By Sunday Iduh
The Governor of Benue State, Rev. Fr Hyacinth Alia, has said sustainable development and economic growth in any society cannot be achieved without peace, stating that his administration attaches so much importance to peace and is working towards resettling the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state back to their ancestral homes.
The Governor stated this Monday during the signing of the Konshisha-Oju Natural Resources Peace Agreement at the Tor Tiv Hall, Benue Hotels, Makurdi. The peace pact was initiated by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) and stakeholders from the two local governments.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Barr Sam Ode, congratulated both communities for this laudable achievement. He commended traditional, religious, opinion and youth leaders for their support towards peace and urged them to continuously play their roles towards peace.
He assured that the resolutions contained in the agreement will be studied and applied where applicable.
Delivering their goodwill messages, the Tor Tiv, His Royal Majesty, Prof. James Ayatse, and the Och’Idoma, His Royal Majesty, Dr John Odogbo unanimously pledged that the agreement would be adhered to and commended the Benue State Government for the support given to CHD in carrying out peace initiatives in the State.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Country Manager, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Nigeria Dr.Chris Agoha noted that the peace agreement will be a reference point.
“This agreement represents an important milestone in the history of Konshisha and Oju communities, and will be a model of peacemaking and conflict resolution to be emulated by the wider communities in Benue State and Nigeria”.
He explained that the signing of the peace agreement will be closing an old chapter on inter-communal disputes and expressed appreciation to stakeholders from both communities and urged them to follow the path of peace.
In a keynote address, former Vice Chancellor, Benue State University Prof. Charity Angya, urged the Benue state government to ensure sustainable peace in the state and operationalize the Peace and Reconciliatory Commission to foster peace and development in the state and commended CHD for its initiative towards sustainable peace between the two communities.
The high point of the event was the signing of the Natural Resource Peace Agreement by stakeholders from Konshisha and Oju Local Government Areas of the state.