A cabbage farm destroyed in Miango, Irigwe Chiefdom, Plateau state.

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – Few weeks after the Irigwes and Fulanis in Bassa local government area of Plateau State signed a peace pact, trouble is brewing in the Miango district, Irigwe chiefdom of the area as criminally minded people engage in destruction of matured farm crops as well as the killing of cows.

The State government through its Peace Building Agency, the Operation Safe Haven keeping the peace in the State as well as the Police, religious leaders, and other stakeholders have worked to restore lasting peace between the groups.

In the last couple of days, farmlands and animals are bearing the brunt of chronic animosity.

The Fulani community had said that about 100 cows had been killed and some others injured at the Maiyanga community of Irigwe chiefdom last Wednesday.

The herders say, “The cattle were just grazing when the gunmen stormed the general area of Maiyanga and started shooting sporadically. So far, more than 100 cattle were killed while many are still missing.”

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It was gathered that the case of killed cows in which arrest has been made is self-help to retaliate against the sustained destruction of farmland in the area.

State Police spokesman, ASP Uba Gabriel confirmed, “Some cows were killed in Bassa some days back. The Command is aware. The Commissioner of Police has ordered the Area Commander and DPO Bassa to have a meeting with all the stakeholders for a proper lasting solution and also compensation to those that lost their cows.

“He also warned all against taking laws into their hands but always report cases to the Police to proffer amicable solution for peace to reign.”

However, the Irigwe Development Association, IDA through the Secretary-General, Danjuma Auta decried the development.

According to him, “It is with a rude shock that we have to speak on the unfortunate incidents that occurred within these few days when we have all resolved to embrace the part of peace with the Fulani community.

“This is alarming because it is coming a few days after an implementation committee of the 36-man committee for peace was inaugurated to set the ground rolling for peaceful coexistence between the Irigwe and the Fulani community.

“We the Irigwe had welcomed this move because we believed in the sincerity of the Commander, OPSH, Gen. A.S Ali in ensuring that we all enjoy the most needed peace in our land.

“Our people had consistently witnessed an army of Fulani herders grazing and invading of our land by their legions of thousands of cattle that lead to massive destruction of irrigation farms belonging to 90 farmers. This has caused huge damage to the people. This took place, from 26th February to 2nd March 2022.

“The destruction of our crops and the killings of some cows by some individuals, we wish to state here that we received vital information of planned orchestrated and coordinated attacks on our communities by the Fulani armed men and have since surveyed their possible areas of attack through the recent exploration of our communities by way of the grazing they have been carrying out relentlessly.

“They have destroyed farm crops worth over 4 million naira, and have further impoverished our people who are mainly farmers.

“This constant and calculated provocative destructions of our farmlands have shown that the Fulani do not want an end to these heinous acts.
“We, therefore, wish to call on government and the security operatives to double efforts in apprehending those behind all these evil acts and bring them to book.”

Joseph Lengmang, the Director-General, Plateau Peace Building Agency whose Agency has been working at ensuring lasting peace in troubled communities in the State expressed displeasure at the development.

He noted, “It has come to our attention that there is a growing tension around Miango due to the mass movement of people and animals into communities within the chiefdom.

“This development is coming on the heels of the recent signing of a Peace understanding between the Irigwe and Fulani. We have reliably gathered that this development has not only generated tension in the area but, has led to the destruction of farmlands and the killing of animals in the last few days.

“And if this sad development is left unchecked, then there is every likelihood that the ongoing Peace process in Bassa LGA will be derailed. You will recall that the Plateau Peace Building Agency, PPBA in collaboration with the Plateau State Inter-Religious Council (IRC), as well as other partners, have been working with these communities in the last two years to broker peace and halt the attacks and killing of persons and livestock.”

He also stated, “…, we urge all parties to be guided by the terms and conditions of the memorandum of Understanding (MoU) freely signed by them…”