Between the 19th and the 24th of July this year, the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative (PCNI) and the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) undertook a fact-finding mission to the Mambilla Plateau in Taraba State following communal clashes in the area. The delegation’s findings highlighted factors such as entrenched distrust, mutual fear and apprehension which had adversely impacted peaceful intercommunal coexistence on the Mambilla-Plateau and led to conflict.
Today, PCNI and IPCR with the support of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) embarked on a follow-up visitation during which they organized a one-day community stakeholders townhall dialogue for the people of the Mambilla-Plateau. The event held at the Teachers Hall in Gembu. While addressing participants, the PCNI Chairman, Lt. Gen. T.Y Danjuma stressed that peaceful coexistence was the only panacea for development. He said that high profile federal investments in developmental infrastructure in the area such as the Mambilla Hydro-power Plant will only succeed in a climate of peace. He called for community leaders to promote mutual respect and tolerance between members of their communities. The Chairman who was represented by Brig. Gen. HPZ Vintenaba, chairman Subcommittee on Peace building, Security and Stabilization assured the various ethnic communities on the plateau of PCNI’s commitment to promote the measures for peace consensually determined by the Mambilla communities.
The Director General of the IPCR, Mr. Oshita O. Oshita who was represented by Mr. Mbah Chukwuemeka, said the walls of hatred must be broken to build a future for the children of the Mambilla Plateau. In his remarks, the Taraba State UNHCR coordinator, Mr. Daniel Bisu decried the recent crises on the Plateau in spite of UN efforts to stimulate local economic productivity through the construction of the Toga dam that is supplying 4,000kw of electricity to the Kakara community. He urged the people to embrace peace to enable their kin presently taking refuge in Cameroon return home.
The Chief of Mambilla, Dr. Audu Baju and Reverend Godwill Sol, the Acting Chairman of the Sardauna Local Government Area thanked the PCNI, IPCR and UNHCR for their mediation efforts. Baju pledged the commitment of the traditional council to achieving a lasting peace in the area. At the end of the dialogue, the community leaders, women’s groups and youth groups unanimously agreed to promote peaceful coexistence to guarantee the collective security and wellbeing of their communities.