Tentative steps towards peace have been taken after farmers and herders in the Bole Community of Yola South Local Government Area of Adamawa signed a Peace Accord last week. PSJ welcomes this initiative and believe it offers hope for a more peaceful future for the region.
Made through collaboration with the British Council through its Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCM) programme, the Accord was initiated by the Murmushi Development Foundation, a local NGO. They brought farmers and herders together for dialogue in an attempt to soothe the tensions between the two communities and prevent any outbreaks of discord. A Mediation Committee, comprising twenty members from both communities and chaired by the head of the village has been put together, with a view towards promoting peace within the community and ensuring that peace building activities are carried out and the necessary steps to change are taken. The committee members have been provided with peace building training in order that they may be able to carry out these roles more effectively.
The Programme Manager of the MCM, Mr Bello, has confirmed that the MCM supports the Mediation Committee and the provision of training to its members and that the British Council is committed to supporting local initiatives that aim to strengthen security, build capable governance and promote peace. It is hoped that the formal signing of the Accord by both parties will foster dialogue and collaboration between the farmers and herders within the Bole Community.
Bello has also publicly commended traditional rulers in the area such as the Lamido of Adamawa for their support of the Accord, which will go a long way towards further peace building and conflict resolution.
Representatives of both parties involved, farmers and herders, have pledged to uphold their signing of the Accord and have agreed hat it is both timely and necessary for the community to move forward. Individuals that have been found to be violating the Accord have already been punished, illustrating the strong commitment to upholding it’s principles that is already in practice.
PSJ believes that this news offers much hope in the area of local conflict resolution in Nigeria and applauds those who have worked hard to bring the Accord into being, not least the farmers and herders themselves, as well as local leaders, NGOs and the British Council.
We believe that the Adamawa Peace Accord will provide a template and example for other local communities in Nigeria that may be facing similar clashes between groups of farmers and herders. As climate change continues to have an impact on the region, particularly during the dry season, these clashes, driven by scarce resources, have become both more inevitable and more violent, resulting in over 300,000 people being displaced nationwide and over 1,300 people killed. Stakeholder engagement with governmental and civil society at the core of organisational principles is crucial to help bring about dialogue and sustainable policies towards harmony in these often difficult times. The Adamawa Peace Accord can therefore be held up as an example for all who strive towards peace.