At last, the prolonged violent crisis between cattle breeders and farmers in Agatu land, Benue State, which had claimed several lives and property, may have been laid to rest.
This is because the warring parties have agreed to sheathe their swords and embrace peace at a town hall meeting held in Abuja to find a lasting solution to the problem.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the leadership of the cattle breeders and prominent Agatu farmers resolved on the immediate cessation of hostilities between the Idoma in Agatu and the Fulani nomadic community carrying out grazing activities in the area.
At a joint world press conference by the two parties, the national leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) was directed to order its Benue and Nasarawa State chapters to immediately order all Fulani herdsmen carrying out grazing activities in Agatu to immediately withdraw and move to Nasarawa state while dialogue towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict is on-going.
Agatu youths, the communiqué read at the conference further stated, should desist from patrolling the river banks until better understanding is achieved between the two parties.
The communiqué also urged the Federal Government to set up a high-powered committee that will include the leadership of the Idoma Initiative and MACBAN to comprehensively look into the immediate and remote causes of the crisis with a view to finding a lasting solution to the crisis.
The suggested committee will also be mandated to ascertain the level of destruction of lives and properties on both sides with a view to giving adequate compensation.
“The Federal Government should draw up a roadmap to commence the immediate reconstruction, rehabilitation and re-integration of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Agatu back to their various communities.
“A peace football match should be organized between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and a joint team comprising the Idomas and the Fulanis. The football match should be played at the National Stadium, Abuja and be organized in conjunction with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). The match should be aimed at raising awareness of the peaceful resolution of the conflict and to raise funds towards the reconstruction of the properties destroyed in the crisis,” it said.