By: Our Reporter,
IRIGWE DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (IDA)
The Irigwe Nation feels compelled to once more raise the alarm over the continuous loss of lives from attacks on innocent villages.
We will like to state here, that we view the recent gruesome killing of four of our brothers by Fulani herdsmen on Tuesday 17th April, 2018 as shameless and barbaric.
It is most irresponsible coming amidst series of meetings and consultations,aimed at achieving peace, and has shown the Fulani as people that cannot be trusted.
For the avoidance of doubt, dialogue has been on at both local and state government levels through constituted committees, which also comprise the Fulani.
Another avenue has been under the auspices of the dialogue, reconciliation and peace (DREP)centre, under the leadership of the Catholic Arch Bishop of Jos, Most Reverend IgnatiusKaigama.
As a matter of fact, the last meeting at the DREPcentre was held on 5th April, 2018.
At that meeting which also had some journalists in attendance, both Irigwe and Fulani representatives expressed commitment and readiness to engage each other constructively and objectively towards ensuring that no further loss of lives are recorded in Irigwe land.
Their representatives were on record saying an end to the nocturnal attacks has come.
It therefore beats our imagination to wake up to the news of another attack on innocent Irigwe sons at their place of work in NcheTahu, near Rafin Bauna on 17th April, 2018 while excavating sand and loading into their tipper.
Not only that, the Fulanis only last week, let their cattle into Irigwe territories for reasons yet to be ascertained. We consider this action as an attempt to raise a false alarm over missing cattle to justify another round of killings of our own who would obviously be accused of the said crime.
Fully aware of this, we alerted security personnel and upon arriving to the area, where herds of cattle were left straying, the soldiers encountered resistance from the fire power of the herdsmen. This forced them to seek reinforcement which saw the herdsmen fleeing. As we speak, the soldiers have driven the flock to the sector six headquarters in Jebbu Miango.
We view this as most irresponsible and a breach of trust and call on all the conveners of the various peace moves to review the genuineness of the commitment of the Fulanis to the various peace initiatives.
We wish to state that this is not the only incident that shows lack of willingness on the part of the Fulanis to peace.
But for the vigilance of our people who have continued to alert security agencies stationed in our land to wade off planned invasions, we would have lost more lives and properties to the unrepentant militia herdsmen.
For the avoidance of doubt, we recently had our annual Zrachi Festival early April but, devoid of the usual fanfare due to the series of threats we kept receiving from the Fulani assailants.
But for the doggedness and commitment of the military and police agents who stood their ground in protecting lives and property in Irigweland, that festival would have been a festival of blood, considering the unwavering determination of the marauders to invade our communities.
We therefore commend the security agencies (operation safe haven) under the able leadership of the commander Major Anthony Atolagbe, the Commissioner of Police, CP Undie Adie and their officers at various levels. We thank them for their professional commitment to saving lives of the innocent.
They have demonstrated that indeed, security agents are out to protect the vulnerable.
So sad though, that these killings have continued sporadically despite this unwavering commitment of security agencies who themselves have taken casualties from this senseless carnage.
As Irigwe people, we are daily praying for the security of our land and those guarding us against the invaders.
We wish to state that the only reward we can offer the security personnel is the return of peace and normalcy, but while we are on this, we wish to state that more ought to be done, especially as the detractors are not resting on unleashing their mayhem on innocent people.
We are more concerned and worried now that this has continued while the planting season beckons.
We therefore, call on the operation safe haven to step up surveillance and alertness in saving us from an impending hunger.
To other parts of Plateau, i.e Daffo and Berom Communities which have also shared this gruesome experience, accept our sympathies over your losses.
And to our Bache neighbours, it has become more imperative to eschew perceived differences of the past and join hands in safeguarding what we have as brothers. It is not the time to write damning releases aimed at escalating differences, but time to join forces and build bridges of good neighbourliness, otherwise we would all be consumed on the same land that we all cherish.
Our boundary issue which has brought friction is almost being resolved by the appropriate authorities, let us allow this process to pan out amicably and avoid heating up emotions through comments and releases.
Finally, the Irigwe Development Association (IDA) calls on all Irigwe sons to remain calm but vigilant in the face of unprovoked aggression even as we have buried the recent four, slained by the ravaging herdsmen.
We call on the government to rise above the usual condemnation and take more practical steps at safeguarding our people.
Much as we appreciate the results the strategies have yielded, where they have failed, we urge that a review be done to counter the ever evolving tactics of the assailants.
SUNDAY A. ABDU
IVE GULU IDA P.R.O