A Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), has broken the jinx by bringing together two opposing communities in Central Nigeria’s Plateau State of Ryiom Local Government Area.
The communities known as Mahanga and Jol, has for the past 18 years been at loggerheads thereby recording long hostility accumulating into number of deaths.
However, the NGO otherwise called Search For Common Ground (SFCG), organised an Inter Dialogue session for both communities, creating a platform for them to ventilate and harmonize their grievances aimed at proffering solution to the long face-off.
Speaking at the forum recently, the Project coordinator, SFCG, Patience Chaimang, said since the long conflict started for over 18 years, this is the first time the two groups are coming together to find a solution.
“Today is record breaking for us at (SFCG), we have work tirelessly to see that these two groups come together to say no to blood shedding. “Before now we have met with them separately at a forum tagged intra-dialogue and today we are bringing them together.
“Their coming together is a starting point for peace. We believe that peace is a process and taking this first step is very crucial as we intend to sustain it for a maximum and effective result”, Chaimang said.
Highlighting some of the grievances that led to frequent crisis, a woman from Jol community, Chundung Thomas, said indiscriminate grazing close to areas of residence, incessant attacks on the community, ambush on the roads and attack on youths, tin miners, raping of women in the bush by herders contributed to prolong violence in the villages.
She also noted that illegal occupation and erecting of structures on farmlands without permission by herders should stop to resolve the problem.
Also a Fulani native, Mohammed Tanko from Mahanga community said beating of shepherds in the bush by farmers which resulted to injuries and sometimes death, killing of cattle, and their shepherds by farmers have prolonged violence in the communities.
Our correspondent however reports that both communities refrained from throwing blames at each other but focused on a common ground that will further unite and strengthen their relationship going forward.
Sky News Africa reports that none of the participants from both communities at the forum took responsibility of chasing residents out of their villages.