Since the inception of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) administration in Nasarawa State, it has continued to place high premium on the security of lives and property of its citizens.
To achieve this objective therefore, the government has left no stone unturned in exhausting channels that could enhance peace and harmony among its citizens as well as the people of neighbouring states.
One of the measures designed to achieve peace in the state is the clear delineation of its boundaries with neighbouring states. In this wise, the Nasarawa state government, in collaboration with the office of the National Boundary Commission (NBC), organised a two day parley with Kaduna and Kogi states, on March 13 and 14 respectively, at the Taal Conference Hotel, Lafia.
The peace meeting was necessitated by the problems that have arisen over the years as a result of claims and counter claims to border limits by the inhabitants of the border towns in the two states, principally because these units are not clearly marked on the ground for easy identification.
This was the theme that defined the submission of the director general of the National Boundary Commission, Dr. Mohammed Bose Ahmad, when he noted that the meeting was expected to review past efforts and the reported problems as well as to discuss the way forward on the bilateral efforts of Nasarawa State and its neighbouring counterparts.
The deputy governor of Nasarawa state, Mr. Dameshi Barau Luka, pointed out that peace and harmonious coexistence among border communities were necessary requirements to close the current tension occasioned by mutual suspicions and mistrust among the people of the border towns.
“It is for this reason that such round-table dialogue shall be held at regular intervals so as to provide the desired platform for all parties to chart workable roadmaps for the demarcation of inter-state boundaries as well as engender sustainable peace and development in the states concerned”, he said.
On the Kaduna state axis of the border dispute and the long standing relationship, he said there have been frequent cases of misunderstanding across the border areas of Nunku/Gwaska and Angwan Maiganga/Anwan Ragga communities of the two states. If left unresolved, it would continue to constitute a threat to the socio-economic development of the communities and by implication, the entire states.
Presenting the technical report on the boundary by the Surveyor – General of the federation and corroborated by his counterparts from Nasarawa and Kaduna States, it was revealed that there have been commendable bilateral efforts in the past which resulted in the 1995 Joint field team report which was further reviewed in 2008.
Despite these efforts however, there still exist some sectors of the boundary that are disputed.
The surveyors-general of Kaduna and Nasarawa states, are expected therefore, to jointly articulate and submit relevant records including gazette descriptions, agreements, technical recommendations as well as the 1995 bilateral field report to the National Boundary Commission.
Afterwards the technical committee as constituted in 2008 at the Kaduna meeting will meet in Abuja on April 17, to discuss the reports so submitted and recommend a common boundary for consideration by joint meeting of officials of the two states.
Before then however, all pending litigations with respect to areas along the boundary are encouraged to be withdrawn to pave the way for dialogue under the watchful eyes of the National Boundary Commission.
Furthermore, the chairmen of the affected areas and the traditional rulers concerned were urged to carry out sensitisation and enlightenment of border communities on cross border farming and other social activities relative to boundary demarcation.
On his part, the deputy governor of Kaduna State, Mukhatar Ramalan Yero, who doubles as the chairman, Kaduna state boundary committee, was of the opinion that, if all the agreements are effectively followed, they would eliminate the possibilities of conflict and mutual disagreement.
On the contrary, the recommendations, he noted would strengthen existing ties and boost mutual cooperation with the attendant positive effects in social and economic re-engineering for the benefit of the two states.
On the Kogi state axis however, the situation is relatively peaceful, as according to the Kogi state deputy governor, Arc. Yemi Awoniyi; “the communities in the inter-state borders of Nasarawa and Kogi states have been living together peacefully from time immemorial”.
“The absence of any reported cases of serious communal clash between them, several years after the creation of the two states, is a clear manifestation of their cordial coexistence. It is therefore expected that Nasarawa and Kogi states, would accord the project maximum cooperation for it to succeed”, he said.
While emphasizing the need to resort to dialogue in dispute resolutions, Awoniyi, implored all stakeholders to embrace dialogue in resolving any dispute.
The Nasarawa state deputy governor, Dameshi Barau Luka, said that it was gratifying to note that their maiden meeting on boundary matters was not about setting any boundary dispute, rather it was an effort geared towards affording the two states the opportunity to sort out their common border problems without rancour.
Nasarawa/Kogi border, has a unique feature because the border communities blend seamlessly into the states. Gbagyi, Bassa and Igbira, ethnic nationalities are found in both states and being of same ethnic groupings the possibilities of conflict on boundary adjustments may be impossible.
The deputy director, Inter-state boundaries, Surveyor J.F. Oyeyemi, who noted that Nasarawa/Kogi border “is one of the very few interstate boundaries that no action has been initated”, given the relative peace in the area, expressed optimism that it would be easy to carry out any demarcation exercise without interruptions.
To carry this out successfully, the two states shall search and articulate all relevant delineation instruments such as Maps, legal notices and any other relevant documents and submit same to the National Boundary commission before April 10.