed to June 2021, A review both on the side of the Peace Agency and that of the conflicting communities facilitated by the Director of Programs Plateau Peace Building Agency, Mr. Godwin Okoko and his counterpart from Kaduna Peace Commission, Mr Victor Abashi who have jointly facilitated more than 20 dialogues from then up till date.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, the Director-General of the Plateau Peace Building Agency, Mr. Joseph Langmang, appreciated that the communities have shown great improvement due to the open communication created after the commitment to peace was signed some months ago. He assured them that the Government of both Plateau and Kaduna States were committed to the process of ensuring restored communication and a rebuild of the relationship.
Mr. Lengmang said the Government was also committed to following up on the dialogue processes to a logical conclusion and ensuring that all parties to the conflict will leave the table satisfied. He also assured them that the Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong was keen on the Peace Process in the state.
He further appealed to communities within the state to help Government in the process of peacebuilding and begin to desist from all criminal activities as the Plateau Peace Building Agency was not resting but committed to carrying out its mandate as such driving peace process and visiting of conflicting communities will be a continuous exercise until all communities have the ability to resolve their issues without the involvement of a 3rd Party.
His Royal Highness, The Attah Aten of Ganawuri said on his part was working to ensure harmonious living of the Attakar people who were displaced and the Aten people and the Fulani People who were all under his chiefdom. He said upon his elevation to the stool of a first-class chief, his mandate was to ensure peace and security within his domain. He said as a father to all he was going to ensure continuous dialogue until conflicting issues are resolved and assured that the Palace was open to everyone within the chiefdom.
He begged that no one should go about in the name of any tribe o religion to distort the peace currently enjoyed as all issues will be eventually resolved.
The Gwom Attakar also gave his assurances on the peace process as well as the Ardo of the Fulani community with the same assurances of peace.
The process of the systematic dialogue has been able to bring the conflicting tribes/communities together and create an open door of conversation. Intra dialogues have been held with the Aten youths, women and elders with the aid of the first-class chief, the Attah Aten of Ganawuri Chiefdom. with further Intra-dialogues with the Attakar youths, women and elders with the aid of the Gwom Attakar from Kaura Local Government from Kaduna State.
The process also ensured further dialogue with the Chairman of Riyom Local government of Plateau state and Kaura Local Government in Kaduna state. With the systematic dialogue leading to the signing of a Commitment to Peace Agreement on December 21st, 2020 which states that every form of violence or hostility will cease pending the resolution of all contentious issues that have been identified by the communities of Aten, Attakar and the Fulani
Since the Attakar people were displayed from Kum village under Ganawuri Chiefdom in 2013 as a result of a conflict that started in Kaura Local Government in Kaduna state, leading to the mass displacement of the Attakar people. The return of the people was yet to be made possible as a result of land issues, disputes of ownership, destruction of properties and loss of lives
The ongoing conversation has revealed that over 600 houses were destroyed as a result of the conflict of which the Attakar people were most affected with others belonging to the Aten communities and Fulani communities. The dialogue has also spurred that the Attakar people should have local representation in the palace of the Attah Aten and buttress more conversation on resettling the Attakar people.
The meeting also led to a proposed program by the Plateau State Peace Building Agency with support from the United States Institute for Peace, to train selected members from each of the tribal communities on trust and confidence-building.