The Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Board of Trustees, Walid Jibrin, has urged the federal government to intervene in the violence that has rocked Nasarawa State.
Mr. Jibrin who spoke to journalists shortly after the peace summit held in the government house, Lafia, said that the call became imperative to forestall anarchy in the state.
The Nasarawa State Government convened the peace summit with stakeholders and security agencies to discuss strategies of averting frequent communal clashes in the state that have led to death of scores of people
The meeting was attended by traditional rulers, local government chairmen, and officials and politicians in Nasarawa. It was, however, boycotted by the PDP members of the State and National Assembly.
An All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator from the state, Abdullahi Adamu, was also absent although he sent in his apologies for not attending.
After the meeting, from which journalists were barred, Mr. Jibrin, who is the Sarkin Fulanin Nasarawa, urged authorities concerned to expand the meeting to involve more stakeholders and to discuss in details how best to bring lasting peace in the state.
The party leader did not provide details of the kind of intervention he wanted from the federal government, amidst rumours that the PDP-led federal government plans to impose a state of emergency in Nasarawa.
He, however, explained that he attended the meeting as a Fulani chief and not as PDP leader.
He also called on the state government to implement the resolutions of the meeting including the implementation of all government white papers on communal clashes in the state.
While declaring the parley open, Gov Al-Makura, a member of the APC, appealed to warring factions to sheathe their swords and embrace peace.
He said the meeting was not to apportion blames but to find solutions to the frequent crisis that has bedevilled the state for over two years.
The governor expressed worries over the killings across the state and restated government’s commitment to finding peace in the state.
“We strongly need this unity if we are to continue to forge ahead as a united and indivisible entity,” he said. “Without peace and unity, socio economic development will continue to elude any society”.
The governor commended the efforts of the security operatives, especially the military personnel for curtailing the violence. He said his administration would not sit by and watch disgruntled elements and enemies of the progress disturb the peace of the land.
He assured that anybody found or linked with the crisis, no matter how highly placed in the society, would face the full wrath of the law.
The Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone D, Adeola Adeniji, described the meeting as timely.
Mr. Adeniji said it is a crime for unapproved individuals to possess firearms and that anyone caught will be dealt with according to the law.
He called on aggrieved individuals to seek constitutional means for redress.
Attendees blame governor
Although journalists were barred from the meeting after the governors opening speech, attendees told PREMIUM TIMES that some of the participants blamed the governor for the crisis.
Mr. Al-Makura was reportedly blamed for not implementing previous white papers which would have served as deterrent to others.
Other allegations levelled against the governor were that he initially ignored the traditional institution in the state and also paralysed the local government system.
Some speakers at the meeting suggested that the local government system be reverted to status quo where everyone would work in his own local government; and the unified system be abolished.
The outlawed Ombatse militia group was also blamed for the violence in the state. The attacks on Assakio area of Lafia Local Government by the group were raised and the recent attacks on Arikya in Nasarawa Eggon Local Government by the Fulani were also condemned.
A suggestion was made to disarm all ethnic militia in the state while a committee is to be set up to find out why some of those invited did not attend.
Mr. Al-Makura, at the end of the summit, expressed his government’s commitment to resolve the crisis and also to ensure the implementation of all white papers.
Some of the resolutions contained in the 11-point communiqué include:
“Nasarawa State Government should implement all the Government Whitepapers on the previous Reports of Communal Violence/Disturbances in the State to the latter in order to serve as deterrent. This is not withstanding the implementation of the administrative aspect.
“Government should resuscitate Peace-Building Committees and should consist of Community-Based Organisations (CBOs), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Civil Society Groups, among others in order to nip disagreements in the bud before it escalates to full-blown crisis.
The communiqué also called for government and security agencies to collaborate with community leaders and cultural associations to disarm ethnic militia in the state and that culprits found guilty in any of the crisis be punished.