Mr. Simon Lalong, Governor of Plateau State.

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – The Irigwe people in Bassa local government area of Plateau State have frowned at the continued indiscriminate grazing and destruction of farm crops by the herding community saying that since February 2022, about N500m has been lost to the nefarious activity.

The people who appealed to the State Government and Operation Safe Haven, OpSH for help, stated that hunger is at their doorstep as their means of livelihood is destroyed and farm implements stolen from them.

Speaking for the Irigwe Development Association, IDA, on the “massive destruction of farm crops by Fulani herdsmen in Irigweland,” the National President of the Association, Prince Robert Dodo noted the essence of the report is to seek help as the people refused to take the laws into their hands.

According to him, “…Rigwe nation has been hugely hit by Fulani militia in 2021 and early 2022 which culminated in the several losses of lives, farm crops and property worth countless amounts.

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“Weeks ago, the Rigwe people woke up with the infiltration of Fulani herdsmen with their cattle in all parts of the land with insinuations that peace accord and concord have been signed and entered between them and the Rigwe people…

“Available information revealed that some of them journeyed from other local government areas and States and this has further compounded the hardship of the Rigwe people as every day, crops (seedlings, ripe and harvested) are eaten up and destroyed without any form of remorse and apology.

“Despite the massive destruction of crops and looting of materials, the Rigwe people maintained absolute decorum by the constant intimation of the security agents so that we will be vindicated.”

Dodo lamented that the provocation is to rubbish the peace committee work which is still in progress as the herders refuse to heed the OpSH’s order that open grazing is halted in the communities.

He stated, “For the records, since February 2022 that their unwarranted entrance and influx was noticed, they have destroyed several dry season farms crops ranging from cabbage, tomatoes, pepper, Irish potato, sweet potato, cassava, green beans, peas as well as looted water pump machines and other farming implements in many villages amounting to the tune of over N500m.

“Some of the villages these destructions have taken place are Chando-Zrreci, Kpatenvie, Chuvo, Kpara, Ncha, Hukke, Renwienku, Nzharuvo, Nzhwerenvi, Nkienwhie, Duh, Nggbra-Zango, Maiyanga, Gbowo, Tegbe, Te’egbe, Kperie, Rikwe-Chongu, Hwrra, Ariri, Zogu, and host of other places.

“It is widely known that farming is a major source of livelihood of Rigwe people and any attempt to frustrate it is equal to subject the nation to total impoverishment and malnourishment which is uncalled for.

“We are quite saddened and frown at the indiscriminate grazing and display of rascality by the Fulani militia in the land which in its real sense is a show of muscle and strength that nothing can be done.”

The group appealed to the “Plateau State government to wake up to its constitutional responsibility of ensuring the protection of lives and property of the citizenry, draw a compensation means of all the destructions so that the hardship imposed on the Rigwe people can be ameliorated.”