How We Overcame Security Challenges In Barkin Ladi, By Council Chief

Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong
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Governor Lalong of Plateau State
Governor Lalong of Plateau State

By Asile Emmanuel, Jos

Barkin Ladi Local Government of Plateau State use to be in the news for bad reasons, especially due to the wanton killings and destruction of properties. In this interview with ASILE EMMANUEL, Head of the transitional Management of the council, Hon. Bitrus Doro, explains how he has been able to stabilise the peace in the area.


Sir, in recent times, hardly could a day pass by without news of attack and killings coming from Barkin Ladi Local government area. Can you share with Nigerians what magic you have done in achieving relative peace now?

You asked a question on how we suddenly come about the relative peace in this local government. Yes, when we came into office seven months ago, this place was boiling, it was a theatre of war, but we had to engage all other ethnic nationalities within the locality to a round table all in effort to understand the reason for the agitations and clashes. You remember the state government had earlier sat with the Hausa/Fulani and the Berom communities with the aim of finding a lasting solution to this problem. What the local government did was to facilitate the mediation between these warring peoples. The efforts were intense, and we did this frequently and the people came to the realization of the fact that when they war-war-war, both parties will lose. That was what we did. We convinced all the nationalities that nobody will win in this circumstance. And I think these efforts have paid off.

Again, I think the Military and other security agencies in Barkin Ladi did not come to enforce peace. You can’t enforce peace, perhaps they came to offer part-time measures to ensure peace, but the long-time measures is for the people themselves to agree within themselves to live in peace and the role of government is to mediate, not to take side and bring the benefit to the forefront of not engaging in the senseless killings. And within the short period of time and with prayers, we were able to outcome achieve what we are seeing today.
Of course we also realized that there were people who benefit from these conflicts; we call them merchants of war. It is these criminal elements that we have to engage, we need to put the security apparatus on alert to contain with those conflict entrepreneurs who think without conflicts they lose. That is why we support the effort of the security agencies to be in place to take care of that dimension. That is why the idea of the Task-Force was contemplated because you cannot enforce peace, even if you bring the whole of Nigerian Army to Barkin Ladi if the people do not agree to live in peace there is nothing you can do about it.

And what the military and other security agencies have done is that they had also realized that for them to make any impact, they must build confidence in the minds of the people because in the past there were some misgivings as to the roles of the military. I am satisfied that the efforts we have made in building confidence in the people has also paid off, because if people realized that you are taking side then you won’t achieve much. I think they have assured us and we have seen that they are very very neutral.

Another areas of intervention is that we have taken decision that as a government that is entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring peace and security and welfare of the people, we were supported by the security without sentiment. Therefore, we encouraged these meetings that engaged the people, we were clear that if anybody engages in any act of impunity he should be punished.

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