By Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
After President Mohammadu Buhari launched Plateau State Peace-Building Agency in Jos at about 6:30 PM on Thursday, at least 11 persons were again murdered by suspected herdsmen in two separate attacks in the early hours of yesterday.
The dastardly attacks took place even as the president expressed the commitment of the federal government to support and assist the Peace-Building Agency to end the vicious cycle of violence in the state.
The two-night attacks on Ganda village of Daffo district of Bokkos Local Government Area and on Miango village of Bassa Local Government Area happened in the early hours of yesterday.
The National President of Irigwe Development Association (IDA), Hon. Sunday Abdu,claimed that the casualty figure of the Bassa attack was five, while Evangelist Jerry Datim alleged that six people were killed in Ganda.
The names of those killed in Miango are; Emmanuel Joseph, Christopher Joseph, Peace Joseph, Henry Audu and Illa Isa Peter.
Abdu said, “Yes, it is true that five people were killed in Miango by Fulani herdsmen in an attack which took place yesterday night and lasted till the early part of this morning. Others were wounded in the unprovoked attack. The bodies of the five slaughtered people have been deposited at the hospital morgue. We are no longer in a hurry to bury our dead. Whenever we are going to bury them, we will let you people know.
“The Fulani herdsmen are killing us but they are the ones crying. What kind of pretext is that? I still appeal to the security personnel not to relent, but to step up vigilance and surveillance to stop this pogrom and unwarranted carnage.”
Datim said that over 50 houses were burnt at Ganda where several persons were also injured and rushed to the hospital.
Mr. Matawal Mangut, who though narrowly escaped, lost five brothers to the attackers in Ganda, lamented that their house was burnt completely, destroying everything they ever worked for.
He called for assistance from the Federal and State governments to help protect them from persistent attacks by Fulani herders in the area.
Also confirming the attacks and the killings, the spokesman of the Special Task Force (STF) on Plateau crisis, Major Adam Umar said that when the unfortunate incident happened, the people alerted the STF and that their personnel hastily mobilised to the scene. But that before their men could get there, the attackers had fled. He added that the soldiers of the Command are now fully in charge of the areas, as patrols have been intensified with a view to getting the perpetrators.
Umar also appealed to the people to always be vigilant and security conscious by reporting any strange object or movement to the nearest security agency for prompt attention.
Bassa Local Government Council has, since September last year, suffered unabated attacks by herdsmen, with hundreds of Irigwe people killed.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Mohammadu Nuru Abdullah, on Wednesday lamented alleged fresh attack on his kinsmen that claimed three lives of Fulani herders, describing it as terrorism.
Abdullah, in a press statement, said he was “overwhelmingly shocked that the Irigwe militias in an effort to accomplish their mission of terrorising Fulani herdsmen in Bassa LGA, have on Monday March 5, 2018 re-attacked Fulani cattle herders and mercilessly killed three persons namely; Abubakar Shehu, Abubakar Gidado and Ishaq Yusuf without provocation.
“It is also disturbing that the Irigwe community would always trespass into other neighboring local government areas and launch their attacks and kill our people for no cause.
“On the same Monday when three of my kinsmen were killed, the same militias attacked and killed a total of 38 cows; 20 of the cows belonged to Wada Alh Audu, while 18 belonged to Umaru Ibrahim.
“The Irigwe militias usually cross into Riyom, Jos South and part of Southern Kuduna to strike. In this particular incident, they operated from Rukwechungu village of Miango district in Bassa LGA into Gero village of Gyel district in Jos South LGA. They also beat up and wounded Haruna Zakariya, who is now receiving treatment in a clinic at Rafin Bauna. It is on record that this militia group has been unleashing terror against our innocent cattle headers in the areas.”
He said in spite of efforts made by the government, security, communities, and other non-governmental organisations to restore peace, the militia had continued to kill silently.
In the meantime, Buhari, who left for Abuja yesterday after the visit to Plateau State, disclosed that the federal government would make use of the money saved from drop in rice importation to improve agricultural infrastructure in the country.
The President stated this while launching 400 units of tractors procured by the Plateau State Government to increase food production.
He also described the tractors as high quality products, saying it can last for decades, but urged users to ensure adequate maintenance.
In his address, the state Governor, Simon Bako Lalong said: “In the pursuit of our commitment to service delivery, the experiences from the economic misfortune occasioned by the fall of oil price in the global market necessitated our thinking out of the box under the new reality. In this regard, the administration identified three new normal or areas that the state has comparative advantages namely, agriculture, mineral resources development and tourism. These have been pursued within the context of strategic policy framework through the relevant MDAs.”