Coalition of ethnic groups protest killings in Plateau

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From Gyang Bere, Jos

A coalition of ethnic nationalities from Plateau Northern Senatorial District have staged a protest over the killing of farmers by bandit herdsmen in Miango community in Bassa Local Government Area of the state.

The demonstration commenced at about 7 am on Wednesday, and had in attendance the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), youth and women wing. They all converged at the new Government House Rayfield, Jos to express their displeasure over the killings.

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Several communities in Miango had suffered a series of attacks in the past few days, leading to the death of several victims and the destruction of food crops and properties.

The National President of the Irigwe Youth Movement, Ezekiel Peter Bini, who spoke at the protest, called on the government to show commitment to securing the lives and properties of Plateau State, particularly the Irigwe nation who have suffered untold hardship.

He said the killings have forced the Irigwe people and other groups in Plateau to come out in protest to let the government and the world know how bad the situation has become.

The youths, presenting their position at the protest, issued a statement read by Ezekiel Peter Bini. It read:

‘A coalition of youth organizations in the Northern Senatorial District of Plateau State in collaboration with Youth Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN) and Women’s Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN) agreed to issue this Press Statement rising from a very crucial meeting, held in Jos which inter alia, assessed the plight of the youth in the Zone, and indeed, Nigeria.

‘Deeply concerned about continued killings, Insecurity, deplorable and degenerating living conditions of native Christian communities and villages in crisis-affected areas, especially in Irigwe of Bassa LGA and other Local Government Areas such as Jos North, Jos South, Riyom, Bokkos and Barkin Ladi, where children, women and other unarmed residents have been left to terrorism onslaughts daily carried out by Fulani militias.

‘We equally note the mass displacements, closure of many schools and children’s drop-out of school as a result of the unwearied attacks by the militias and/or bandits throughout the hostility periods with non or less Federal security response we consider as a conspiracy of silence on the part of the security agents, who are deployed guarantee safety of residents and also curb down the concentration of terrorist networks in Irigwe and beyond so that hostilities would have been drastically reduced.

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‘We however witness more of aiding and abetting genocide and other forms of crimes against humanity hence calls for necessary action including an overview of the whole security architecture otherwise we will be left with no option than to conclude the continued promotion of Fulani jihad for ethnic cleansing, intolerance, and religious bigotry diminishing and threatening our precarious balance, patriotism as a state.

‘The system has demonstrated biases in the ongoing invasions aiming at bringing Irigwe and other affected native Christians as well as residents to extinction in order to enlarge territorial expansionist land grab agenda of the militias who are currently in occupation of over 102 villages and communities in Plateau State.’

The youths said that they are pained over the continued destruction of farmed crops senselessly meted out by way of mischievous grazing and mowing of crops in the zone.

‘This, of course, proves true about the rumours flying out that there will be no harvest of farmed crops in Irigwe, Jos South, Riyom and Bokkos in 2022 as planned by the militias,’ Bini said.

‘We therefore call for dislodgement of all militias and other terrorist elements in and around Irigwe land and beyond.

‘It’s worthy of note that our unflinching support and solidarity are with the Plateau State House of Assembly not only on the initiation of Livestock Transformation Program introduced as a bill for a law in the state but also calling for Anti-open Grazing Bill be equally initiated in order to nip in the bud the ongoing terrorism being unleashed under the guise of open grazing.’

The Secretary to the Government of Plateau State, Prof Danladi Atu, who addressed the protesters, said the government has taken serious measures toward resolving the killings.

He said Governor Simon Lalong commiserates with the families of those affected and has ordered the security outfits in the state to dominate these areas while a thorough investigation is carried out to ascertain those behind the attacks and bring them to justice to serve deterrence.

‘Governor Lalong has further directed the State Emergency Management Agency to step in to ascertain the extent of damage and casualties as well as provide immediate relief materials to cushion the effect of this condemnable act of man’s inhumanity to man while lasting solutions are sought,’ Prof Atu said.

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