DATED APRIL 13, 2022 IN JOS.
Gentlemen of the Press, it has become imperative for us as an association to address the press today considering the ugly event that happened on Wednesday, April, 7th, 2022 when Internally Displaced Persons from Rantis Community in Gashish District of Barkin Ladi LGA were attacked at a project site where rebuilding work was going on to ensure they return to their ancestral homes after they were displace from the village sometime in 2015.
It’s no longer news that over 68 villages and communities in Berom land have been sacked and are currently occupied by Fulani militias with no challenge whatsoever either from the Berom native owners or the Government as well as security services in favour of justice, equity and fairness.
The plight of Displaced Persons in this general area is yet to receive any meaningful attention in terms of relief, rehabilitation and return from any quotas or authority in the land except the usual infamous slogans, “Government is on top of the situation, and is assuring all citizens to go about their normal/lawful business without any fear or intimidation.”
Another of such slogans usually on air after and attack and killing is that, “the perpetrators of the dastardly act shall be fished out and brought to book.” One wonders how large the so-called book is, taking into account the number of killings and avoidable destructions that have been experienced in Plateau State for one. If the said slogans were to be true expressions of commitment on the part of Government and security agents, the issue of attacks and killings by the Fulani militias and other terrorist networks would have long been addressed adequately.
In fact, the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons has been reduced to verbal condemnation of attacks and killings, verbal assurances of justice, verbal promises of assistance which, to us, amount to mere lips service and indeed, mockery of the victims. The unbelievable reality is that these empty slogans are shamelessly repeated on air when attacks and killings are perpetrated.
Gentlemen of the Press, it’s already an established fact that in broad daylight, Nigerians are witnesses to massive land grab and massacres by the Fulani militia and other terrorist networks in Berom land and indeed, other parts of Plateau State with no attendant consequences from constituted authority and security agents to either forestall, apprehend or deter the perpetrators. Unfortunately, this is now the price that the Berom and other hospitable, accommodating and peace loving natives have been forced to pay for hosting the Fulani. In our view, the justification for the flagrant abuse, utter disregard and violation of the Fundamental Human Rights of the natives in the face of a weak and oscillating public opinion has to be sought within the parameters of a wider Fulani jihadis agenda in Nigeria.
Our understanding of the onslaughts on innocent civilians and unsuspecting Berom natives is that our lands are earmarked for Fulani forceful occupation, subjugation and subsequent annexation. The Fulani strategy is that of terrorism while the tactics is occupation and guerilla warfare with impunity in this 21st Century!
Furthermore, we want Nigerians and the world to know that Internally Displaced natives in Plateau State have not only been neglected to their fate, but are today effectively been sabotaged, so they forfeit rebuilding their homesteads thereby surrendering to the occupiers of their lands. To our knowledge, so many have been killed, maimed and injured while making self-efforts at rebuilding their homes and livelihoods. It’s not surprising that IDPs are suffering their fate without assistance and support while Fulani militias are drawing from the strength and sponsorship of terrorist networks, funding and unfettered supply of arms and ammunitions.
In this light, the following cases readily come mind:-
- The aborted rebuilding of Zim village in Ropp District of Barkin Ladi lga.
- Frustrating vandalization of Jong, Zim and Lukfine villages of Ropp District in Barkin Ladi LGA against their desire of return. Such reprehensible conduct has also be extended to Kurra-Berom, in Gashish District of Barkin Ladi LGA and Darin village of Jol community in Riyom LGA sometimes between 2014-2019 aside hudreds of people killed, thousands massively displaced within the periods in view. These, amongst other occurrences especially, the genocide of 2018 that pricked the conscience of Federal Government to pronounce a donation of #10 Billion for victims of Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGAs, and also an establishment of Mobile Police Squadron in Gashish which till date have never seen the light of fulfillment of promises. We equally sympathize with native inhabitants of Kanam LGA over the recent massacre of innocent Plateau people by some terrorist element, whose aim is to dislocate the socio-economic live of the unsuspecting victims.
The recent case of Rantis village of Gashish District in Barkin Ladi LGA deserves further consideration and comment. Here, two vibrant youth lost their lives and are being buried today, two are fatally injured and are presently battling for their lives in Jos University Teaching Hospital-JUTH while two others are outpatients.
It’s on record that the notice of the rebuilding effort of Rantis was made to relevant security agents in the area including the Local Government authority, and prior meeting was held with leaders of the Fulani with a view to securing peaceful atmosphere in and around the area. Shockingly, the IDPs of Rantis were brazenly attacked in the afternoon of Wednesday, 6th April, 2022 with no challenge whatsoever from any security agents, only to appear belatedly for the evacuation of corpses and the injured.
Again, we understand that some suspects have been arrested based on intelligence reports. We pray they will not be released unless and until there is validation and authentication of that against the testimonies of the victims/survivors. Curiously, one of the said attackers today, is said to have been boasting and provocatively parading himself as a sacred Cow who is above the law. This association however wants to commend the effort of Operation Safe Haven and other sister agents in trailing the suspects so far, and also the cooperation of Barkin Ladi LGC in this moment of Rantis travail. As advocate of justice, equity and fairness, the Association is assuring all Berom and lovers of humanity that this case will be keenly followed to its logical conclusion.
The above account is certainly without prejudice to other established cases of Fulani sabotage aimed at preventing the IDPs from rebuilding their homes and livelihoods. The case of villages and communities in Miango, Kwall, Daffo and Manguna Districts of Bassa and Bokkos LGAs respectively readily come to mind.
From the foregoing, the following facts are incontrovertibly evident;
- Federal Government failure to in not only releasing the #10 Billion funds promised, but also non establishment of the Mobile Police Squadron are tacit complacency over the continued degeneration of security situations in the area concerned.
- Government pronouncements and slogans over the media, especially on the plight of IDPs are empty with no commitment therefore has become a source of distraction.
- The Plateau State Government and indeed, the security agents have no clear-cut program and commitment to facilitate the return of IDPs to rebuild their homes and livelihoods;
- The non implementation of Anti-land Grabbing law in Plateau State is presently aiding the territorial expansionist appetite of the Fulani invaders from within and beyond the State.
- Giving the lack of political will and the requisite commitment on the part Government and its agencies to guarantee the security of lives and property of IDPs, it’s therefore incumbent on youth groups in the affected areas to synergize, collaborate and network for their survival.
- We call on Human Right organizations and Foundation as well as International NGOs to assist/facilitate IDP communities and villages with funds to secure legal service for enforcement of their rights.
Finally to the Fulani invaders and land grabbers, we unequivocally declare that no inch of Berom Land shall be ceded no matter the magnitude of terror and killings of our people. The resolve in the land is that, Might” can never be able to be Right”, and good shall always prevail over evil.
Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, Esq. Bature Iliya Adazaram
BYM National President BYM Secretary General
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