Churches Destroyed by Terrorists Have Been Reconstructed as Mosques – Plateau Indigenous Youth Bodies

Our Reporter

A group under the umbrella of the Coalition of Plateau State Indigenous Youth Bodies have raised alarm on the spate of Fulani occupation of hamlets, villages, communities and land grabbing in the state.

Addressing a press conference in Jos, the group made up of Attakar, Berom, Irigwe, Mwahgavwul and Ron youths as well as the Coalition of the Indigenous Youths Body alleged that the agenda and strategy of the Fulani terrorists were evidenced in attacks and killings on Hamlets, Villages and Communities resulting in the intimidation and displacing native inhabitants thereby leading to the disruption of their livelihoods and paving way for the occupation of such lands and denial of access which consequentially produces ungoverned spaces and “NO-GO” areas for supposedly conquered peoples in this 21st Century!

The group explained that for several years to date, they have been “crying aloud and lodging complaints to the relevant authorities including the Nigerian Police Force, Department of State Security, Operation Safe Haven-OPSH, National Human Rights Commission, the National Assembly and others alleging that there was a “serious undercurrent to the unprecedented and well-orchestrated terror attacks unleashed on our Hamlets, Villages and Communities with the principal motive of dispossessing us of our God-giving lands and territory.”

Leaders of the Coalition of Plateau State Indigenous Youth Bodies addressing Journalists during the Press Conference in Jos.

They said, “From our collective Community experiences, we strongly believe there is a curious connection between the areas where our people have suffered the worse forms of displacement and denial of access to the rich natural and mineral endowment of such locations.

“It’s common knowledge that Hamlets and Villages in Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos Mangu and Riyom Local Government Areas are richly endowed with resources such as favourable weather conditions, natural tourist sites, fertile soils, water bodies, Cassaterite, Columbite and so many other minerals.

“It’s instructive, therefore, to judiciously note the rapidly changing economic and occupational demographics in the occupied territories. For instance, in Gashish District of Barkin Ladi LGA, the Fulani have currently taken over the economic activities of the area, having largely displaced native farmers from their ancestral areas. The exploitation and domination of the people is evidenced at local produce markets and transport businesses in and around the said Gashish District.”

“It’s quite provoking to imagine that the foundation of churches that were destroyed by these terrorist elements have overnight been reconstructed as Mosques to the utter disregard of the Fundamental rights of the displaced people.  A case in point is the Rankum (Mahanga) in Jol, Ranchos and Kak in Sopp, all in the Riyom Local Government Area.

“For the avoidance of doubt, over 151 Hamlets and Villages are either totally “annexed” or effectively being occupied by the Fulani militants, bandits or terrorists in the aforementioned Local Government of Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos, Mangu and Riyom. Below is the list of the affected areas which can independently be verified.”

Describing the situation as worrisome, the youth’s bodies added that the “vicious trend” was still ongoing, and was assuming “greater intensity and sophistry” as was witnessed during the Christmas-Eve Massacre that claimed over 257 human lives and Millions of Naira worth of properties.

They said in addition to what they described as the “senseless disruption and displacements” of their people, the question beckoning for answers was “How long shall the tactical endorsement and sponsorship of these atrocities continue?”

The youth leaders listening to questions from newsmen.

According to them, it was their firm belief that the victims of these massacres deserved to get back their lands and access same from the “forceful occupiers,” and not “mere journalistic condemnation of such onslaughts, killings, displacements and land grabbing.”

While urging both the Nigerian Government and the International Community to demonstrate the courage and political will to get to the root of the matter by not only identifying the occupiers of the sacked Hamlets, Villages and Communities but also unravelling their internal and external networks and sponsors, they particularly called on the International Community to deploy its diplomatic ways and means to get the Nigerian Government to act positively to bring about legal and restorative justice for the victims. 

“As far as we are concerned, a situation where few arrests are made and hurriedly released on “ORDERS FROM ABOVE” is not only unjust but unacceptable as this constitutes a grievous disservice to humanity. To utterly ignore the plight of the victims of land grabbing in all these areas lays credence to the suspicion of tacit condonation, endorsement and compromise on the part of Government, security agents and, indeed, the International Community.”

While acknowledging the ongoing effort of the Plateau State Government to  return the IDPs to their ancestral lands and President Tinubu’s “avowed declaration” that the menace of insecurity and its associated barbarism shall be squarely dealt with, they pointed out that the reality remains that the magnitude of the current situation truly requires the deliberate support of the International Community and, indeed, the United Nations acknowledging that the administration of Governor Caleb ManassehMutfwang has demonstrated the “requisite political will to address the unattended situation.”

“We strongly believe that the good intention of the Governor of Plateau, His Excellency, Barr Caleb Mutfwang needs to be concretized through a marshal plan for Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, and Resettlement of victims all over the affected Local Government Areas.

“In conclusion, it’s established that our people, who are Victims of terror attacks and massacres are, indeed, so plagued because of a weak and reluctant system that hardly guarantees their safety nor enforces their inalienable rights as human beings. This is why we believe it’s incumbent on the International Community to pressure the Nigerian Government to come through with a clear-cut transparent program of action to rehabilitate and restore victims and the displaced or invoke multilateral diplomatic resources of mobilization and support to respond to this humanitarian situation snowballing in Plateau State and other parts of the Middle-Belt Region of Nigeria.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *