Plateau still divided along ethnoreligious, tribal lines ― Gov Lalong

Gover Simon Lalong of Plateau State has stated that despite the prevailing peace, the state is in dire of healing and at the same time remained somewhat divided along ethnoreligious or tribal lines due to the experience of yesterday.

The governor who stated this while speaking at the inauguration of Plateau State Inter-religious Council on Monday said the state has a golden opportunity to turn a new leaf by consolidating on the gains of efforts within the last six years.

“Despite the efforts and modest successes recorded at stemming the tide of ethnoreligious violence, Plateau State is still in dire need of healing. Our people have remained somewhat divided along ethnoreligious or tribal lines due largely to the experiences of yesterday. Yet, we have a golden opportunity to open a new leaf by consolidating on the gains of our efforts within the last six years,” he said.

He pointed out that the state cannot claim that all issues in the heart of the crises have been resolved, adding that the state has in its hands the tools that can help midwife the rebirth of a new and united Plateau that is at peace with itself and neighbours.

“The stakes are quite high and the need to work in concert through the forging of robust alliances has never been this urgent. The age-old maxim says we either work together as a united front to win or we perish as fools. We have no reason to choose anything below peace.

“That is why today we are inaugurating the reconstituted Plateau State Inter-religious Council, a body made up of highly respected religious leaders and experts in the field of conflict mediation and peacebuilding,” Lalong said.

The governor added that the inauguration of the non-partisan body was a further demonstration of the administration’s commitment to repairing the broken social fabric of society through the provision of a structured platform for religious, community, youth and women leaders to play active roles in fostering mutual understanding and cooperation between citizens regardless of ethnic and religious differences.

He further pointed out that the council will adopt a flexible and confidential format in which even controversial issues can be discussed; assumptions tested and ideas generated adding that through joint analysis and structured interfaith dialogue, voices from divergent communities can come up with new ideas and approaches that will help enhance resilience and social cohesion.

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