“As a friend and partner of this country, I am very concerned and interested in the violence here in the middle belt.”
The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, has expressed his country’s concern about violent clashes between farmers and herdsmen, particularly in Nigeria’s north-central states.
Speaking on Wednesday during a courtesy visit on Governor Umaru Al-Makura of Nasarawa State at the government house, Lafia, Mr. Entwistle said frequent violence in the region must not be allowed to frustrate the peace process in the zone.
“As a friend and partner of this country, I am very concerned and interested in the violence here in the middle belt,” he said.
Mr. Entwistle said that the news of continued violence between herdsmen and farmers has dominated the media.
“In Abuja, I watch television and read newspapers, I hear about violence between farmers and herdsmen, some of this because of shrinking land and other issues”.
The ambassador, who came from Benue State where he went on a similar visit, urged Nigerians to use their diversity as a source of strength and learn to tolerate and get along with each other.
“Across the globe, history has shown that countries that make progress are those whose communities live in peace with each other,” he said.
He said the United States will support efforts aimed at promoting tolerance, and assist both government and civil society to promote transparency and accountability.
Mr. Entwistle added that the U.S. government would assist in engaging unemployed youth who are mostly at risk of radicalism and recruited into violent extremists’ political group.
On his part, Mr. Al-Makura said the Nasarawa State government has made tremendous effort in ensuring peace across the state using community based approach towards conflict resolution.