In a paper delivered by the Executive Vice Chairman of Kaduna State Peace Commission, KAPECOM, Barr. Priscilla Ankut, she said, the unfortunate Covid-19 pandemic impacted negatively on the commission’s activities during the last quarter.
Ankut made the revelation during a solidarity visit of the Director General of Plateau State Peacebuilding Agency (PPBA), Mr. Joseph Lengman at the commission’s head office at Tafawa Balewa Way, Kaduna, today.
She added that, despite such impact which limited the scope of their activities, they were able to carry out a lot of mediation activities, as well as engaging with relevant stakeholders and initiating dialogues among communities facing challenges of insecurity and conflicts.
According to the Peacebuilding and Mediation expert, “One of the issues on the top of our activities has to do with moving the peace process involving the Atakad and Ganawuri communities of Kaura and Riyom Local Government Areas of Kaduna and Plateau states respectively. Both communities have had some misunderstandings which, incidentally, had led to clashes and unfortunate loss of precious lives and properties.
“So far, two interactive sessions have been held at Abuja and Jos with traditional leaders from both communities, PPBA, KSPC, relevant stakeholders in the affected communities and representatives from the US embassy and United States Institute for Peace (USIP) attending as observers and facilitators of the peace process. At their last interactive sessions in Jos during the first quarter of this year, the traditional rulers of Ganawuri, His Royal Highness, Ata Ten Yakubu (Ganawuri)and His Royal Highness, AgwomTakad Tobias Nkom Wada (Atakad) presented their positions and challenges, and pledged to work for peace.
“I am happy to announce that both groups presented their cases from their traditional leaders’ perspectives which has provided us valuable insights into the conflict. We have realised that there is need for further engagement, not just with traditional rulers but also with relevant stakeholders including development associations and youth and women’s groups.
“We have now realised that, although the issues presented bordered around disputed boundaries, it would seem that the concerns are not exclusively around the boundaries, but about the growing intolerance between the two ethnic groups. Both KAPECOM and PPBA are working assiduously to approach all the issues holistically and professionally so as to achieve sustainable peace that is driven by the communities themselves. However, we have also discovered that a lot more inputs will be expected from religious, youth and women’s groups as well as development associations.
“I am happy to report that at the end of the two interactive sessions that were held in Abuja and Jos, participants resolved that both communities should cease all forms of violence and engage in constructive discussions to move the peace process forward. Also, both KSPC and PPBA were encouraged to step down the main framework resolutions of the consultations and also organise community dialogues involving all key community stakeholders at both Riyom and Kaura local government levels.
“KAPECOM, PPBA and our partners, especially the Attakar—Ganawuripeace process facilitator, that is USIP, are very hopeful that the engagement is heading towards consensus on settlement of the disputes and people displaced would have the opportunity to go back to their homes and resume normal and productive lives. The chief executives of the affected local government councils and traditional rulers, with the support of PPBA and KSPC, were encouraged to consider engaging experts at community level to engage with relevant stakeholders to carry out programmes that are geared towards building peace.
“Similarly, the Commission has stepped up efforts aimed at resolving the crisis between Gure and Kahugu communities in Lere and Kauru local government areas of Kaduna State. Both communities are locked in a boundary tussle that has claimed lives and properties in the last three years. At the centre of the crisis is a patch of land stretching nearly ten kilometres, and which is considered fertile for agricultural purposes by both communities.
“A KAPECOM delegation has visited the area on a fact finding mission and held discussions with the Chief of Piriga Chiefdom, His Highness, Jonathan Zamuna and representatives of several communities. In all, there are 12 ethnic or linguistic as well as religious groups in Piriga chiefdom. Only recently, a senior member of the Commission visited the communities again. The officer involved initiated a sustainable mediation process and with the enthusiasm of the stakeholders, we are hopeful that practical and lasting solution would be found to the conflict.
“As to the challenge in Kajuru Local Government Area, the Commission is pursuing a three-tract engagement strategy in a renewed effort to resolve lingering skirmishes there. This is coming on the heels of our latest engagement with stakeholders because we believe that there is need for fresh and creative inputs to sustain the momentum in the peace process.
“One of the tracts KAPECOM is pursuing is focussing on reconciling the Adara people. In the course of dialogue, we discovered that there were divisions among the leadership of the Adara. Unless there is agreement among themselves, the dialogue will not be coherent.
“Another tract the Commission is pursuing is working on resuscitating and working closely with the Kajuru Truth and Reconciliation Committee. At the last engagement with the Committee, we requested each community to avail it with their position papers. These position papers will inform us of the stand of each community—the Adara people, youth and women’s groups, and the Fulani—so that we will review the papers to enable us facilitate proper engagement. This will enable us see if proper agreement can be reached in some of the issues.”