Ode calls for creation of Joint Peace Committee to end communal clashes **Speaks on border demarcation

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

In order to enhance peaceful co-existence among Benue communities and the neighbouring states, Deputy Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Barr. Dr. Sam Ode, mni, has enjoined caretaker chairmen of local government councils, traditional rulers and other critical stakeholders to constitute Joint Peace Committees aimed at addressing the persistent cases of border land disputes.

The Deputy Governor who is also the chairman, Benue State Boundary Committee, gave this indication recently during an emergency meeting with caretaker chairmen, traditional rulers and stakeholders from Gwer-East, Guma, Makurdi, Otukpo, Ohimini, Kwande, Konshisha, Oju, and Vandeikya local government areas of the state, held at the Old Banquet Hall of Government House, Makurdi.

Dr. Ode was optimistic that the formation of Joint Peace Committees “will encourage transborder cooperation and nib in the bud any issue that is capable of escalating and leading to break down of law and order”, stressing that peace making process is not the business of government alone and charged all stakeholders to work toward ensuring that sustainable peace returns to the border communities.

The Deputy Governor further disclosed that government had already put in place modalities to commence demarcation of land at crisis-prone border areas within the state and emphasised the need for communities to live in harmony with one another.

“Boundary lines are meant for administrative convenience and are not by any way supposed to be walls of separation or barriers between neighbouring communities”, he maintained.

Honourable Commissioner for Lands and Solid Minerals, Hon. Barr. Martins Shaagee in his opening remark said the meeting was an opportunity for the stakeholders to discuss issues affecting peaceful co-existence of Benue Communities and to “chart a way forward, aimed at ending border conflicts in the state”.

In their goodwill messages, Caretaker Chairmen of Konshisha, Gwer-East and Otukpo Local Government Councils, Hon. Philip Achuah, Hon. Comfort Agbo and Hon. Dr. Wilson Eche respectively, lauded the efforts of Governor Hyacinth Alia and his Deputy Dr. Sam Ode in ensuring that peace return to the border areas and promised to take home the message of peace to their various local government areas.

The Ter Kunav, HRH Nyiyongo Achiaku, Ter Gwer, HRH Chief Dominic Akpe and the Adotu of Oju, Chief Daniel Ulegede, in their separate speeches said the only permanent solution to land disputes in the state was through demarcation of border corridors where communal land clashes persisted.

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