Presidential Candidate of the Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA) 2019, Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies bemoans Plateau State, Nigeria killings, as gunmen killed people again in the Plateau Christian community according to Police report of 09 January 2020; as Plateau State Police Command has said gunmen, suspected to be herdsmen, on Thursday, killed 12 persons and injured one at Kulben village of Kombun District of Mangu Local Government Area.
Adesanya-Davies writes with focus on Plateau State Fulani attacks and killings in Nigeria says, Aid group Mercy Corps in May last year, said there has been more than 7,000 deaths in Plateau state the past five years. She said, “A lot is happening in Plateau state, so so much!
“Plateau state is part of Nigeria’s so-called middle-belt that divides the mainly-Muslim north from the predominantly Christian south. Deadly clashes between nomadic Fulani herders and farmers over land, grazing and water have plagued the area for years. Attacks in remote areas often go unreported; while Government has shown itself, time and again, to be either unwilling or unable to protect lives in Plateau state.”
News of January 9, 2020 reporting “Plateau Attacks”, has said, 327 killed, 14,968 displaced in Irigwe land- In a report published by Agabus Pwanagba. He said, “About 66 attacks on 50 villages were launched against communities in Irigwe, Bassa LGA of Plateau State, by suspected Fulani herdsmen, between September 2017 and July 2019.
This is according to a report by a Rural Youth Integral Support Initiative, titled: “Impact Assessment of Fulani Herdsmen Attacks on Irigwe chiefdom between September 2017 and July 2019.” The report also revealed that a total of 327 persons were killed leaving behind 186 widows and 744 orphans.”
According to this report, “out of the 14,968 displaced persons, children were mostly affected, with 9,729 displaced, while 2,994 women and 2,245 men were affected. The report further stated that 4,397 residential rooms were looted and burnt, while several hectares of farmlands were destroyed. It stated: “2,662 farmlands were destroyed. This may actually account for only half of the total number of actual farms destroyed as many people did not report”.
“Based on the report, farms with about four types of crops which were nearly harvested were mostly destroyed at night in the remote villages away from the towns of Jebbu-Miango, Miango, Kwall and Jos suburb. As a result, four communities in the chiefdom have had to bear the humanitarian burden.“A total of 18 communities of Irigwe people representing 36% of the 50 communities attacked have been displaced and are taking refuge in the four refuge communities and towns”, the report says.
While the attacks on villages and communities are getting abated, they are also being replaced by new tactics employed by the insurgents. According to President, Irigwe Youth Movement (IYM), Chinge Dodo, “There is a modus operandi of our attackers; from August 2019, we noticed a change in tactics, the way our people are being ambushed, we have pockets of killings. Our people are being waylaid and killed.” C. Dodo revealed that of recent, four persons were attacked in that manner and that only one survived and is receiving treatment in the hospital.
“Presently, the issue of secret killings along remote villages and roads are a daily occurrence. According to Chinge Dodo, Irigwe land, in Bassa LGA has two districts, Kwall and the old missionary town of Miango. Both towns share borders with Kaduna State and communities in both States share a common market overtime. However, due to incessant attacks across the two states and communities, the roads have become a no-go-area thereby affecting trade relations and economic activities.”
“The two districts of Miango and Kwall are famous for the celebration of the New Year Festival on January 1st. This time around, it was not celebrated due to security concerns.
“Dodo said the festival was suspended due to fears of insecurity and as a mark of honour to the innocent blood that had been shed during the past year. He also added that, “Cultural and social ties have also been affected because there are intermarriages between neighbouring tribes.”
He advised, “members of the communities to desist from travelling from one village to the other in order not to be caught unawares. Adding that vigilantes were around to protect villages, but urged the villagers to rise up and defend themselves and also report suspicious movement promptly.”
On the situation, “Dodo appealed to government to find a solution to the crisis through adequate resettlement programme and that due to the limited number of security personnel, communities should be mobilized to defend themselves through incentives to vigilante groups.”
Again writing on Plateau killings: “A former member of the House of Representatives from Plateau State, Hon. Bitrus Kaze, has declared that General Muhammadu Buhari’s obvious failure to reverse the annihilation of the people of Plateau State has left the citizens with no option but to lose confidence in his administration.”
He also accused the Federal government of being quick to rush to convictions on selected cases in the EFCC, but has not been able to successfully prosecute any terrorists under the present administration.” Speaking an interview with DAILY POST in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
He explained, “From the killing fields in Barkin Ladi, Bokkos, Bassa and now Mangu LGA (to mention a few), the continued destruction of lives and property stands the rhetoric on its head that government’s appointments account for peace on the Plateau”, as he lamented. “The former lawmaker maintained that, “Government needs to discern that ultimate goal of our traducers is our ancestral heritage not just these arm-twisted appointments that explain only the peace of the graveyard on the Plateau.”
He further stated that, “the aforementioned attack, “Is coming on the day Operation Amotekun (the homebred security outfit) was launched in Abeokuta by governors from the South West. The lawmaker further advised Governor Lalong to take a cue and consolidate on the state’s security outfit, “Operation Rainbow”, by ensuring it is fully domesticated in “both content and context”. He stressed, “The time is now for the government and people of Plateau state to design our own means of survival, nobody else understands our plight better”.
“Some residents have strongly advocated effective utilization of Operation Rainbow as Bitrus Kaze said, “Governor Simon Lalong should take a cue and consolidate on the” Operation Rainbow”. Another, Mashat Makut stated, “Plateau is a God-fearing State, America’s age long motto is in God we trust, but they don’t rest in that cliché when it comes to facing the enemy headlong. We need a Plateau local vigilante police now or never. If Operation Rainbow is ineffective then we do away with it completely and work with the local vigilante to set up a Plateau Police.”
Again Dachung Bagos stated, “Desperate times call for desperate measures. If we ever doubted the collective will of the locals spearheaded by the traditional institutions, then this is the time to have a deep rethink. If the old way isn’t working, then we have to change tactics.
“We alone can free ourselves from the onslaught of the attackers on a mission to claim our lands and heritage. Plateau needs a local vigilante policing structure peculiar to our terrain.” Bagos added, “I want to reiterate my strong stand and need for State and community policing to safeguard lives and property.”
However, “Search for Common Ground”, a non-governmental organization working in Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa States, “through its project: transforming the farmer-herder conflicts and promoting freedom of religions and beliefs in Nigeria’s Middle Belt recently assembled stakeholders who hinted on a need for regional synergy to combat violence and crime.
“Also, the State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dan Manjang noted that, “We don’t need to imitate anyone, we have Operation Rainbow which is effective but it depends on the law guiding its establishment. It has its challenges but it is just to strengthen it.”
Adesanya-Davies concludes, “There is no knowledge of any regional or North Central Security outfit like what the South West just did, but they have Operation Rainbow in Plateau State, thus its better to synergise regional security outfits as Yoruba leaders, and have a North Central Security outfit too as soon as possible.
“While praying the Almighty God that rules in the affairs of men to rescue Plateau state of Nigeria one day by Himself, let the government also wake up to their responsibilities. “The first duty of government is the protection of life, not its destruction. Abandon that, and you have abandoned all,” they say.
It’s time to rescue Plateau State, Nigeria.
Comrade Kana Sani