Berom and Hausa Fulani communities have agreed to forgive each other.
As indigenes and residents of Plateau state begin new search for peace, one of the facilitators of the effort, a senator, Gyang Pwajok, has advised the military Special Task Force (STF) maintaining the peace, against ignoring complaints against some of its personnel.
“The STF authorities must fish out and deal with bad elements to rid the security system of such bad eggs,’’ he told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Sunday.
Mr. Pwajok, who spoke shortly after leaders of the warring Berom and Fulani communities in Plateau North resolved to forgive each other and embrace peace, noted that both sides had blamed the STF personnel of complicity in the lingering violence.
“Both sides accused the STF personnel of being part of the problem. In fact, at one of the sessions, some community leaders pointedly told the STF Commander that his men were involved in all manners of atrocities. We cannot sweep that under the carpet,” he said.
“The STF should face such accusations and seek to resolve them. There is no need for excuses. It is not a war propaganda against anyone because most of the speakers appeared fully convinced.’’
Both sides in the conflict, the Beroms and the Hausas, agreed to forgive the other at a declaration on Sunday in a measure expected to end years of bloodshed.
Mr. Pwajok described the peace talks as “very successful” and declared that he was particularly delighted that the speakers had been frank and even suggested solutions to end the bloodbath.
“What we have done is to take more practical steps by taking the message to the hinterlands where the peace process can be best driven,” he said.
“It is a non-military approach to violence and it is being initiated by the warring groups themselves with the interfaces transparently very frank, down to earth and straight forward.’’
The Senator said that more strategies were being put in place to consolidate on the gains so far made, and expressed deep optimism that permanent peace would soon return to the affected areas.
“I have always told them that we cannot fathom a situation without cattle or land. So, the simple resolve is that they must exist side by side because they have a symbiotic relationship.
“One needs the grass, the other needs the manure, so they must all be supported and allowed to co-exist.’’
Mr. Pwajok expressed his commitment to mediating on the prolonged crises, and expressed satisfaction at the level of support from leaders of all groups and stakeholders.
“I will put in my all to ensure peace in Plateau North. If that is all I can achieve as their senator, I shall feel satisfied.’’
During the crises, the worst hit areas included Riyom, Barkin-Ladi and Jos South areas where midnight attacks, killing of farmers and herdsmen on the fields, rustling and theft of cows as well as the destruction of farmlands have become commonplace.
Last year, a serving senator, Gyang Dantong, died in a stampede when gunmen attacked mourners who had gone for mass burial of victims of an earlier attack at Maseh, in Bachit District of Riyom Local Government Area in Plateau.