Amidst rising tensions and a surge in violent conflicts leading to the loss of lives and property worth millions in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau, Da John Hirse, the paramount ruler of Mwaghavul, convened a high-level critical stakeholders meeting today to address the ongoing crisis.
The meeting was today at Shang Tong ICT Centre, Mangu Local Government Area in response to the pressing need for peace and reconciliation in a once relatively calm and peaceful region.
The Mishkaham Mwaghavul Mwaghavul, Da John Putmang Hirse called upon the Emir of Wase to lead the discussions aimed at finding a lasting solution to the situation in Mangu. He emphasized the importance of unity, urging all parties to embrace forgiveness and seek a path forward for lasting peace. He recognized the presence of key individuals capable of forging a pathway for peace and reconciliation.
“The Day was historic for the Mwagavul and Fulani as it presented a special occasion for both to resolve our differences and look into the problem of insecurity in our land,” Da John Hirse said, urging participants to speak the truth and their minds to facilitate lasting peace and harmony.
Emir of Wase, His Royal Highness, Alh (Dr.) Muhammadu Sambo Haruna, in his address, expressed his commitment to lead the deliberations and find common ground. He appealed to all involved parties to put aside their differences and allow peace to prevail, stressing the futility of conflicts.
Representing the Mwaghavul community, Joseph Gwankat, the National President of Mwaghavul Development Association, attributed the crisis to a break of trust resulting from incidents like grazing on farmlands, cutting of farmlands, and the killing of cows. He called for respect for traditional institutions and a clear intent for peaceful resolution.
From the perspective of the Fulani community, Alh Bello Shanono of Miyetti Allah expressed concerns about the segregation faced by the Fulani in Mangu. He welcomed the gathering as a positive step and commended the efforts of the Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven, in maintaining peace in the area.
Former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Bagudu Hirse, highlighted the involvement of external actors in the attacks and called for stricter control of the movement of goods and services to mitigate conflicts.
Alh Saidu Joro suggested the formation of a committee to harmonize peaceful coexistence measures and address illegal roadblocks.
Major General AE Abubakar, the General Officer Commanding 3 Armoured Division of the Nigerian Army and the commander of Operation Safe Haven, urged for a collective commitment to forgiveness and the distinction between right and wrong. He emphasized the significance of the high-level stakeholders’ commitment, stressing that it would be a sign of great disrespect if the situation deteriorated further after such a meeting.
General Abubakar pointed out the influence of external actors in Mangu and called for a clear separation between criminal activities and the underlying issues. In reference to the recent criminal act of killing the ardo, he emphasized the need to identify and address those responsible for such acts and encouraged community members to foster better mutual understanding during conflicts while remaining vigilant against those who promote conflicts.
He reassured the attendees of the army’s dedication to confiscating illegal and light weapons within the community and expressed concerns about drug use among young people, which can lead to various crimes. As stakeholders, he urged everyone to contribute to maintaining peace, emphasizing that achieving peace requires a change in mindset. He also assured the presence of a highly responsive security force on the ground and revealed that arrests had been made in connection with the recent killing of the Fulani leader, with plans to bring those arrested to justice soon.
In closing, Professor Sonni Gwanle Tyoden, the Immediate Past Deputy Governor of Plateau State, lauded the traditional rulers’ efforts and called upon the youths to play a pivotal role in achieving lasting peace. The Transition Implementation Committee Chairman of Mangu Local Government Council, Hon. Markus Artu also appreciated the efforts of traditional rulers and called for swift action to propose solutions for peace within the Local Government Area.
The meeting concluded with a resolution to schedule a conversation at the Palace of the paramount ruler of Mwaghavul for youth leaders from the Mwaghavul community and the Fulani to further dialogue on peaceful resolution. A committee of key actors and stakeholders will also be formed to develop a joint resolution for sustainable peace in Mangu Local Government Area. This group will later meet with a committee selected to meet His Majesty, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, CON, the Gbong Gwom Jos, and the Chairman of the Plateau State Council of Chiefs and Emirs for further dialogue on sustainable peace within the region.