By Ralph Madugu
The Mwaghavul people nation have been tasked to rise up and defend their “land of heritage” against the “systematic and deliberate ethnic cleansing of minority tribes in Nigeria.”
National President of Mwaghavul Development Association, MDA, Mr. Joseph Gwankat, gave the advice said this at a press conference in the wake of recent attacks on some communities of Mangu LGA of Plateau State.
Mr. Gwankat, who was in company of other executive of the apex umbrella body of the Mwaghavul nation said, “Today, we want the world to know that what is happening to us can best be described as genocide. It is a systematic and deliberate ethnic cleansing of minority tribes in in Nigeria and we cannot allow this to continue.
“We are calling on our people to arise and defend yourselves, your God-given land and properties with all that you have. We will not leave our land of heritage; this is the only place we can call our own; we have no other place.”
Recall that penultimate week, some communities in Mwaghavul chiefdom of Mangu LGA had come under attack by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
Giving a background to those attacks, the MDA President said that towards the end of December 2014, a violent conflict erupted between youths and Fulanis in Mangu District following the killing of a member of MDA “whose head was dismembered and the killer traced to a Fulani man.
“We tried to convince our youths that two wrongs cannot make right. Unfortunately, what started as violence by one-individual against another individual turned into full blown war between our communities.”
The Association added that over the years, it had leveraged on traditional institutions and other platforms for the management of conflicts, diversity and dispense justice because the people hate violent conflicts.
“It is important to let you know this because; we have a rich community experience in the management of conflicts and we appreciate the place of conflict in the development of our society. Yet we abhor violent conflict.”
The MDA explained that the Association had always managed conflict between its members and Fulanis in Mwaghavul communities and facilitated peace with their neighbours by developing “trust and right attitude towards the Fulanis which the Mwaghavul people perceived them as “extended members of our families” because of our mutually beneficial economic activities.”
He called on government to take immediate steps to facilitate the return of all displaced communities by reconstructing the homes of the victims and the provision of adequate security to enable them return to their homes.
“The re-admittance and reintegration of the killer herdsmen into our land again, if it will be at all, should be facilitated by an NGO or any agency of Government and at the cost of Government.”
MDA also advocated for the establishment of special courts for the dispensation of justice between conflicting communities to help nib in the bud some conflicts before they escalate.
The MDA President said that the Police had demonstrated “low capacity and political will” in securing minority tribes in the country and called for state policing in all states and communities.
He also advised security agencies to build synergy with local communities to ensure adequate security of lives and properties.
“NEMA and SEMA must urgently mobilize resources immediately to address the situation of victims and hosts of victims.
“We wish to encourage our people to remain steadfast, firm and unshakable in the defence of our land. We have never left our land in the pursuit of any perceived enemies to attack and kill them but enemies of the state mobilized themselves at regional, national and sub-national levels to attack us.”