The Director-General of the Peace Building Agency (PPBA), Mr Joseph Lengmang, said the agency is building confidence and mutual tolerance between farmers and herders in Plateau State to tamp down on the cycle of violence between both sides.
Lengmang disclosed this on Wednesday at the closing ceremony of a two-year programme titled ‘Consolidating the mechanisms for sustainable cooperation and transformation of the farmer/herder conflict in Plateau State’, funded by the United State Embassy, Abuja, Nigeria, held in Jos, Plateau State.
He noted that the project commenced in 2018 at the peak of the farmer-herder conflict in the state and has resolved most of the issues that lead to the destruction of lives and properties.
“We have been able to bring together farmers and herders in the crises brewing areas of Bassa, Jos North, Jos South, Riyom and Barkin-Ladi Local Government Areas to tolerate each other.
“We have building confidence in the two groups and they have accepted to work together without suspicion at the community level. Since the programme started in 2018, the crime rate in those areas have reduced; tolerance and peaceful coexistence has also been embraced.”
Lengmang noted that whatever has been the issues of disagreement that must have led to violence in the past must be resolved as war is never an option to peaceful coexistence.
The Director of Programme PPBA, Mr Godwin Okoko, explained that the cardinal objectives of resolving issues of conflict to eliminate crime and violent attacks that lead to death among herders and farmers was addressed at the community level with the people.
He noted that the Agency is working in collaboration with community leaders to deal with the issues of recent conflicts in Mangu and Bassa Local Government Area of the state which led to death and destruction of properties.
Mr Okoko appreciated the United States Embassy for funding the programme and noted that the gesture is capable of breaking the bearer of conflict between farmers and herders to promote peaceful coexistence in the state of sustained.
The Fulani community leader in Bassa, Ardo Wada Waziri, National President of Irigwe community Development Association, Chief Chinke Dodo and Youth Leader of Gyel community, Yakubu Gyang Gak said there has been a strong synergy between farmers and herders since the programme started in the areas.
Waziri, Dodo and Gyang acknowledged that there is a high level of tolerance among various communities where the natives and the Fulani collaborate to fight crime in the state.