By Our Reporter
A group known as the Association of Middle Belt Ethnic National, ASOMBEN has said that the Plateau State House of Assembly “appears to be the most inefficient Assembly in the country.”
The group in a Press Statement issued and signed by its Chairman, Barr. Sule Kwasau and Secretary, Rev. James Pam in the aftermath of the recent happenings in Plateau State especially the events of Saturday 14 August 2021 at Rukuba Road, ASOMBEN said that “in the last 6 years, the legislators have not stood up to defend their constituents despite the hundreds of terrorist attacks and killings all over the State and they have not queried the Governor’s projects like the deceitful NLTP which Plateau people have never understood or accepted because of the fear that armed Fulani migrants will be located in their communities.”
On the Rukuba road incident, the group described the killings that took place on that fateful day “were a release of pent up anger by some of those who have been at the receiving end of many atrocities for years without government protection.”
According to ASOMBEN, the narrative being promoted so far by state actors, religious leaders and casual commentators has been “biased and deliberately skewed to create false impression” about the killings in the minds of the general public.
In what ASOMBEN considered as attempt to put the record straight, the group said “We would like the world to know that Fulani terrorists started attacking Irigwe people of Bassa LGA of Plateau State 18 years ago. In their press statement, the TEKAN/ECWA bloc of CAN informed the world that in the last one month alone commencing from 18th July 2021, almost on daily basis, Fulani militia killed 85 Irigwe people, vandalized and or burnt 3,141 houses, destroyed crops 2,901 farms, resulting in the displacement of 5,901 consisting of 29,805 persons in 26 villages from their ancestral homes.
“All these atrocities were committed within one kilometer of the Nigerian Army 3rd Division in Rukuba Barracks without a single challenge by soldiers of the Nigerian Army.
“The question on the lips of every Plateau citizens is, why the Nigerian Army and Police refused to act to save lives and property or to arrest the perpetrators.
“The eventual late arrival of security agents is always to stop the Irigwe victims from embarking on reprisal attacks and to seize their few crude weapons of self-defense.”
ASOMBEN added that its investigation has not been able to unravel what triggered the clash at Rukuba road that led to the murder of an estimated 23 persons.
The Nigerian Police PRO, ASP Gabriel Ogaba, ASOMBEN said, did “an unthinkable thing” when he released a “hastily written report” within 4 hours of the incident indicting Irigwe youth and their sympathizers of being responsible for the killings of Muslim travelers.
According to ASOMBEN, the misleading Police report led to a plethora of condemnation of Irigwe peole and all Plateau Christians in general.
“It even led to Shiekh Dahiru Bauchi visiting President Buhari to demand for the arrest of the perpetrators and compensation for the victims.
“Meanwhile, no one cared about the Fulani terrorists nightly attacks over the preceding 18 days which saw 85 Irigwe people killed, houses razed, farm crops mowed down and thousands of people displace from over a dozen villages, not even the State Governor.”
The group also stated that the picture that comes through in all that it had gathered is the “collusion between Fulani terrorists and Nigerian security personnel to perpetrate ethnic and religious cleansing within the Middle Belt communities in order to take over their God-given land.
“Laduga in Southern Kaduna and Rakun (renamed Mahanga by the Fulanis) in Plateau State with the Federal Government’s MDG office constructing a school there and naming it Ardo Mamuda, Mahanga.”
In view the circumstances, ASOMBEN called for an investigation into the killing of the 85 Irigwe people between 18th July 2021 and 20th August 2021 as well as the prosecution of the perpetrators and payment of compensation to survivors.
It also called for “an immediate amendment of the 1999 Constitution of the FRN by the NASAA to allow for creation of State Police Forces,” and the “immediate restructuring of Nigeria in line with the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.
The group recommended for the official classification of Fulani armed herdsmen, Boko Haram, Bandits and kidnappers as terrorists and terrorists’ groups, the invitation of armies or hiring of foreign military contractors to assist us in the fight against all terrorists’ groups as some of the solutions to the problems.
It also called on the Plateau State House of Assembly to stop the State Governor from what it termed “unauthorized and unilaterally implementing the NLTP until after a public hearing and passage by the State Assembly.”