In the last one week, at least 25 persons have been killed in Plateau state by suspected Fulani herders.
The most recent incident was the attack at Kpara village in Jebbu-Bassa of Bassa Local Government Area of the state on Saturday in which an elderly man was beheaded, houses were set ablaze, community residents were shot at (and are currently receiving treatment in the hospital), and dry season farm crops were destroyed.
“As a legislator, I can only talk, but I don’t have the security apparatus. We are only calling on the government to take action because it is the responsibility of government to protect lives and property,” said Peter Ahile, the state assembly member representing Rukuba/Irigwe constituency in the House of Assembly.
“They attacked our community, beheaded the old man, set houses on fire, shot at villagers and destroyed all our dry season crops put in place by the Irigwe farmers. They put their cattle on the farms to eat and destroy all the crops,” said the National President of Irigwe Development Association (IDA), Sunday Abdu.
The Plateau police command spokesman, Terna Tyopev, has also confirmed the latest killing.
Why this matters:
The Plateau state governor, Simon Lalong, was one of the first officials who blamed the early attacks by herdsmen on neighboring Benue state which resulted in 73 deaths on the anti-grazing law passed by that state. Following public outcry over his insensitive remarks, Lalong apologised to the government and people of Benue.
Now the herdsmen have been carrying out regular attacks on Plateau.
Even though Lalong has backed down on his claims, several top administration officials continue to make excuses for the herdsmen, blaming the anti-grazing law for the attacks by Fulani herdsmen.
The minister of defence, Mansur Dan-ali in a brazen display last week blamed the law and exonerated the herdsmen. However, as Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue said: if truly the law is to blame for the attacks, what then explains the recent attacks in places like Adamawa, Nasarawa and Plateau which do not have an anti-grazing law in effect.
Ortom accused officials of the Buhari presidency of conspiracy and backing the herdsmen. On its part, the Benue state chapter of the APC described Dan-Ali as a “disgrace”, calling on him to resign.
Benue and Plateau are both states controlled by the APC, just like the federal government.