By Amos Aar
THE Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), a non-governmental organisation, in collaboration with the Benue State Government has inaugurated the Konshisha-Oju Dialogue Steering Committee towards permanent ending the communal crisis between Bonta in Konshisha and Ukpute in Oju LGAs permanently.
The dialogue steering committee has a major mandate to ensure integrity and full implementation of the Konshisha-Oju Natural Resource Peace Agreement.
Speaking during the inauguration ceremony held at Benue Hotels Makurdi, Benue State deputy governor, Sam Ode, reiterated government’s unflinching commitment to supporting the Peace initiative with the aim of resolving the crisis between the two communities.
Ode said all facilities required for the performance of the project would be made available and the state government would sustain collaboration with HD to drive the peace process to a logical conclusion.
“Today’s event marks a major landmark in our journey to achieving full peace and reconciliation among the good people of Konshisha and Oju local government areas. The government of Benue State is fully committed to this peace process,” Ode assured.
On the issue of boundary demarcation between Konshisha and Oju which was promised by the state government recently as part of measures towards achieving permanent peace, Ode said the state governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, is determined to fulfill the promise soon even as he noted that “boundary is just an artificial creation, what is really important is for our communities to imbibe the spirit of brotherhood”.
Earlier in a keynote address, Alhaji Ibrahim Sale Hassan, Senior National Expert Adviser, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, said members of the two warring communities were all tired of the crisis and were ready to embrace peace as observed through consistent interaction between the HD and members of the communities.
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Sale, who urged the Benue State Boundary Commission to ensure speedy demarcation of the area, noted however that the decision to embrace peace and reconciliation rests with the people as HD can only provide the enabling environment where people can sit on a roundtable as brothers and neighbours for peaceful dialogue.
In their separate remarks, the co-chairmen, of the Dialogue Committee, HRH Dr Daniel Ulegede, Ad’utu of Oju, and the representative of Ter Ikyor, Mue-Ter Shangev-Tiev, Moses Orngu Kyarem from Konshisha, both commended the state government and HD for their efforts to permanently restore peace to the communities.
The traditional rulers assured that as members of the committee, they would do their best for lasting peace to return to the affected communities.
It will be recalled that the Konshisha-Oju Natural Resource Peace Agreement, facilitated by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue was ratified on August 14, 2023 by stakeholders from both Bonta and Ukpute as well as the State Governor’s representative to end hostilities at the border communities.
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Members of the Dialogue Steering Committee comprise traditional rulers, clergymen, youth and woman leaders from both communities, Konshisha and Oju local government officials as well as security agencies.