October 24, 2021

U.S., Nigeria in fresh partnership for peace in Plateau State

U.S. ambassador to Nigeria meets Peace Building Officials behind closed doors, Friday

United States ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard on Friday had a close-door meeting with Peace Building Officials toward ending decades-old conflicts that have claimed thousands of people in Plateau State.

The U.S. has previously supported several projects – health, security, justice and peace in the Central Nigerian State.

On Wednesday, Ambassador Leonard led a U.S. delegation on a courtesy visit to the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong at the Government House, Jos, to highlight the U.S. government’s support and investment for HIV epidemic control activities in the State.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), is supporting the Plateau Government to implement an Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) Surge program to accelerate progress to reach HIV epidemic control.

Plateau State Peace Building Agency, a local, state organization promoting nonviolent conflict resolution, has in the past six years received funding from the U.S. embassy to carry out dialogues and related stakeholder engagements for peace.

Ambassador Leonard’s visit on Friday was to further support and “affirm the good steps that His Excellency (Gov. Simon Lalong) has taken to reconcile people, to promote understanding and tolerance in the State,” Mr. Joseph Lengmang, Director General, Plateau Peace Building Agency told Journalists.

“We discussed a wide range of issues particularly, the risks and potentials that we see in different local government areas particularly in Bassa, Riyom and Barkin Ladi; to issues of kidnapping, gangsterism and cold wars, the manace of drug peddling and all that,” said Lengmang.

The U.S. Official, according to Lengmang is willing to support “local initiatives” aimed at promoting peace.

Ambassador Leonard did not talk to press throughout the meeting. Mr. Abdullahi Abubakar, a local Islamic cleric who shielded over 200 Christians in his Mosque during armed invasions was part of the meeting.