Plateau Killings: Lawmaker Describes Attack As Land Grabbing, Ethnic Cleansing

Ronke Sanya  
Updated June 28, 2018
A truck filled with the possessions of villagers evacuating the Ganaropp village, near Jos is seen leaving on June 27, 2018, after herdsmen attacked the village. PHOTO: STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP

 

The lawmaker representing Barkin Ladi, Riyom Consistuency at the National Assembly, Honourable Istifanus Gyang, has alleged the attack on some communities in Plateau State is an attempt by ‘killer herdsmen’ to take over the communities.

The lawmaker in an interview on Channels Television Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily on Thursday claimed that the herdsmen are on the prowl and taking over Plateau villages.

“The issue at stake is simply an agenda of land grabbing. These attacks have been sustained over 10 years and in the process, villages have been overturned and the people displaced. People are massively killed and the lands occupied by killer herdsmen.

“Over four villages have been added to the 45 that have already been overturned and are under forceful occupation. It is simply a game to ensure that a cattle colony carved and the land is grabbed for grazing. This is the reason behind the killings that we are witnessing in this constituency. It is harrowing that over 200 will be killed in cold blood. This is very unfortunate,” he lamented.

Gyang appealed for proactive measures to be taken by the state and Federal government, noting the attacks might generate into terrorism like Boko Haram attacks, if treated with kids glove.

The lawmaker also claimed that the attackers have been defiant to peaceful dialogue, frustrating the efforts of local authorities to instill peace in Barkin Ladi District.

“About three traditional rulers have been killed. Three others are presently living in exile. Recently, two traditional rulers had to escape from their palaces. So, the traditional institution and even churches are not left out.

“In a recent attack in a community in Dorowa, all the churches in that community were destroyed and burned down.”

Gyang thereby appealed to the Federal Government to enforce law and order in Plateau State, noting that, “The Nigerian State must rise up to its constitutional responsibility to ensure that this thing is arrested in my constituency, otherwise, ethnic groups will be cleansed in Nigeria.”

According to him, the perpetrators must be speedily brought to book, justice must be done so that families that are currently displaced will be rehabilitated and peace returned to the affected villages.

Barkin Ladi residents, mostly women and children in Gashish District, were on Monday reported to have left their homes following Saturday’s killings and attack on their communities by suspected herdsmen.

The displaced families are currently seeking refuge at the Barkin Ladin Local Government Secretariat.

Picture of a burnt out motorcycle is seen in a house burned down by herdsmen in the Ganaropp village in the Barikin Ladi area near Jos on June 27, 2018. PHOTO: STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP