SUSPECTED FULANI HERDSMEN SET ABLAZE GRASS RESERVED AREA IN PLATEAU

SUSPECTED FULANI HERDSMEN SET ABLAZE GRASS RESERVED AREA IN PLATEAU

As fragile peace appears to have been returned in Plateau State, report has it that suspected Fulani militias set on fire a Grass Reserved Area of Tashek hamlet in Jol Community, Riyom LGA of Plateau State at about 7:02pm of 21st January, 2020.


On visit to the Reserved Area which the Fulani have made several attempts to destroyed so as to make it a free grazing area, an anonymous local narrated that, “this Grass Reserved Area has been our only source of getting grass to roof our thatched houses, but was set on fire at about 7:02 of 21st January, 2021”. He added that, “we reserve the grass not only for roofing of houses, but also cut it in bundles and sell out to fend for our families since mining sites have become dead traps and most of our crops have been destroyed by the same Fulanis. In addition, we planted some economic trees thereon as well as having it as a sacred place used for burial of our people among other uses, but Fulani have vowed to continuously trespass into the Reserve by grazing their Cows in broad daylight and at night times, and whenever we resist that, the next action has always been armed invasions that have claimed more that 20 lives” ever since the onslaughts on the hamlet and other neighbouring villages were meted out.


It’s on record that the matter has been reported to Divisional Police Headquarters of Riyom for preliminary investigation into the recent arson on the Reserved Area.


In a similar reaction, another local pointed at present ordeal of the native inhabitants, saying, “we are presently living in perpetual fear of another armed invasion and helplessness as majority of our people are Internally Displaced Persons in Hoss, Riyom, Farin Lamba, Vom, Bukuru, Jos and other palaces, all because of unprovoked attacks orchestrated by Fulani militias on us. Our houses roofed with Zinc have been razed down with no humanitarian aid coming to u,….,” with tears he busted out. “now, the Grass Reserved Area is what we are left with to use for some few building we have just erected to start up live afresh, yet the Fulani have completely set it on fire,” exclaiming that, “what offence have we ever committed to deserve the terror attacks and other forms of hostilities being subjected to while appropriate authorities watch in silence!” as no necessary attention has been accorded their plight.


It would be recalled that other Grass Reserved Areas established in Vwak of Jol and Rim Communities in Riyom LGA as well as Sho Community of Barkin Ladi LGA are no longer in existence principally because of ceaseless trespass and similar armed invasions by Fulani militias who have successfully made those areas free grazing fields right before the eyes of constituted authorities.


It’s within public domain that the Fulani militias have pushed away over 50 local villages/communities in Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Bokkos LGAs and flagrantly taken force occupation of same as permanent settlements renamed, popular among which are, Rankum(renamed as “Mahanga”), Fass(renamed as “Lugere”) including “Lugel” in Jol and other areas, all in their quest for Territorial expansionist agenda of “conquer by terror, and occupy with threat” with optimism of obtaining legitimacy by Government.
In view of the above sad developments, especially the recent one, it becomes expelling to call on Government at all levels, corporate bodies and all humanitarian force, independently or collaboratively, stage necessary programs that aim at-

  1. Rehabilitation and resettlement of Tashek hamlet and all other affected villages/communities in Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Bokkos LGAs;
  2. Dislodge all settlements forcefully occupied in order to erase the conception of “acquisition of land by way of conquest” which is never tenable within our legal system;
  3. Restoration of Grass Reserved Areas in all the affected communities. This would enable naive inhabitants revive the lost ancestral use of those areas for betterment of their lives and the State by extension;
  4. Provision of relief materials to cushion the unquantified traumatic effect of onslaughts victims of attacks had faced;
  5. Panel of Inquiry be set up to conduct thorough findings into all the incidents of attacks orchestrated, and make recommendations for appropriate actions; and
  6. Any other action deemed necessary in this circumstance of victims of armed invasions.

By:

Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, Esq.
Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria-ECCVN