By Yakubu Uba
Yola – Farmers and herders in Bole Community in Yola South Local Government Area (LGA) of Adamawa on Thursday signed a Peace Accord towards ensuring peaceful co-existence in the community.
Speaking at the ceremony, Alhaji Babagari Baraya, the Executive Secretary of Murmushi Development Foundation, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) which initiated the accord, said the object was to prevent conflict between the two groups.
“Following conflicts between herders and farmers in Numan and other communities in the state.
“We felt that we need to maintain peace in Bole having sensed similar tension brewing in the community, so we decided to bring the two groups to the table for a dialogue.
“We listened to complains from representatives of farmers and those of herders before bringing the two parties together to discus and proffer solutions,” he said.
Baraya said the initiative was made through collaboration with the British Council.
“We collaborated with British Council under its Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCM) programme to arrive where we are today which is signing of the accord.
“We already have a 20-member Mediation Committee comprising representatives of both parties which has the village head as chairman to ensure implementation of agreements reached to promote peaceful coexistence,” he said.
Baraya said members of the committee had been provided needed peace building training to enhance their duties.
In his remarks, the state MCM Programme Manager, Mr Abdulkadir Bello, said the gesture was part of British Council’s assistance towards building capacity of government, security and community institutions to resolve disputes more effectively.
Bello said the MCM supported the training of mediation committee members and the carrying out of mediation activities between the farmers and herders.
“The terms of agreements in now put into a document which the parties formally signed today and we are hopeful that it will continue to promote peaceful coexistence and dialogue in the community.
“I want to commend traditional rulers in the area, particularly the Lamido of Adamawa for his support to this and other programmes of MCM and partners in the state,” Bello said.
In his message, the District Head of Yola, Alhaji Mohammed Mustafa, lauded all those involved in promoting peace in the area and urged other communities to emulate them.
In their remarks, representative of farmers, Mr Zirra Tumba, and that of herders, Malam Yau Isa, described the accord as timely and promised to abide by it.
“About 12 herders who violated the accord had been punished; this is to tell you on our part how committed we are to peace even before the signing of the accord,” Isa said.