Violence Conflict – My constituents still displaced – Federal lawmaker Dr. Mwadkwon
By Golok Nanmwa,Jos
Member Representing Barkin Ladi and Riyom Federal Constituency of Plateau State in the House of Representatives, Hon. Simon Mwadkwon has said eleven persons have been reportedly killed within the last two weeks in Riyom and Barkinladi local government areas of Plateau state.
He further said his constituency has lost over 50 villages and dozens of lives in the past years that violence erupted the State.
He noted that several schools particularly Government Secondary School Ropp in Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area has been taken over by herdsmen
for accommodation without any intervention from government authorities.
Mwadkwon stated this in Jos at the weekend while speaking with Journalists.
The Lawmaker said the 11 persons were killed last week in Attakar and Vett villages of of Barkin-Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas.
“My Constituents are still displaced, already on record we have 13,000 Persons are displaced, homeless, some are at currently at the internally displaced camp in Jos South LGC, and we have report that some girls are being rape as well as been affected by some social challenges”
“We have sent a reminder letter to the Office of the Vice President over the pledge of N10 billion made to resettle Internally Displaced Persons IDPs in the Plateau. We are still appealing to government to come to the aide of these people.”
Mwadkwon noted that most of the girls in the Internally Displaced Persons’ camp have been raped while others give out themselves to enable them survive as they have been forgotten in the camp.
The lawmaker lamented that several families in Barkin-Ladi and Riyom have made effort to rebuild their houses but herdsmen come at night to destroyed them.
He called on the Federal government to recover all villages taken over forcefully by
herdsmen and return them to the villagers for peace in the State.
It could be recalled that Critical stakeholders including the Plateau government, religious, traditional, political, youths, women and community leaders as well as security agencies and civil society organizations have come together to strategize on how to improve on the existing peace so that citizens can have a reprieve. Tremendous successes have been recorded as a result of these engagements as the almost daily mass or isolated killings, ambushes which were recorded especially in Riyom, Bassa and Barkin Ladi local government areas have greatly reduced.
With the feat so far attained and a target of achieving more, an International non-governmental organization, Search for Common Ground has built the capacity of hundreds of community members and media practitioners to promote peace, peaceful co-existence and practice peace journalism. The organization recently inducted 21 Media Fellows from three North Central States of Plateau, Nassarawa and Benue with a charged on them to set peace agenda in their reportage so as to mitigate the negative violent narratives being portrayed in the region.
The Country Director, who was represented by a Senior Programme Manager of the NGO, Olutoyin Falade, said the selected Fellows were expected to produce contents that help to demystify the farmer/herder conflicts, breakdown stereotypes and biases.
Falade said expected contents were also to promote positive narratives around farmer/herder collaborations and de-escalate tensions that could fuel violence.
She pointed out that the engagement of Media Fellows by the organization was the first of its kind in Nigeria, urging them to make maximum use of the opportunity and contribute their quota towards a peaceful society by exhibiting high sense of commitment in the discharge of their responsibility.
She explained that the mission of the organization is to transform how individuals, organizations and governments deal with conflict, away from adversarial approaches and towards cooperative solutions.
“Search seeks to help conflicting parties understand their differences and act on their commonalities. Search implements projects from 50 offices in 43 countries, including in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States”. She said.
She noted that Search for Common Ground has worked closely with communities involved in the affected states with a view to righting the wrong eliminating suspicious behaviours among the warring groups.
We must promote mutually beneficial relationship between herdsmen and farmers by searching for common grounds and emphasising the gains of togetherness,’’ he said.
The group has used a multifaceted people-approach to address the issue of mistrust and isolation between farmers and herders in Northern Nigeria.
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