Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Residents of the Mambilla Plateau in Sardauna Local Government Council of Taraba on Sunday expressed regret for engaging in violence, resolving to permanently lay down their arms as fighting had stalled development in the area.
This conclusion was reached at a town hall meeting with a high powered Assessment Committee set up by State Governor Darius Ishaku to quantify the damage caused by recurrent crises in the area, with a view to rebuilding the affected communities.
Reverend Godwill Sol, the Caretaker Chairman of the council, noted at the event that the people of the area have vowed not to ever allow crises to retard their development. Sol explained that the people could not afford to toy with the peace that is needed for the take off of the 3,050 mega watts Mambilla Hydro Power Dam and other projects earmarked for the area by the state government.
Alhaji Jibo Mbamga, the Chairman of Fulani Chiefs (Ardo’s) forum in the council, noted that all his members had assessed the situation and decided to say no to conflict for the good of their subjects. “The recurrent crises have been causing more harm than good to all the tribes on the Mambilla Plateau. Our people have resolved to say no to anything that would breed crisis in this community,” he said.
In his contributions, Alhaji Saleh Dulah, the Chairman of village Chiefs (Jauros) forum, explained that most of the crises that had occurred in the areas could not be traced to any compelling reason. Dulah pledged the village chief’s commitment to ensuring permanent peace on the plateau for rapid development.
Dr Shehu Baju, the Chief of Mambilla, told the committee earlier at a courtesy call on him, that the traditional council had gone round to assess the destruction caused by the recurring crises. Baju noted that many of his subjects, who were displaced by the June, 2017 and March, 2018 crises have returned to their homes after getting assurances of restoration of peace by the government.
Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Mr Emmanuel Njiwah, told the people that the mission of the 19-member committee was to ascertain the correct number of deaths, houses burnt, cows stolen or killed, and other properties destroyed during the unrests. Njiwah, a former Nigeria Ambassador to the Republic of Cameroon, explained that the report of the committee would be followed immediately with support by Ishaku for rehabilitation of victims.
He said the sub-technical committee made up of quantity surveyors, architects and site engineers, would do a through job in all the villages affected for accurate compensation. Representatives of Mambilla, Fulani, Kambu, Kaka and Panso tribes who spoke at the event were unanimous on the resolve to sustain a permanent peace for rapid development.