From Julius B. Kezi, Kafanchan
Communities in southern Kaduna hitherto involve in communal clashes and frequent attacks have endorsed a peace accord, indicating their resolve to live in peace with one another.
The Peace Accord titled “Kafanchan Peace Declaration” was facilitated by a Non-Governmental organization “Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue” (HD), sponsored by the Canadian Government which initiated the inter-communal Dialogue process in the area last year.
The Peace agreement was signed by communities in five local governments namely, Sanga, Kachia, Kaura, Zangon Kataf and Jema’a, who experienced different forms of crises in recent years.
Speaking at the declaration ceremony held in Kafanchan, the Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, expressed the hope that all the parties would uphold the agreement.
He said government will study the declaration with a view to setting up a committee to monitor its implementation to guarantee enduring peace.
While urging the people not to take peace for granted, Malam El-Rufai said the state government was committed to ending impunity.
The governor commended the communities for choosing the path of dialogue in finding solutions to the lingering security challenges in the area.
Chairman of the occasion and Catholic Bishop of Kafanchan Diocese, Most Reverend Joseph Danlami Bagobiri, described the agreement as a step in the right direction.
Bagobiri stressed that people lose nothing when they promote peace but regretted that all is often lost in the event of war.
In a keynote address, Dr. Ahmad Dogarawa who spoke on the topic “Resolving inter-communal conflicts in Kaduna” urged all adherents of all faiths to value and respect the religions of each other.
He suggested that community leaders should sanction anybody found to be exhibiting what he called “Excesses in religious matter” to serve as deterrent to those wishing to foment trouble.
Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau state who also graced the occasion commended HD for the good work done in his state, which has yielded positive result.
Lalong commended the communities in Southern Kaduna for resolving to co-exist peacefully. However, he said more advocacy is needed and that government of Kaduna state needed to support the peace building process which requires the backing of the Executive, Legislative, Judiciary arms of government and community leaders.
Giving an over view of the Dialogue, HD Senior Adviser for Africa and lead mediator Mrs. Alice W. Nderita thanked participating communities for their interest in the dialogue and accepting to endorse a peace accord which she said must be jealously sustained and propagated to ensure its success, adding that Governor El-Rufai administration, which has undertaken reforms in all sectors, should maintain justice which will fasttrack the peace building process.
The HD lead mediator outlined farmers/nomads clash, indigene-settler, religious bigotry and women issues as the most magnified in the communities and to a larger proportion, affecting peaceful co-existence and security in Nigeria.
She assured that her organization will not relent but shall remain in the state to ensure that the peace pact succeeded.
Dignitaries at the occasion included the Canadian and Norwegian Ambassadors to Nigeria, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Kaduna state, Mrs. Amina Dyeris Asijuwade, the Chief of Staff, Kaduna state, Hajiya Hadiza Bala Usman and traditional rulers in Southern Kaduna, among others.