Home Opinion The musings of a Ruga girl; The pains of Mangu

The musings of a Ruga girl; The pains of Mangu

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Plateau state is located in the north central and has an estimation of about three million people and is named after the Jos Plateau, a mountainous area in the north of the state with rock formation, with a lovely climate and cool weather. It is also the twelfth largest state in Nigeria. Plateau State has had its fair share of conflict since 1994 to date the past government went as far as establishing the Plateau Peace Building Agency and one of its cardinal mandates is to promote the culture of Peace and harmonious co-existence among the diverse ethno-religious groups in the State.

Despite these efforts there are still relapses in some local government areas of the state. Plateau state has been known as “The home of peace and tourism” in Nigeria, but the situation has made it not thriving in that sector, blessed with Kurra and Assop falls, Rocks like Wase rock in a dome-shape inselberg which juts out of the ground with 450 meters height and one of the only five in Africa.

With highlands like Kerang which is a volcanic hill and serves as a source of mountain springs, which are used for bottled spring water. The state has over forty ethno-linguistic groups. I was in pain when my grandmother placed that call in the middle of the night crying and telling me that nine (9) members of her family were killed in a day…it was devastating, I have contributed immensely to the relative peace that we have been enjoying. I was lost and hurt, is our collective efforts in vain? Why the relapse? I could not go back to bed; it kept playing out again and again. I picked my phone to place a call to family members but I noticed it was way past midnight.

I find it hard to control myself for the night to go and give way to the morning. In introspection I think about the devastation this conflict has caused. the lives that are lost, communities displaced, infrastructure destroyed, and economic activities are disrupted. The social fabric of affected communities is torn apart, leading to mistrust, fear, and division among different groups. The psychological impact on individuals, particularly women and children, is immense, causing trauma and long-lasting emotional scars.

As the former team lead mediation and dialogue unit of the Plateau Peace Building Agency we have Provided tailor-made expertise supporting PPBA mediation, dialogue or crises response efforts in line with its 5 years strategic plan. We have worked tirelessly in planning and facilitating community dialogue and Peace building sessions at the grass-root level. The continuous resurgence of insecurity, violent attacks and counter attacks is highly intense in Plateau State.

This has resulted to the loss of lives, killing of cattle and the destruction of farm lands and properties which are the outcome of variety of reasons such as hate and deep seated resentment; a product of untreated legacy of over a decade experience of violent conflict leaving individuals losing their livelihood and remain traumatized as a result of past experience, poor coordination of peace efforts leading to nowhere, the inability of the government to deal with the root causes of conflict which are largely systematic and structural, cultural gap leading to misunderstanding among various ethnic groups, the issue of inclusion, marginalization and alienation.

We participate in the mediation, facilitation and dialogue process, and contribute to the drafting of the relevant sections of expression of commitment to peace agreement in cultural and religious-based contexts. I have Planned and facilitated multi-stakeholder project events, meetings and especially the monthly plateau peace architecture forum(P-PAF) meeting with stakeholders.

Is it Bassa, Bokkos, Riyom, Barkin Ladi or Mangu Local Government Areas? All these local governments have their fair share of conflicts, some are peculiar to their environment but almost all have the same root causes such as historical grievances, boundary issues, land dispute, mistrust, misuse of identity among other issues. Until, we are ready to discuss our problems devoid of any sentiment, then shall we know how to live and coexist together albeit our differences, the upcoming generations the youths from age 23yrs below live in segregated communities which is also a breeding ground for terrorism and cults activities.

I am scared that the ugly side of the past is gradually coming back. These thoughts make me wonder what the present administration will do about this ugly trend and development barely two months after he was brought into office as the new Governor elect. It is worthy to note that conflicts in Nigeria pose significant challenges to the country’s social, economic, and political stability.

Addressing these conflicts requires a comprehensive and holistic approach that involves dialogue, mediation, conflict resolution, good governance, economic development, inter-community cooperation, education, and international collaboration. By working collectively to address the root causes and consequences of communal conflicts, Nigeria can foster peace, reconciliation, and sustainable development for all its citizens. These were Mallam’s words earlier this morning.

To me the recurring conflicts in Plateau and other parts of Nigeria have had devastating effects on lives, infrastructure, and social cohesion. A comprehensive approach that combines dialogue, security, socioeconomic development, interethnic and interreligious dialogue, justice, peace education, and good governance is essential for sustainable peace.

By prioritizing these strategies and involving all stakeholders, including government, community leaders, civil society organizations, and affected communities, we can gradually overcome the root causes of communal conflicts and pave the way for a more peaceful and prosperous future. As I retreat to my room to have a cup of tea, I am empathetic to those families whose eight-hundred houses have been burnt and over three-hundred lives that have been lost, this is really pathetic and de-humanizing, with a strong will that the government will surely act as soon as possible to put an end to this conflict.

*Sumayya Abubakar is a development worker, she is an educationist, and peace builder. She is the lead of Plateau based Muryar Fulani Peace Initiative Network Inc. She runs a schools’ system for marginalised populations in Plateau state, North central of Nigeria and can be reached at sumaiyaabubakar92@gmail.com

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1 COMMENT

  1. This is Deep my Sister. God is our strength, and refuge. May men of compassion truly rise to the situations around the world. Amen!

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