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07/17/2023 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – The new commander of Plateau State’s Sector 3 Military Command recently hosted a dialogue to foster peace and unity between the Fulani community in Plateau and leaders of the local Irigwe community. The area has been ravaged by violence in recent years, including in many communities where ICC works. 

The leaders present from the Fulani community were not of the militant contingent, which is a rogue element within the greater Fulani community. The Fulani are a traditionally nomadic people group made up mostly of peaceful herders, traders, and businesspeople. Two of the Fulani leaders present at the dialogues were held in a correctional center last year on accusations of terrorism connected to attacks on Bassa LGA, Plateau but have since been freed. 

In addition to leaders from the Irigwe people, representatives from other tribes native to Jos North County were present as well. The attacks in Plateau are ongoing, leading to hundreds of deaths in recent months. 

ICC attended the peace dialogue along with at least 100 stakeholders from the Fulani and Irigwe communities as well as leaders from other ethnic groups. The group welcomed the new military commander recently assigned to the Sector and spoke to update him on the security situation in the region. “I called to receive an update on the security situation,” said M. Abdullahi, the new commander of Sector 3, told attendees. 

At the meeting, a leader of the Irigwe community demanded that the Fulani community stop grazing at night when crops are unattended and objected to the traditional practice of sending children to watch the cattle. In response, a Fulani leader testified that the cattle of peaceful Fulani herders are being poisoned and accused the Irigwe people of carrying out these poisonings. The Fulani people have grazed their cattle nomadically rather than on ranches for millennia. Leaders at the peace dialogue widely denied the accusations levied against their communities. 

Abdullahi, the new commander, said that children must stop grazing the cattle under the law and that cattle should not be allowed to roam and graze at night. He also warned against poisoning Fulani cattle, saying that anyone who commits an offense of the law under his command must face punishment according to the law. Abdullahi also established an implementation committee that includes representatives of the various ethnic groups present at the dialogue and promised to continue using the tools at his disposal to promote peace and unity in Plateau.

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