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Published On: Wed, Sep 10th, 2014

Nasarawa: A peace submit and the rest of us

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By Bala Dan-Alkali

Tuesday, September 2 2014 will certainly go down in the history of Nasarawa state as the day when a consensus  was reached on the urgent need for the government to take measures, including full implementation of all white papers on allcommunal crises in the state as well as  white paper on the Alakyo killing of security operatives, to ensure not only peace and security reign buts also  to serve as deterrent to others who might in the future take the law into their hands . These consensus was taken following a peace and security submit convened by the state government as a way of getting to lasting solution to recurring communal violence bedeviling the state in the recent times.

The submit which drew participants from critical stakeholders of Nasarawa state who are genuinely and sincerely interested in peace and security of the state, took among other decisions: frowned at the attitude of some  stakeholders who despite been invited, but failed to attend the Submit and further resolved that government and relevant security agencies should collaborate with community leaders and cultural associations to disarm ethnic militia groups and culprit be punished.  The Submit then supports the proscription of Ombatse and reaffirmed that anybody professing membership of the group should be apprehended and prosecuted.

From these recommendations and given the commitments by the government of Nasarawa state and the security agencies who attended the Submit, communal crisis in Nasarawa state would soon become a thing of the

past. OF-course as widely acknowledged, communal crises in Nasarawa state has become a regular feature where hardly a month passes by without recording one form of the conflict or the other, despite the efforts of the state government to mitigate it through Community based conflict resolution initiatives. Communal conflicts in Nasarawa state to any keen observer of events in the state, has indeed reached an alarming stage that all well-meaning individuals across the country must come out and condemned it. Even though conflicts of any type are part of human nature but where it involves shedding of bloods of even the innocents then it became something else requiring concerted efforts of both the government and well-meaning individuals to put a halt to it.

The editorial carried out by Daily Trust of Thursday August 28, 2014 entitled: ‘Pulling the root of crises in Nasarawa

state’ deserves commendation from all peace loving people of Nasarawa state. The said Editorial has really heat the nail on the head, as it has come out clearly and locates the root of incessant communal crisis in Nasarawa state.  It is worth restating that looking at the political permutation, no discerning mind could disagree with the fact that there is political influence in what is happening in the state regarding these incessant crises.

It is worth noting that, failure of the federal government to take concrete action against Ombatse militia group following the brutal murder of scores of security operatives on lawful duties to Alakyo on May 7 2013 reveals the political coloration of all the communal crises.

Undoubtedly, the upstaging of 12 years of PDP administration by Umaru Tanko Al-makura of now APC has seriously irk the PDP so much so that they can  sacrifice anything to make sure that the state return to PDP.  In this connection however, one may recall the famous statement credited to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at a North-central zonal rally of PDP in Minna sometime ago when he was quoted as saying  before crowd of PDP supports  that the crisis in Nasarawa state could only come to an end when  the state return to PDP. This statement has indeed, cleared all doubts in the minds of the people regarding how partisan politics infiltrated the otherwise minor communal conflicts in Nasarawa state. This statement by President Jonathan is but a testimony of the fact that the PDP as a body is the one instigating crisis in Nasarawa state; Or else why the declaration that the crisis will end when PDP return as ruling party in the state?

However, if we are not convinced that PDP is behind all the conflicts in Nasarawa state, then how about the failed move to impeach  the governor by the state House of Assembly or how about the failure of virtually all the top PDP stalwarts to attend the just concluded peace and security submit convened by the government? Failure of federal government to do something against Ombatse cult group which the state government has since outlawed is not only another pointer to the culpability of the PDP in Nasarawa crisis but the failure to punish the militia group is what made the group to even become more daring in their activities in the state, that perhaps explains the reason why anytime there is an outbreak of communal violence in Nasarawa state you will discover it is between Ombatse ethnic militia and other ethnic tribe. They (Ombatse) tormented all the tribes in the Southern and Northern senatorial districts in the state. And like the Daily Trust Editorial observed, unless something is done to all those that spearheaded inter-ethnic division, these communal violence will continue to occur.

If what Governor Al-makura said to the effect that he has the backing of Presidency to prosecute all those indicted by the white papers on the entire communal crisis is anything to go by, then succor has finally come to the people of Nasarawa state regarding these communal violence.  Promotion of inter-ethnic division for political gains in Nasarawa state has been the source of all the conflicts in the state. Just as there were some select few with selfish but erroneous believes that it is them not any one else that has the strength and the goodwill as well as the support of their kinsmen to rule the state. But no single tribe, we make bold to say has neither the straight nor the number to produce the governor in Nasarawa state.

Those that have ears should listen.  Trooping to one political party for cover can’t help either, since the peace and security submit has once again brought out the oneness of the people of the state against terrorism as exemplify by Ombatse activities in the state.

Bala Dan- Alkali wrote in from Awe, Nasarawa state.

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