By PALANG KASMI
Plateau State citizens have been charged to leave their bitter experiences of the past and forgive each other to move towards a post-conflict, progressive era.
The call was made by the Executive Governor, Plateau State and Chairman, Northern Governors Forum Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong during the first annual commemoration of the Plateau state forgiveness and reconciliation day, jointly organized by the interfaith mediation Center (IMC) in conjunction with the Plateau Peace building Agency (PPBA).
The event which was held at the Garden of forgiveness, opposite OLA hospital Jos, Plateau state has the theme “Reflection on the culture of forgiveness for healing, reconciliation and sustainable peace.
While formally declaring the 2020 event open, the Governor, who was in company of traditional leaders from within and outside the state, said the day is significant for Plateau because it will create a consciousness in the minds of citizens of the state towards peace, reconciliation and forgiveness in the quest to rebuild the State from the ashes of violence of the past.
Lalong stated that though the state is still faced with some security challenges because of the activities of criminals, these and more initiatives will definitely help us to re-build broken relationships, enhance resilience, resettle and reintegrate victims of conflict, so that they can forgive the past and reconcile with one another.
“Plateau State is rising again, and the gates of violence, hatred, vengeance, fanatism, terrorism and bigotry shall never prevail against it. On behalf of all the good people of our dear State, I ask for forgiveness from everyone who has suffered one loss or the other. That is the path that our Rescue Administration has been working to encourage and strengthen through our style of governance which is all-inclusive. We believe that justice, fairness and equity will hasten the healing process of our beloved State.
While appreciating the role of civil society organizations, security operatives and other stakeholders for their role in the Plateau peace processes, the Governor said, in his words: “At the end of last year, we flagged off the permanent resettlement of Internally Displaced persons (IDPs) to their ancestral lands and we are continuing”.
In a presentation and general reflection on the culture of forgiveness as captured by the theme, Prof. Umar Danfulani of the IMC said without peace, there can never be any development therefore the only way to return Plateau sate back to its former glory is to forgive each other, despite the losses uncured.
“Forgiveness is important for the healing of the family, land, ethnic and religious groups, and the nation at large and it is sweeter than revenge, therefore if we forgive each other, as stipulated in in both the Christian and Moslem holy books, people will once more live in peace and harmony”.
According to Danfulani, all ethnic groups in Plateau state should look back into history and remember how inter-tribal and religious groups used to employ “Play” as a strategy for peaceful co-existence and return to those days.
There was good will messages from religious bodies, The Gbong Gwom Jos, Sultan of Sokoto, the Emir of Wase, representatives of religious and social groups and other stakeholders.