From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
British High Commission has harped on the need for all hands to be on deck to end the incessant conflicts and ensure lasting peace in Benue and Nigeria at large.
Representative of the commission, Grant Morriss, stated this at a stakeholders’ peace dialogue meeting, organised by the African City of Refuge and Empowerment Foundation in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, yesterday.
Morris, who is currently leading work on Human Rights and Freedom of Religion or Belief at the British High Commission in Nigeria, expressed concerns over the level of violence across the country, which he noted, affects people of all genders, ethnicities and religions from all geographical locations.
“One thing we all share in common is the desire to use whatever influence we may have to bring this to an end and bring lasting peace to Benue State and Nigeria.
“All of us who care about Nigeria will be concerned by the levels of violence across the country, which affects people of all genders, ethnicities and religions from all geographical locations.”
He further noted that one of the priorities of the British High Commission is to do all it can to tackle the issues of conflicts by raising awareness of the horror and scale of sexual violence, as well as the need to tackle accountability, bring justice, ensure victim support, and to take action as it tries to help rebuild relationships and promote inclusion.
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“That is why this event is so important, as we shine a spotlight on some of the painful experiences that people are living through in Nigeria and importantly, to inspire collaborative action.”
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In his remarks, a member of the Board of Trustees of the African City of Refuge and Empowerment Foundation, Hamuburg Patricia, said the meeting was to hear the input of the people from the lower rung to the higher.
On his part, Executive Director of African City of Refuge and Empowerment Foundation, Justin Nenge, said the objective of the meeting was to get inputs of traditional, religious and political leaders on how they could use their influential offices to support efforts of the youths and women in peace building.
Also speaking, the Ter Tyoshin, Daniel Abomtse, represented by Jer Lawrence and Mue Ter Mbakpa, while positing that the programme was very apt and timely, said Benue has had its own fair share of crises in the last few years during which the people suffered so much for no fault of theirs.
Abomtse lamented that the land crisis usually resolved by the traditional institution in the past is no longer so, saying the attackers seem to have come for an ethnic cleansing agenda which has resulted in a large number of Benue people now living in internally displaced persons camps.