Two warring communities in Ebonyi and Benue States on Monday undertook a peace walk to demonstrate an end to their age-long fratricidal boundary dispute.
The conflict had claimed hundreds of lives with property worth millions of naira destroyed on both sides.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Ngbo Community of Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State and Agila Community of Ado LGA of Benue State had been embroiled in an age-long boundary conflict.
Efforts made in the past to permanently end the dispute had failed.
Hence, the recent acceptance of peace is perceived as a big relief to natives of both communities.
Addressing the two communities at Ekwashi Ngbo playground, the Ebonyi State Deputy Governor, Patricia Obila, thanked them for finally accepting to shun their differences and embrace peace.
Obila, represented by the Commissioner for Border Peace and Conflict Resolution, Dr. Donatus Ilang, described the peace initiative as “heart-warming”.
She said: “This decision to embrace peace is in line with the efforts of both State Governments to permanently end the dispute.
“The Ebonyi Government is committed to this lasting peace move and will formulate policies and programmes to sustain it.”
The lawmaker representing Ebonyi/Ohaukwu Federal Constituency, Chief Nwachukwu Eze, said the event called for profound gratitude to God.
Eze said: “I feel happy seeing my people trading at the Agila Market and they doing the same in our market, signifying that peace is supreme.
“I was offered gifts when I went to their market to purchase goods and this was what we have been yearning for over a long time.”
He said the road connecting both communities had been cleared by the youths and that he would interface with his counterpart representing Agila people to make it accessible.
Eze said: “The road connects the northern and southern parts of the country as the distance from my place to Otukpo Junction will take 30 minutes.
“Governors of both states gave us tremendous support to achieve this feat as they have been adequately briefed about the development.”
Chief Sunny Attah, the husband to the Benue House of Assembly Deputy Speaker, Danladi Lami, commended stakeholders from both states for making the event a reality.
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Attah said: “We have several regrets about the dispute, but this permanent peace will usher development, which had eluded both communities.
“Youths from both communities can now inter-marry as economic activities have resumed between them.”
NAN reports that stakeholders from both communities pledged to educate their youths on the need to sustain the hard-earned peace.