Benue Communities Sign Peace Deal

George Okoh In Makurdi

Two warring communities, Bonta and Okpute in Konshisha and Oju Local Government Areas of Benue State, have signed a peace agreement after several years of clashes.

The peace agreement, which was organised and coordinated by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and supported by the Federal Republic of Germany, held yesterday at the Benue Hotel, Makurdi, with the representative of Governor Hyacinth Alia of the state, and the two royal fathers: Tor Tiv, HRMs, James Ayatse and Ochidoma, and John Odogbo, in attendance.

According to the pact, all parties involved in the communal clashes in both local government areas agreed to shun conflicts and embrace peace in order to live in harmony and promote peaceful coexistence in the state.

Alia, represented by his deputy, Sam Ode, said only peace could engender development and economic growth in any society.

The governor noted that traditional rulers, religious leaders, women and youths all had various roles to play in building and sustaining peace for the mutual and peaceful co-existence of border communities

Alia assured the people that the resolution and recommendation from the Konshisha-Oju Natural Resource Peace Agreement would be studied carefully and appropriate action would be taken where necessary.

“The Benue State Boundary Committee appreciates the continued partnership and collaboration of the CHD in ensuring that workable solutions to the numerous land disputes and conflict challenges that face our state are being achieved.

“I, therefore, encourage the border communities of Konshisha and Oju local government areas to engage in the exchange of royal visits, cross-cultural and cross-border economic activities to pave the way for peaceful coexistence among them,” he said.

Earlier, the Country Manager, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Dr Chris Agoha, explained that the agreement fell squarely into the aspiration of the communities for total peace and development for all, especially the vulnerable population, which has suffered the negative impact of the crisis and has been deprived of their common heritage.

In a keynote address, the former Vice Chancellor of Benue State University, Professor Charity Angya, called on Konshisha and Oju communities to embrace peace, ensure contact cooperation and communication among individuals, and uphold conciliation for the sustainability of the peace agreement.

The two also royal fathers promised that the agreement would be executed to the letter and commended the Benue State Government for the cooperation accorded to humanitarian development in entrenching peace in the state.

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