By Abel Daniel
Nasarawa used to be one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria where people from various tribes lived together, inter-married, and shared common beliefs and customs.
However, recent events have proved that the state has sadly joined the league of states with records of communal violence.
Apart from the persistent clashes between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in the Southern Senatorial District of the state resulting in the destruction of lives and properties worth billions of naira, Nasarawa has recorded ethnic clashes involving Assakio, Obi and Odobu communities in Lafia local government area.
The September Assakio crisis, no doubt, threw citizens of the state into confusion and, of course, it was a rude shock when the Eggon ethnic group and their Alago counterparts who have lived together for years woke up one day in September and began destroying lives and properties. The situation has inevitably left thousands displaced who found refuge in camps across Nasarawa.
The condition of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in some of the camps visited by our correspondent is deplorable. Mostly women and children, they suffer untold hardship due to the poor health condition, lack of food and sleeping arrangement and no medical attention. There is also the fear of possible attack by assailants as there is no security.
Some of the IDPS at Agyaragu and Kadarko camps in Jenkwe development area claimed to have been there for the past two years. One of them, Mrs. Paulina Adanyi, said she had been in the Agyaragu camp for two years as a result of the fight between Fulanis and Aghatus in Ekye development area in the state in 2012.
Mrs. Adanyi, in her mid 60s, expressed bitterness over the ethnic conflicts that continue to ravage the state. “I don’t know why Nasarawa State has turned to killing fields where blood is shed on daily basis and houses destroyed leaving many homeless”, she lamented.
According to her, government has never done anything to cater for the displaced people until Governor Almakura, on his visit to the IDPs in the camps following recent conflicts, gave them some relief materials. She called on government to look into the plight of the displaced people and give them with adequate attention.
Jijah Moses, a victim of one of the recent conflicts, told Sunday Vanguard in the Kadarko camp that he had nothing anymore as all his belongings were burnt alongside his family house in Keana during the conflict. “This dress you see on me is all I have”, he said. He pleaded with well-meaning Nigerians and international organizations to come to their aid because the state government alone cannot handle the situation. Hon. Kwatse Nicolas said seven women had child delivery in the Agyaragu camp under poor medical care.
As peace is beginning to return to some of the troubled places, Almakura has ordered that the displaced people in Namu, Quan Pan local government area of Plateau State be evacuated back to their homes. On Wednesday, the Nasarawa State Emergency Management Agency (NASEMA) evacuated over 100 refugees who are mainly youths and men from Namu to Asakio. They are presently being camped at the local government secretariat as there are no houses for them.