The Federal government has been called on by Fulani and Berom communities in Barkin-Ladi and Riyom local government areas of Plateau State to tighten security in the villages to be sure of a violence-free farming season.
The community leaders spoke on Friday during a conflict sensitisation workshop for religious, traditional and community leaders organised by Search for Common Ground Nigeria and facilitated by the Project Officer, Ishaku Shuiabu. The event held in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State. A leader of Berom Women Development Association (BEWDA) Riyom LGA, Deborah Emmanuel,complained that several persons, mostly women, children and the aged have perished during several herdsmen attacks in the local government.
“Women in Riyom and Barkin-Ladi are pleading with Federal government to put in place necessary security measures to enable us to go to our farms.
“The workshop put together by Search for Common Ground will help in inculcating the culture of tolerance and mutual understanding between farmers and herdsmen in the state.”
Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Riyom Local Government Area, Alh Mato Ibrahim, challenged the Fulani and the natives to return to the old culture of tolerance where there was inter-marriage between the Fulani and the natives.
He said for there to be permanent peace, the Fulani and the Berom community in Riyom and Barkin-Ladi should forgive each other and come up with a common ground that will foster peaceful co-existence. Alh Ibrahim said the Federal government should take proactive steps in punishing those who have been found wanting in the crisis in Riyom and Barkin-Ladi local government to serve as a deterrent to other perpetrators.
A representative of National Orientation Agency, Plateau State, Susan Nuffy, called for the establishment of a formidable security force in the rural communities to protect farmers and herdsmen now that the farming season has come. She explained that farmers in respective communities in Barkin-Ladi are exercising fear of going to their farms especially now that the raining season is gradually coming up.
Also, a Principal Research Officer of National Human Rights Commission, Plateau State, Alubo Innocent, said the Fulani and the natives need to respect the rights of each other for there to be enduring peace. He said the two communities need to understand that it is wrong to destroy crops or graze on farmers’ fields while the farmers need to know that it is wrong to kill or rustle cattle that belong to the Fulani.