From Esther Akaa, Lafia
Stakeholders in Keana Local Government Area, Nasarawa State have appealed to the state government, to address the incessant border communal conflicts between Nasarawa and Benue states so that peace can return in the areas.
The Voice reports that series of conflicts have been experienced in Keana, Obi, Awe and Doma Local Government Areas of the state beginning from 2017, leading to the displacement of communities and loss of lives and livelihoods.
The stakeholders called on Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State to end the conflicts at the border between the state and Benue State, so that communities displaced due to the incessant killings can return to their ancestral homes.
Speaking during a Town Hall meeting held recently in continuation of the state-wide tour across the 13 local government areas of the state, Commissioner representing Nasarawa State at the Federal Character Commission, Mr Mamman Alakayi, called for urgent steps to be taken in addressing the recurrence of border crisis which has become a thing of worry to the people of the area.
Alakayi who also called for the construction of the Kadarko/Giza/Kwara road, to ease transportation across the local government area commended Governor Sule for his peace initiatives, aimed at addressing insecurity in the state.
Also speaking, immediate past Governor of the state and Senator representing Nasarawa South, Sen. Umaru Al-Makura, thanked the governor for embarking on the state-wide tour, which he said will further demonstrate that democracy remains the best form of governance. He stressed that it will avail Engr Sule the opportunity to hear from the people and to get their advice on the way forward.
Sen. Al-Makura appreciated the governor for completing all uncompleted projects he inherited from previous administrations, saying that the gesture showed that the governor had the people of the state at heart. He commended the people of Keana for their support for the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the last election, and called on them to support Governor Sule for another four-year term come 2023.
The lawmaker however, appealed to the governor to dedicate a line from the 330kv Akurba power sub-station, for Keana, due to the anticipated industries that will spring up in the area as a result of the oil and gas exploration.
Speaking on behalf of the youths, the youth leader in the area, Mr Abubakar Barde, while acknowledging the governor for his developmental strides in the state however, appealed for more youth engagement.
Mr Barde lamented that Keana produces more than 150 graduates annually but has high number of unemployed graduates roaming the streets, and urged the governor to facilitate the recruitment of youths into para military agencies, ministries, as well as government agencies.
Responding, Governor Sule, said security was a top most priority of his administration, recalling the series of security meetings held recently, involving traditional rulers, Benue State government and herdsmen among others. The governor disclosed that another security meeting would be held soon between Benue and Nasarawa State governments with a view to addressing the cross border conflicts between the border communities.
On the demand for infrastructure, the governor promised to take up the construction of the Keana/Abuni, Keana/Benue border, as well as Keana/Salt lake roads respectively.
He said that government was seeking to partner major salt companies to come to Keana and exploit the salt deposits, which he said will create employment for the youths, saying that the Dangote Sugar Refinery in Awe LGA, will soon provide employment for about 30,000 youths from the state.
The Voice reports that the governor also visited Awe and Obi LGAs where he held town hall meetings with the people as well as paid courtesy calls on the traditional rulers of the areas.