Militia attacks Plateau villages, destroys 167 hectares of crops
Posted by News Express | 31 July 2021 | 613 times
By ISAAC SHOBAYO, Jos
Gunmen believed to be Fulani militias have invaded Bassa and Riyom local government areas of Plateau State, killing four persons and destroying about 167 hectares of crops belonging to 39 nine families in the process.
Saturday Tribune learnt that the invaders stormed Nche village in Miango district of Bassa Local Government Area on Thursday at about 9.39 p.m., where they killed three persons and inflicted injuries on many other residents.
It was gathered that the militias also ambushed and shot dead one Amos Danladi in the early hours of Friday at Gwa-Rim in Rim, Riyom Local Government Area, even as they destroyed farmlands with crops that were ready for harvest in Jol community under the same council area.
The chairman of Miango Youth Association in Bassa Local Government Area, Mr Lawrence Zongo, confirmed the attack in the area, saying the assailants arrived in Nche village after the inhabitants had retired into their respective homes after a heavy rain had disrupted activities in the area.
“They invaded the village at precisely 9.45 p.m., killed three persons who were probably returning from a journey and shot others in their homes. Those who sustained gunshot wounds are presently receiving treatment in a nearby hospital.
"After this evil act, they moved to farms and destroyed crops, most which were ready for harvest. In the past few days, no fewer than 167 hectares of farms with crops belonging to 30 families have been destroyed, apart from mindless grazing on farmlands,” Zongo said.
He appealed to the government to come to the aid of the local government and the entire people of Plateau North senatorial district who, he said, had been under persistent attacks by militias.
In the Riyom Local Government Area incident, the gunmen trapped and killed Danladi and went on to destroy farmlands whose crops were ready for harvest in Jol community, which is under the same local government.
A source claimed that in Jol community, no fewer than nine farms of sorghum, maize and other crops were destroyed during the attack.
The source added that the attackers resorted to the destruction of farms when they were confronted and repelled.
According to the source, the recent attack on villages and destruction of farms was a deliberate attempt to frustrate the farmers and force them out of their ancestral land.
Efforts to get the state Police Public Relations Officer, Ubah Ogaba, to speak on the incidents were unsuccessful as of press time.
Meanwhile, the coordinator of the Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria (ECCVN), Mr Dalyop Solomon Nwantiri, has alleged that Fulani herders had vowed to frustrate the harvest of crops this year in Plateau North senatorial district, especially in Berom land. But the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) described the allegation as baseless and lacking in substance. Speaking on what he called the ongoing daily destruction of farmlands and crops, Mwantiri said intelligence report indicated that Fulani herdsmen had made a vow to thwart harvests in Berom land this year.
He said: “We are not surprised by what is happening now because prior to this ugly development, precisely two months ago, there was an intelligent report that the Fulani herdsmen vowed that there won’t be harvests in Berom land this year and this is exactly what is playing out. Farms are destroyed on a daily basis.
“There was a threat even yesterday (Thursday) that the Fulani were going to attack Jol village and other surrounding communities. The attack was carried out. Nine farms were destroyed. Even when the new Operation Safe Haven commander banned night grazing, the Fulani vowed they would not adhere to the order.
“They not only destroy crops, they also bring their cows in the night to graze on those farms. So, there were threats that the Berom will not farm this year; that even if they farm, there won’t be harvests. This is exactly what we are seeing.”
But in a reaction, the state chairman of MACBAN, Malam Nura Abdullahi, said there was never a threat from the herders to destroy crops or go against any peace initiative. He said the allegation was concocted by some people to tarnish the image of herders. (Saturday Tribune)