Nasarawa State and Benue State issue Communiqué on Peace around Boundary Communities.

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF THE JOINT SECURITY MEETING OF THE GOVERNORS OF NASARAWA AND BENUE STATES, UMARU TANKO AL-MAKURA AND SAMUEL ORTOM AT THE GOVERNMENT HOUSE, LAFIA: THURSDAY, 21ST JANUARY, 2016

1.0 In furtherance of the efforts of the Governors of the two States to ensure sustainable peace among the ethnic groups in the two States, particularly, communities living at the border areas of the two States, their Excellencies Umaru Tanko Al-Makura and Samuel Ortom, Governors of Nasarawa and Benue States respectively convened this meeting.

2.0 The meeting was attended by the Deputy Governors of Nasarawa and Benue States; Members of the State Executive and Security Councils of the two States; other top Government functionaries of the two States; members of the State Houses of Assembly representing border communities of the two States; Chairmen of Local Government Councils of the two States sharing borders; Traditional Rulers and community leaders as well as representatives of the border communities of the two States.

3.0 Participants at the meeting commended their Excellencies, the Governors of Nasarawa and Benue States for their doggedness in ensuring sustainable peace and security among the different ethnic nationalities in the two States. Similarly, security agencies in the two States were commended for their efforts in ensuring peace, law and order as well as their prompt response to crisis situations. The meeting also appreciated the efforts of Traditional Rulers and community leaders in conflict resolution among warring parties within and among communities of the two States.

4.0 After frank and brotherly deliberation, participants at the meeting from both States resolved as follows:

5.0 Recommendations:
Immediate:
i) The two States should tackle this problem frontally;

ii) Intensify surveillance and patrol activities in their border areas;

iii) Identify the perpetrators, sponsors/financiers of this heinous crime and be made to face the full wrath of the law;

iv) Identify and expose routes and hideouts being used by criminal gangs and their collaborators;

v) Allow Fulani herdsmen access to and from across river Benue;

vi) Fulani herdsmen should refrain from trespassing and occupying farmlands and communities;

vii) Farmers and herdsmen should also refrain from taking laws into their hands at the slightest provocation, they should endeavor to report any trespass or breach of their rights to the constituted authority nearest to them;

viii) Every community should take security issues seriously and as a matter of priority establish a local security committee comprising community leaders, security personnel, youth and vigilante groups. The Committee should undertake advocacy and enlightenment, profiling of migrants into communities and mopping of illegal arms and ammunition as well as disarmament on both sides;

ix) The two Governors should jointly visit Agatu areas on both sides of the two States with a view to pacifying the already aggrieved people of Agatu extraction;

x) Regular visit on each other by Traditional Rulers and Chairmen of Local Government Councils from Nasarawa and Benue States, particularly those at the border areas;

xi) Establishment of Joint Security Committee for the two States to ensure total disarmament by both communities in Nasarawa and Benue States with membership as follows:

a) Deputy Governors of the two States;
b) SSGs of the two States;
c) Commissioners of Police of the two States;
d) State Directors of DSS of the two States;
e) Commanding Officers of the Nigerian Army in the two States;
f) Special Advisers, Security of the two States;
g) Special Advisers, Special Duties of the two States;

xii) Task Force for disarmament by the two States;

xiii) Constitution of Joint Peace and Reconciliation Committee by the two States with members as follows:

a) Joint State Chairmen of the Peace and Reconciliation Committees of the two States;

b) Chairmen of Local Government Councils at the border areas of the two States;
c) Security Chiefs at the border areas of the two States;

d) Traditional Rulers at the border areas of the two States;

e) Cultural Leaders (Agatu and Fulani) at the border areas of the two States;

f) Vigilante groups at the border areas of the two States; and

g) Clergymen at the border areas of the two States.

Long Term:
i) Nasarawa and Benue States in liaison with the Federal Government should set-up grazing areas and also encourage the establishment of ranches by individuals, groups and organization for cattle rearing; and

ii) Nasarawa and Benue States in liaison with the National Boundary Commission should look into the issue of demarcation of boundaries between the two States.

Signed

His Excellency, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura His Excellency, Samuel Ortom
Governor, Nasarawa State Governor, Benue State