President Goodluck Jonathan held a late night meeting Wednesday with leaders of the Hausa/Fulani community living in Plateau state, in a renewed attempt to resolve the crisis that has pitted the group against the state’s indigenous Berom people.
The meeting indicated the government may be adopting a fresh approach to tackling an unrest that has frustrated several past peace efforts.
The leader of the Hausa delegation, Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande, said the meeting inspired hopes the unrest may after all be resolved.
“Yes, with this presidential intervention, from the way the president has given us time and the way he listened to us like a father listening to his children, you know that when you see your father in a pensive mood, you know that the matter must have touched him so much,” said
Mr. Nakande, former Minister of State for Information and Communication.
The Fulanis were represented by the Protem National Secretary, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders of Nigeria, Sale Bayari.
The meeting came after the president had on Monday met with the Berom elders led by the Gbong Gwom Jos, Jacob Buba Gyang, a retired Comptroller General of the Nigeria.
The Berom group urged the federal government to implement all reports on the Plateau crisis, while the Hausas and the Fulanis leaders said they will only back the implementation of federal government-named panels, especially the Abisoye and Solomon Lar Commission of Inquiry.
Mr. Nakande said reports produced by panels set up by the Plateau state government had lost “contemporary relevance” and would be viewed as subjudice.
Clashes over indigeneship between the two groups have killed hundreds according to Human Rights Watch, with the latest conflict claiming a senator and a state lawmaker.
Wednesday’s meeting which took place at the first lady’s conference hall in the State House, Abuja, started about 10 p.m. and went on into the late hours of the night.
Both sides are expected to submit separate reports to the government before a general meeting of both communities with the president on a later date yet to be announced.
Mr. Nakande said “Once those flashpoints are addressed, the issue of saying that some people are regarded as not belonging as if they just sprang from another planet and landed where they are issues that should also be looked into, we have given the history of the Cattle rearers, it is not as if they came from somewhere else, they are as indigenous as any other people, only because of their occupational hazards which is cattle rearing and they are nomadic and they have to move from one place to another.”