By Marie-Therese Nanlong
The Irigwe natives in Plateau State have raised alarm over what they termed plot by “Fulani nihilists” to wipe them out of their ancestral land without any intervention by “those whose primary responsibility is the security of lives and property of all citizens.”
The natives, found in Bassa local government area of the State say in the last five months, over 40 of their people have been killed, over 20 houses razed, several farming implements and household items carted away, over 500 cultivated farmlands destroyed, even as they suffer other losses in the hands of the attackers.
The people in a joint press conference by the Irigwe Development Association, IDA, Irigwe Youth Movement and the Women wing of the tribe, lamented that precious lives of the natives are being wasted without any perpetrators being arrested nor prosecuted.
The IDA National President, Robert Dodo who read the text in Jos on Tuesday said, “It’s no longer news that Rigwe Nation has been under attacks by Fulani herdsmen for over some months and the effects of these have resulted in the destruction of lives and property, materials carted away, farmlands and crops destruction, houses burnt.
“But in spite of our endless, limitless and boundless efforts in ensuring that we do not cross the bounds of anyone by way of fomenting trouble yet, we are being attacked, killed and subjected to absolute homelessness, psychological trauma, penury and internally displaced condition.
“We have been invited and participated in dialogues , meetings and trainings aimed at enhancing peace building and peaceful coexistence, we have kept our words in ensuring that we are not found wanting in acts capable of ruining our reputation and integrity as a people, yet the Fulani Militias have tagged those engagements as exercises in futility, this they have proven by constantly devising means of engaging in an ungodly, unholy and inhumanely acts that are antagonistical and inimical to Rigwe people.
“The entire Rigwe Nation is saddened, wretched, heartsore and hangdog by the continuous, perpetual and unremitting perpetration of attacks by Fulani nihilists in the land. It’s provoking and annoying that precious lives of Rigwe people are being wasted, emaciated and expunged on daily basis by Fulani militias without any iota of remorse and penitence but with absolute impunity and sadism.
“It’s worthy of note that from the beginning of the year 2021 to date, over forty (40) Rigwe people have been killed by Fulani nihilists in Bassa and Jos North LGAs, over twenty houses razed down, several farming implements and household items carted away, over 500 cultivated of different farmlands worth over 1billion naira destroyed and many unbearable losses.”
He raised concerns that, “In spite of these series of unabated attacks in Rigwe land by Fulani militias we have had less attention from those whose primary responsibility is the security of lives and property of all citizens. We are pained and have been allowed to mourn and grief on our own as if we don’t have those at the helm of affairs seeing and watching the Fulani nihilists unleash terror on our people.
“In a continuous brutal show of force by Fulani militias against Rigwe people, nobody has been arrested, investigated and prosecuted according to the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria even with the names of Fulani nihilists suspected to be perpetrators of these callous and barbaric acts. We are concerned because their continuous living without being apprehended is like encouraging criminality. Houses that have been burnt down have not received any attention, no assessment carried out by the local, state and federal governments in an attempt to rebuild them.
“We are concerned because our people have been confined to internally displaced situation though not staying in IDP camps but accommodated by neighbors and relatives. Farmlands destroyed have not received any news of plans of compensation.
We are concerned because, Rigwe people are predominantly farmers and this not doubt has great effects on the people because that is the main source of livelihood.”
The people among other things demanded from the three tiers of government that “The Fulani herdsmen be asked to suspend grazing in Rigwe land. This will enable our people and the herders have a dialogue in order to come to a compromise because this grazing has been fingered to be the major cause of this mayhems, immediately provide relief materials to the victims of the attacks as well as direct SEMA and NEMA to carry out an assessment on all the affected communities with a view of providing succor.”