From Jude Dangwam, Jos
Former Member House of Representatives for Bassa and Jos North Federal Constituency and Former Hon. Lumumba Dah Adeh has disclosed that over 40 persons have so far been killed 8 persons injured from the19 separate attacks on 15 communities of Irigwe Chiefdom in Bassa LGA of Plateau State from January to April 2020.
He said 330 houses were burnt down and 15 farm lands destroyed, cars, food barns, water pumps, motor bikes workshops among other things worth million of naira were destroyed as a result of the series of attacks on the Chiefdom by Fulani militias.
Chief Adeh who is Wazirin Miango stated this on Friday, during a press conference held in Jos the Plateau State Capital, where he accused the state and federal government of not doing enough to end the consistent attacks on Irigwe people.
“Between January 1st and April, 2020, no less than 40 persons have been killed and eight injured in 19 separate attacks on 15 communities in Irigwe Chiefdom of Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State.
“Apart from those that lost their lives and those wounded, the communities are still reeling in pains over the loss of valuable property which include 15 farms, 330 houses and other items valued at millions of naira like cars, food barns, water pumps, motor bikes etc as a result of these attacks.”
“While these killings have continued, the good people of Irigwe are constantly reminded that they are on their own and have no shoulders to lean on because even as the attacks persisted, there has been no strong committed response or action from either the local, state or federal government to reassure and give the people a sense of belonging as citizens of Nigeria.
“Much as the people of Irigwe do not want to believe that they have been abandoned to their fate, they observe with sadness that when other people suffer losses in similar circumstances, the government always identifies with them by quickly condemning such acts, reassuring the people of its concern and taking actions to prevent reoccurrence.
“The peace loving people of Irigwe, known for their hospitality and industry have however been treated differently, engendering a suspicion that there’s a conspiracy at all levels of government to abandon them to their fate.”
Adeh stressed that “our people cannot reconcile why at the height of these attacks and the consequent dispersal of the villagers, no intervention or support has been extended to them as done to other communities who had found themselves in similar situations.
“Federal agencies like NEMA and others charged with the statutory functions of bringing succor to the people in such circumstances have been totally absent.”
He said the Irigwe people whose major occupation is farming have been made to suffer deprivation and colossal losses in the past three years following the persistent attacks perpetrated by “suspected Fulani militias” as they were unable to go to their farms.
He pointed that the persistent killings and destruction of barns, buildings and other properties like automobiles is worrisome “it is an agenda to weaken and subdue or annihilate the Irigwes.”
While given some inside on military efforts in the area he said, “At the initial stage of this spate of unwarranted and unprovoked attacks, the STF, the security outfit set up by government for the protection of citizens stationed units in the two districts of Miango and Kwall. This action had served in keeping the attackers at bay while boosting the confidence of the villagers bringing about relative peace until recently when the STF high Command for reasons not stated, ordered the withdrawal of security personnel from the various stations.
“This action was immediately followed by the renewed spate of vicious, mindless and merciless attacks which started again on March 31, 2020 at Ancha in Miango district. Several pleas and presentations were made by stakeholders to the authorities to return the officers to those areas, but the pleas have fallen on deaf ears while the killings continued. Whereas the STF had initially given a good account of itself by protecting the people, there were occasions that their actions left much to be desired.”
Chief Adeh lamented that it was quite disturbing that with the heavy presence of the security officers who enjoy the full cooperation of stakeholders and the people, “the attacks continued up until Tuesday, 14th April, 2020 at Hurra village near Maiyanga in Kwall District (a community bordering Ganawuri in Riyom LG) where eight persons including a pregnant woman were killed in cold blood and properties destroyed.”
He accused Governor Simon Lalong of not including the sad killings of innocent lives including a pregnant woman during the COVID-19 lockdown order in his state broadcast.
“On the part of the state government, there has not been any serious commitment apart from the low level delegation visitation to the paramount ruler. It is equally sad that while the people of Hurra were murdered while obediently complying with the COVID-19 (fumigation) stay-at-home order, the governor’s address of 15th April, 2020 made no mention of them,”he stated.
The Former Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters called on relevant authorities in Bassa Local Government, Plateau State and Federal Government, to wake up to their responsibility to stem the ugly trend of destruction of lives and property in Irigwe Chiefdom.
He also charged the Federal and State Governments, through its agencies to provide relief materials to the affected people who have been abandoned in the wake of the attacks.
Chief Adeh regretted that despite the recent order by the President, Muhammadu Buhari directing the security agencies to go after all criminals and stem the tide of attacks and killings across the country, “they have failed to carry out the order in this instance in Irigwe chiefdom.”