On Sunday, Governor of Nigeria’s central state of Nasarawa, Umaru Tanko Al-makura promised to pay ethnic militia groups which lay arms to security agencies in the state.
He gave the promise at a meeting between leaders of Eggon and Fulani herdsmen from the southern senatorial zone of the state at the Government House, Lafia.
Al-Makura said the gesture was part of the measures to curtail the proliferation of arms as well as to enhance harmonious, peaceful co-existence of the people in the state. He explained that although no amount of money has been fixed yet for ransom for such arms, government felt it was the only way to stop its proliferation and usage during any outbreak of communal clashes in the state. He said the manner at which arms were used during clashes on human beings was alarming and wondered where such arms came from.
The governor also disclosed plans to set up a committee to map out grazing routes across the state, as well as to build earth dams to provide drinking water to farm animals.
Al-Makura announced the creation of the office of the Special Adviser on Reconciliation, to avail the people the opportunity to reach him and to report directly to him cases of communal clashes.
"If it is a crisis involving Fulani herdsmen and farmers, is it only in the Southern senatorial district that farming activities are on-going?" he asked.
The governor blamed the absence of a functional leadership for the prevailing state of insecurity. He also chided selfish leaders for instigating the people to take up arms against one another for selfish desires. Al-Makura recalled with nostalgia the peace prevailing in the state before the series of crisis became the order of the day.
He urged community leaders to rise up to the occasion by calling their people to order.
The governor used the opportunity to call on those affected by the crises not to resort to reprisal attacks, saying such attitude has the potential to worsen the security situation.
He also appealed to displaced persons to return to their homes as government was set to provide enough security across the troubled areas.
Al-Makura expressed gratitude to security agencies operating in the state, promising to support them in the effort to check the rising insecurity.
The meeting had in attendance leaders of the Eggon community from the southern senatorial zone. They include a former Chief Judge of the state, Justice Ahmed Ubangari, and representatives of the Fulani community led by Sen. Walid Jubril, the Sakin Fulanin Nasarawa. Also in attendance were the Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Isa Mustapha Agwai II, top security operatives and government officials.