No fewer than 29 ethnic communities spread across five local government areas in southern Kaduna state have signed a peace pact to stem communal clashes in the area.
This was contained in a communiqué signed by chairmen of the 29 ethnic communities in Kafanchan and made available to the media.
The chairmen expressed worry over the recent communal crises that engulfed southern Kaduna and have resolved to end such clashes and remain in peace with one another .
Leaders from the five local government areas, made up of Kachia, Kaura, Jema’a, Sanga and Zangon Kataf said the pact followed a parley brokered by Swiss government sponsored Nairobi based inter-governmental organisation, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.
According to them, more than 20 people were killed in the recent clashes in Jema’a Local Government Area of the state.
Areas affected included Godogodo, Ninte, Gada Biyu, Gidan Waya, Antang and Dogon Fili as well as Kagoro in Kaura Local Government Area.
The chairmen expressed their common resolve to peaceful resolution of all issues that led to the clashes and assured of their peoples continued commitment to uphold the peace in southern Kaduna.
They also acknowledged that the inter communal dialogue process, which focused among other issues on the prevalent farmer and grazer clashes, the return and settlement of internally displaced persons, was a continuous process.
The leaders said that they were committed to sustaining the peace through ensuring the implementation of the dialogue recommendations.
They said that the community-driven approach had given the people more direct involvement in finding solutions to such issues.
“We cultivated a new culture among ourselves of embracing dialogue as the mechanism for dealing with our disputes, hoping to ultimately lead to peaceful co-existence between us.
“The peace pact, entitled ‘Kafanchan Peace Declaration’, also assured that every attempt must be made to end the attacks and ensure that there were no reprisals.’’
As part of fence-mending, the leaders agreed on joint condolence visits to affected families, resettlement of displaced Fulani and natives and to hold perpetrators accountable so as to end impunity.
To ensure permanent end to the conflict, the leaders urged the state and local governments to define specific conflict prevention and goals, and factor the promotion of conflict prevention objectives into polices and legislation.
The communities are to intensify the dissemination of information to the broader community.
The dialogue cut across all levels of civil society and sought the buy-in and support of key stakeholders including the Federal, State and Local Governments, the business community, traditional rulers, community and religious leaders, women and young people.
The bottom up approach provided a different model for addressing the issues and was received positively by the affected communities.