The Oasis Reporters
February 8, 2019
Less than two weeks to crucial Elections in Nigeria, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong has apologized over the violent conflicts that have claimed lives and property in the State since the 2001 Jos crisis . He calls them, a “sad commentary” on the once ‘Home of Peace and Tourism’.
Mr. Lalong disclosed this while launching the Garden of Forgiveness and Peace on Thursday as he regretted that relationships have been severed and development ‘negatively’ affected by the conflicts.
”Though we lack capacity to right the numerous wrongs, we can chart a new path and rewrite our narrative as peace and this is what we have set to do today (Forgiveness Day),” he added.
The Governor therefore apologized to women, children, troops and foreigners killed during any of the violent conflicts in the State.
He said, “As the Governor and Chief Executive of the State, I stand on behalf of the good people of (Plateau State) to ask for forgiveness from every child that has lost parents in our intolerance of each other. “We ask for the forgiveness of parents who have lost their children in this ugly introduction that smeared our history as people of peace.
”We ask for the forgiveness of every man that lost his wife when we migrated ingloriously from our humanity to inhumanity.
”We ask for the forgiveness of every woman that lost her husband in the course of our madness which is better forgotten than remembered.
”We also ask for the forgiveness of all who have lost their relatives (brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces) while this negative side of our history lasted.
”To all ethnic nationalities and communities of Plateau who were affected, we say we are sorry and ask for your forgiveness.
”We are also not oblivious of the fact that some foreigners who came to our state with good intentions may have been affected one way or the other during these years of bloodletting and we say we are sorry and ask for your forgiveness.
”To all those who may have lost their properties and their movements in lives reversed, we say we are sorry and ask for your forgiveness.
”To security agencies who lost their personnel during this period, we are sorry and ask for your forgiveness.
”To all those who are not mentioned above but nevertheless were victims, we say we are sorry and ask for your forgiveness.”
The emotional moment was seen by many as healing, but wonder if the event will have a significant ethos if the underlying factors behind the bloodletting are not addressed.
Over much of the decade, there has been an influx of nomadic herdsmen said to be of Fulani origin seeking for green foliage for their livestock by migrating southwards to the Middle belt and stroking conflict with indigenous people who are sedentary farmers. Much of the far northern homeland where majority of them come from, has been largely affected by global warming and with the dearth of grass, migration becomes inevitable.
Atiku Abubakar, People’s Democratic Party, PDP presidential candidate who is Fulani himself has advocated a change in lifestyle for his tribesmen by the introduction of feeding lots as the herdsmen stay in one place.
This method yields more milk and meat from the peripatetic style of the herders, he added.
But it will have to come through education.