Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has set up a peace and conflict resolution committee with a mandate to reconcile and mediate between warring communities in the state.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Committee headed by Chief Eduwu Ekhator, the Obasogie of Benin Kingdom, the Governor said “If we can nip in the bud any sign of discontent, disagreement and tension, we could save the police of having to mobile men and materials to go and manage riots. We recognize that as government we cannot maintain peace alone without the support of the people.
According to the Governor “there are all sorts of conflicts within communities and sometimes interest groups and all sorts of possible discontent within associations and there are all sorts of conflicts and areas of potential conflicts. Conflict is as old as the society.
“There is nothing surprising if we find that within families, within local governments and among Royal Fathers that we sometimes have disagreement and discontent. What will be strange is if we do not have enough men of goodwill to rise to the occasion in order to mediate, reconcile and build bridges and ensure that there is peace and harmony.
“We recognize that along the areas of conflict, there can be groups or individuals who can be more familiar to our history, traditions and sometimes old boundaries where they exist, and any of those that usually result in disagreement. So when the Royal Majesty suggested that we set up this committee, we readily agreed”, he said.
The Governor expressed confidence that the Chairman and the committee and members have what it takes to ensure that they sort little issues that can create tension along the length and breadth of Edo State.
Expressing the need for the committee to be divest of any political affiliation, Oshiomhole said “the challenge of maintaining peace should not be determined by political affiliation. That is why we opted to have people who are not necessarily card carrying members of any political party, traditional rulers who are fathers of all, the police and the state security service”.
Oshiomhole said “this committee is not a partisan one. Having been here for about five years, I can confirm disquiet, some discontent on issues of boundaries not boundaries between states, although that exists. This time it is boundaries between communities and clans and I now know that we have dispute between villages.
“Let me say it is not all about boundaries, some within development associations. Sometimes people resort to the use of cutlasses to resolve the crises. The nice ones go to court. Every now and then the police have to be called to intervene. Sometimes I get dispatches from the police on all sorts of people doing all sorts of things.
“We expect you to mediate, identify the problem and the source of the problem and reflect on how we can get the parties to speak rather than beat the drums of war” Oshiomhole said.
Responding the Chairman of the Committee, Chief Edughu Ekhator thanked government for the confidence reposed in the members.
He said “I stand on behalf of the members to assure you that we will give the best to the state. We also assure you that we would educate and mobilize our people to support the state. No meaningful development can take place without peace”.