By Ben Ngwakwe Gombe
It is assumed that one of the major features of the Nigerian geopolitical structure is the existence of Boundaries and intermittent disputes between communities in the same or probably in different local Government Areas as well as states.
Most often are Boundary disputes which often leads to confrontations, deaths and constituted security risk to life, property and development hence the issue of Boundaries should be given a serious attention by stakeholders to avoid untold hardship such ulgy scenarios may likely create in the Zone..
Considering the seriousness it deserves, the Gombe State Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya on Thursday hosted the Interactive Session of the National Boundary Commission and the Boundary Committees of States in the North East in Gombe with emphasize that boundary matters played a key role in the economy and security of the North East Zone as well as the Nation as a whole.
He further noted that disputes over farmlands are serious challenges which the limits of territories tend to lead to the loss of lives and destruction of property if not properly managed and handled effectively.
When such happened, the occurrences could hamper the sources of livelihood for the people in the North East Zone and affected them drastically thereby contributing to abject poverty, food insecurity and a rise levels of violent crimes and criminalities.
To provide a permanent framework for managing boundary issues and preventing boundary- related conflicts, the Federal Government established the National Boundary Commission which similar arrangements were made at the state and local government levels with the mandate to settling up boundary Committees to handle such challenges that may arise.
The Governor stressed that the occasion was designed to create a forum to discuss roles, expectations and contributions of individuals, organized groups and other stakeholders state, local Government Areas and community levels for the effectiveness.
The Governor therefore charged the Boundary managers to be determined, attentive and favorably disposed towards learning and contributing positively to the interactive session which drew the stakeholders from Bauchi, Yobe, Gombe, Borno Taraba and Adamawa states for the two-day programs.
“You are assembled here in pursuit of relevant knowledge that will position you to execute your mandates timely and appropriately as managers of our Boundaries, you must also not fail to recognize the fact that your duties are sacred trusts which must be faithfully discharged to the best of your abilities in order to engender peace and development along Boundary corridors in this subregional”.
“In order to promote development within and a long all our Boundaries, there must be not only peace, as defined by the absence of war, but also an atmosphere of tolerance and harmonious coexistence, we all have a role to play in establishing an atmosphere where people have a good understanding of our Socio-Cultural diversity, the strength that comes with it and thus are willing to live together in harmony with one another”.
Yahaya assured them that at the end of the engagement,they would be more acquainted with their expected roles individually and collectively towards managing their Boundaries and it was however sad to also note that the differences in the perception of Boundary limits as well as claims and counter claims have tended to cause disunity and animosity amongst the people should reduce drastically as the Governor was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Manassah Daniel Jatau at the occasion.
The Governor who developmental- oriented therefore charged them with the task of coming up with strategies that would address the misconception of interstate Boundaries in the Zone, so that they can focus on other people- oriented developmental projects rather dissipating energies and resources to quell Boundary crisis.
Reiterating the need to be both proactive and strategic in to proffering solutions to Boundary disputes dispassionately with the sole aim of fostering peace and cordial relationship amongst the border dwellers assured the Director- General, National Boundary Commission that he would not hesitate to encourage his colleagues the Governors of the states of North East to support the work of the Commission if they articulate their recommendations properly to support the quick definition of the boundaries in the Zone.
The Governor added they may request the North East Development Commission to support them so that the Boundaries of the states of North East are quickly defined as Gombe State is well known for peaceful coexistence, ethno religious, tolerance, social cohesion and hospitality.
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