The Benue state police commissioner, Mr Etim Ene Okon, has said the maintenance of law and order is hinged on peace. Welcoming the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP) advocacy team that is in the state for an advocacy programme, the police boss commended the forum for embarking on such visit in order to collaborate and partner with relevant stakeholders on peace.
“As an organisation engaged in working for peace, I heartily welcome IDFP to Benue state and to assure your forum that we are willing to work with any group that is out to preach peace. Consider the police as a stakeholder for peace and we are willing to collaborate and partner with IDFP in search for peace.
“Though the mandate of the police is to maintain law and order, but we know that cannot be achieved in an atmosphere of chaos and anarchy. The constitutional mandate of the Nigeria Police is to protect lives and property. In a way the police are peace advocates just like your forum. We must be engaged in preaching and embracing peace. It is only in a peaceful society that you can maintain law and order.
“Benue state has come under focus in the past eight or nine months. But we are working hard to ensure we secure the lives and properties of our citizens.
“I am in complete agreement with your forum on the need for peace. We are happy to see you in Benue state and we are hopeful that your group will collaborate with others in search for peace,” the police boss said.
Head of the IDFP advocacy team to Benue state, Alhaji Ibrahim Yahaya, told the police commissioner that they were in the state to identify with the tragic events that have caused loss of lives and properties as a result of the clashes among herders and farmers.
“We are here to engage with conflict communities and review past strategies and interventions. We are determined to evolve better strategies in resolving conflict through direct engagements with the people.
“We are not only concerned with Benue state alone; other states in crisis are also part of our focus. In our bid to facilitate peace, we are also visiting other states in the country,” Yahaya said.
Members of the delegation included the Country Expert of KAICIID for Nigeria, Joseph Atang, Professor Peter Agogo, Alhaji (Dr) Haroun O Ajah, Rev Sunday K Simon, Alhaji Aminu Haske, Elder Sunday Onyibe, Rev Bitrus Dangiwa, among others.