Posted by Onoja Audu, Dele Moses, Tor Vande-Acka | 26 January 2018 | 1,232 times
Fresh hostilities between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in three local government areas of Plateau State, on Thursday, set the troubled communities of Daffo in Bokkos, Riyom, and Bassa on fire as they resorted to attacking each other over accusations of cow rustling and destruction of farms.
The confrontation left over 10 persons dead and several others wounded.
Dangerous weapons were used in the free-for-all that went on for hours in these communities.
Not less than six persons have so far been killed in Bokkos Local Government Area as the herders and the natives took up arms against one another this week.
Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), the Task Force in charge of maintaining peace in Plateau State, on Thursday, told newsmen that three people had been killed in Josho village of Bokkos Local Government Area of the state.
These killings occurred in the wake of an earlier clash between some locals and the Fulani community of Irigwe chiefdom in Bassa Local Government Area, Northern Plateau, which claimed five persons.
The Media and Information Officer of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Major Adam Umar, said a clash between the local and Fulani in Bokkos had claimed two men and a woman.
According to Umar, a Fulani man was killed by two locals when they saw him excavating clay to mould blocks on a contentious land.
“The land has been in contention between the Fulani and the locals and when the two people saw him, instead of alerting security agents, they killed him.
“The Fulani also mobilised and came out to challenge the locals and they killed a woman and a man,” he said.
He said it was unfortunate that despite living peacefully, the Ron and Fulani youths had resorted to self-help, adding that “our men have moved into the area and we are dominating the place to prevent any break down in law and order.”
The Fulani cattle breeders chairman in the state, Muhammad Nuru Abdallah, in a statement issued in Jos, on Thursday, decried the incessant attacks and killings of Fulani cattle rearers and their cows by armed bandits on the Plateau.
This was contained in a letter of complaint which the MACBAN chairman in the state, Muhammad Nuru Abdallah, wrote to the Commander of Operation Safe Haven.
Meanwhile, a 22-hectare farmland in Idofian/Igberi, Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, has allegedly been set ablaze by a Fulani herdsman formerly employed to guard the farm.
The owners of the farm, Lehin Investment Farms, said they suspected the herdsman, identified as Hameed Gaa-Akanbi, who they recently disengaged, as the brain behind the burning.
Consultant to the farm owner, Daramola Josiah, who conducted newsmen round the burnt farm, said the herdsman, after being sacked from his employment, threatened to cause problem in the farm.
Josiah said the company lost about N20m to the disaster as he explained that the fire affected cassava, rice due for harvesting and cashew trees of the farm.
He said the suspect was on the run.
In a related development, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Thursday disclosed that Fulani herdsmen have killed another mobile policeman in Guma Local Government Area of the state.
The herdsmen also set a farmer ablaze in the same area, while some residents were discovered to be missing and the wounded taken to the hospital.
He made this known while speaking to newsmen shortly after playing host to former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, at the Benue Peoples’ House, Makurdi.
Senator Kwankwaso, who was in the state to commiserate with the people of the state over the killing of 73 persons by herdsmen recently, also donated relief materials to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
The governor lamented that if the herdsmen were even killing policemen, then the situation was beyond the police.
He observed that the Federal Government had been using diversionary tactics to avoid the issue on the ground.
“It is not about grazing, but about taking over the land, and they want me to keep quiet. As long as there is no justice I will continue to say and to sing and to shout. This is not acceptable.
“They know it, all the diversionary game that is playing out; trying to change the narrative is not accepted by Benue people.
“You can’t tell me that terrorists are coming from other parts of Africa to attack (Benue) and you (government) are keeping quiet. We know where these people (attackers) are.
“It is unfortunate that innocent security men are also victims, my heart bleeds for my country Nigeria,” he said.
Governor Ortom also warned those that were not affected by the attacks and had been keeping quiet to be prepared that it would soon come to their doorsteps if they remained complacent.
According to him, “And for those who are keeping quiet and thinking that it’s happening to Benue State, I want to inform them that it will also come to them.
“We must rise up to work together as a people to ensure that we surmount this challenge and in doing it, the truth must be told.
“We must be fair to all, we must ensure that justice is done so that everyone will feel protected under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Those who say I’m talking too much, give me justice and I will keep quiet.
“Once I see justice for my people I will be satisfied. But as long as there is no justice, when my people are slaughtered and burnt, that’s the new dimension.
“Yesterday somebody from my local government area was slaughtered and burnt.”
While repeating the call for the arrest of those responsible for the killings, he said: “I am saying this because we know the militant Myetti Allah; we demand nothing less than this and I still want to repeat that there is need to arrest the leadership of Myetti Allah Kautal Hore.
“We have not done anything wrong, we have done what the constitution mandates us to do.
“That is where we stand. Because we are peaceful people and we want the best for our people and, in achieving this, we will do it through the instrumentality of the law.”
The governor further stated: “We look forward to the implementation of the resolution on the floor of the Senate that took over five hours to debate, so we can have peace.”
While he appreciated the gesture of Senator Kwankwaso, he said he had the belief that the current challenge was surmountable.
He assured that all the relief materials the senator had brought would be delivered to the IDPs and thanked him for sharing in the pains of the displaced persons.
Earlier, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso promised he would do what it would take to lobby his colleagues in the National Assembly as well as the Federal Government to support the governor so as to put the incident behind.
He noted that he was aware of the pains and cost of taking care of over 80,000 IDPs, hence the Kwankwasiya Foundation donated one hundred and twenty bags of rice to support the state in taking care of the displaced persons. (INDEPENDENT)
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