BEFORE WE ARE FINISHED -BEING TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE IRIGWE DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (IDA) ON THE CONTINUOUS GRUESOME KILLINGS BY HERDSMEN.
Gentlemen of the press, when we addressed you last year following the serial attacks on our people that left over seventy people dead and properties destroyed, we told you it was a confirmation of the threat by the herdsmen that N’CHA was just the beginning.
In continuation of that avowed determination to eliminate the Irigwe race, the Fulani herdsmen have continually unleashed mayhem on our communities, killing, maiming, burning and destroying farmlands.
since January this year, we have continually picked corpses of our loved ones, some burnt beyond recognition from night attacks by Fulani herdsmen militia, some killed in the homes, some in the farms, and others on their way home from places of leisure and business.
When we reacted to a claim by the Miyetti Allah group in January of missing cattle, we told you it was a ploy to justify another round of killings. true to this, the Fulani militia, which the federal government has refused to brand a terrorist organization to the dismay of Nigerians, have continued to visit our villages with orchestrated and unwarranted carnage.
Today, we bury four, from an attack on Nzharuvo, which left five, mostly children dead and one injured, but here is a breakdown of the various serial attacks we have suffered;
1. DTV,NKIENWHIE 25TH /1/ 2018 8 DEAD,8 INJURED, HOUSES RAZED.
2. HUKKE 26TH- 1-2018 3 KILLED, HOUSES BURNT
3.NZHWERINVI- HOUSES RAZED
4. ARIRI/ TAFIGANA -2 KILLED, 1 INJURED
5.NZWEGO- 29/1/2018, HOUSES RAZED
6. REWIENKU- 1/2/2018, FARM PRODUCE DESTROYED
7. ZANGWRA- 10/2/2018, 2 KILLED, 2 INJURED
8.ZOGU- 21/2/2018, 1 INJURED
9. MAI FARIN MOTA, NZWEREVO- 26/2/2018, 2 KILLED
10.ROTSU- 2/3/2018, 2 KILLED
11.MINING CAMP-5/3/2018, 1 KILLED
12.NZHAR’UVO- 8/3/2018, FIVE KILLED, 1 INJURED
13.LA’AKEH-9/3/2018, FOUR KILLED
14.KPARA- 12/3/2018, 1 KILLED
This ugly scenario which has continued unhindered has left in its wake, sorrow, tears and despair in Irigwe land, thus, leaving our people homeless, and hopeless daily, as they leave in droves to seek refuge in Jos and environs.
We have cried out to security agencies to rise to the occasion, but it will interest you to know that some of the attacks occured just few meters from security check points, but the soldiers would rather stay glued to these check points even against distress calls and offer of intelligence by our people.
A point in case, which you may have seen on your way here, is zangwra, where houses by the road side were burnt, and people killed, very close to the check point. what a shame!
We have noted with dismay certain releases and comments on mainstream and social media by the miyyeti allah group, and we have had course to debunk some of them as outright lies to justify an orgy of killings by their militia.
perhaps more worrisome is a video in circulation by a certain cleric,SAWTUL-HIKMAH, which purports that even security personnel of their religious extraction must do the biddings of their religion. he even purports that the message has gone out to the presidency.
Comments such as this one no doubt, sends a clear message as to what to expect from security personnel, and leave one wondering if indeed, anyone is safe in our land. with this therefore, any failure on the side of security personnel will be viewed as an orchestration of this mandate. this is bad for our country. Such people ironically, are walking freely.
our situation and the seeming lackluster proactiveness of the federal government in arresting the menace may have been compounded by the frequent claims by the plateau state government that peace has returned to the state.
This stance of government officials is indeed, an insult on the innocence of rural dwellers, who have not known sleep in a long time, nor able to carryout their farming activities.
This same propaganda was reiterated glaringly during the recent presidential visit, when plateau state should have used the long awaited opportunity to tell the president the situation of things as they have been. our leaders have sold us out by claiming that Plateau is at peace. What responsible government turns its back on its people as they face daily attacks. What do they want to achieve by taking such wiked stance? your guess is as good as mine.
Worse of all was the comment of the CAN chairmanduring the guided presidential town hall meeting where instead of telling the president how the church was daily, losing its population to the senseless attacks by fulani herdsmen, chose to eulogise the state government for the payment of salaries which has made the church richer.
friends, here is a question that begs for answers; what good is a salary that may only be used to bury one’s family members killed by herdsmen? SHAME ON THEM!
Let me remind the CAN chairman that that the one he claims to be working forneither sleeps nor slumbers. i dare to say that all that is happening to the poor masses is the failure of the church.
We therefore, advice the plateau state government to stop the propaganda and take proactive steps at ending the annihilation of Irigwe people, whose significance is only to be considered in the coming elections.
We have also continued to cry out to the international community, civil rights groups, the press and all plateau people to mount pressure on the Nigerian and Plateau state government to wake up to their duties of protecting lives and properties of the people.
That the carnage has continued, does it mean our voices and cries have not been heard?
Let it be known, by the media and everyone that what we are experiencing are simply attacks by herdsmen, and not a ‘clash’ as often painted by various speakers. This narrative is indeed unfair to a people who have continually suffered from the callousness of the fulani herdsmen and has added to our injuries. let’s call it what it is!
We have constantly identified locations and enclaves where we feel the marauding Fulani militia hide to perpetrate their callous activities, but to our greatest disappointment, security agents have never taken time to comb these areas, but keep saying they have not received the orders.
These areas include among others, RAFIN BAUNA, DUTSEN KURA, PANKE, MARIRI, KATUME and the RAFIKI area.
The latest dimension is the targeting of households killing children, and blocking the major road to Miango.we therefore, calls on security operatives to secure our lives by sustained patrol of the miango road, especially from RAFIKI to the twin hills. this area has become a hot zone for travelers who are ambushed and killed.
The ones we bury today have joined the four we buried two days ago from LA’AKEH. Theirs is finished, but the reality is, as we leave this place, no one knows which community, household or individual is next. Apprehension and perpetual fear have thus; become the prevailing atmosphere in the land.
Another fear is the looming hunger, occasioned by sustained attacks on farmers and destruction of farm produce. Even as the rains set in, we wonder how our people will go to farm or what they will eat during this season.
It may interest you to know that series of meetings have been held between us and the Fulanis, as brokered by the local administration and security agencies, with far reaching decisions taken, one of which is that leaders would henceforth be arrested where there is a breach on either side. However, no Fulani leader has been arrested following the series of attack and killings of our people. Where is the sincerity?
To our utter dismay, our communities have come under attack few hours after some of these security meetings, and even though we had caught some of the invaders and handed them to security agents, nothing has been heard of them, as the security personnel would rather whisk them away masked.
Today, we have risen as a nation to say enough is enough, we have buried many and if indeed, we have a rescue government in the state, this is the time to show it.
We also urge the president to take a careful look at the petition we have sent to his office with a view to intervening.
We believe in peace and what it can achieve, but what peace negates rural dwellers by focusing on those in urban centres?
We also call on the victim support fund,(VSF), SEMA and NEMA to visit our ravaged communities to ascertain the level of destruction with a view to assisting our people get back to their homes and livelihoods.
These senseless killings and destructions are unacceptable, and enough is enough!
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