Kaduna Killings: Community Leaders Sign Peace Pact

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Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
Following recent communal clashes in southern Kaduna, Kaduna State, which claimed several lives in the area, 29 communities spread across five local government areas of the state have signed an agreement to remain in peace and not allow a repeat of such incident.

 Leaders from the five council areas, made up of Kachia, Kaura, Jema’a, Sanga and Zangon Kataf, signed the pact after a parley brokered by Swiss government sponsored Nairobi-based inter-governmental organisation, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD). CHD has been involved in peace and conflict mediation process in Plateau and Kaduna States.

 More than 20 people were allegedly killed recently when clashes erupted among communities in Jema’a Local Government Area in the southern part of the state. The areas affected were Godogodo, Ninte, Gada Biyu, Gidan Waya, Antang and Dogon Fili as well as Kagoro in Kaura local council area.

 In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the communities said they were committed to peaceful resolution of the conflict that led to the clashes, and also assured their people and leaders and the wider community of their continued commitment to uphold the peace in Southern Kaduna.

 While acknowledging that inter-communal dialogue process which focused on, among other issues, the prevalent farmer/grazer conflicts and the return/settlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is a continuous process, the leaders said they were committed to sustaining the peace through ensuring the implementation of the dialogue recommendations.

The communiqué said: “The inter-communal dialogue among the 29 ethnic groups has succeeded in helping us to begin to jointly find solutions to our issues and concerns. The community-driven approach has given us more direct involvement in finding these solutions. The dialogue cut across all levels of civil society and has sought the buy-in and support of key stakeholders (federal, state and local governments, the business community, traditional rulers, community and religious leaders, women and young people).

“The bottom-upward approach provided a different model for addressing the issues and was received positively by our communities. We cultivated a new culture among ourselves of embracing dialogue as the mechanism for dealing with our disputes, hoping to ultimately lead to peaceful co-existence among us.”

 The peace pact, entitled ‘Kafanchan Peace Declaration’, also assured the people that every attempt must be made to end the attacks and ensure that there were no reprisals, stressing: “We are conscious that the failure to implement an agreement is worse than not reaching an agreement at all. Thus the communiqué outlines one key issue that has affected the implementation and explains how to shore up factors that can positively affect its implementation and eliminate, contain or manage those which may undermine it.”

As part of fence mending, the leaders agreed on joint condolence visit to affected families, resettlement of displaced Fulani and natives and also hold perpetrators accountable in order to end impunity.