A fresh trouble is in the offing on the Plateau. It is another dark and indeed a tragic moment for traumatized farmers in Riyom and Barkin-Ladi local governments in Plateau State. This is because their farms with crops ready for harvest have been turned into grazing fields by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
Some of the farmers whose crops have become feeds for the cattle were brutally killed in previous attacks, which left scores dead in villages like Gashishes, Gindi-Akawati and Shonong. Some are still taking refuge at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.
Monday Dalyop, 52, from Jol in Riyom LG was a victim. His farmland with maize was mowed by suspected herdsmen’s cows. The crops were cut down by the herders after which they grazed their cattle over the night:
“It is unfortunate that these herdsmen have turned our farmlands into grazing fields. Most of the farmers are not at home, they were displaced during attacks. Some of them fled the communities to Internally Displaced Persons camps, while some were brutally killed during.
“We are pleading for government intervention because hunger and starvation is looming in our communities. Foodstuff that was in our houses was completely burnt while crops in the farms were destroyed.
“We are left at the mercy of God. We are yet to recover from the pains we went through during recent attacks in the villages and we are being overwhelmed by hunger and lack of peace. What have we done to deserved what is happening to us, do we really have a government in this country or have we committed any crime to be neglected in this manner?”
Dalyop was among farmers who lost 105 farmlands to cattle grazing In June 2018. As the mowing of crops continues, 233 farmlands were destroyed in Barkin-Ladi and Riyom LGs in June and July 2018. Among the communities affected were Sho, Rim and Gassa.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, while in Jos for the summit of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Northern Nigeria with the theme; “Sustained Peace and Security in Northern Nigeria as a Panacea for Development: The role of Christian Religious Leaders,” expressed worries over the herdsmen killings:
“I acknowledge the fact that it is the primary responsibility of government to provide the social need of the people, to provide security for life and property. But as citizens of this country and as Christians from northern part of the country, we have a corresponding responsibility to ensure that we play our part.
“This conflict should not in anyway distract us from where we are going, we have the responsibility as the Church to speak the truth at all times. There is no demon, there is no principality that can prevail against the gospel of Christ.”
Chairman of CAN in the North, Rev. Yakubu Pam, is worried over the ugly trend of insecurity in the North where farmers are being killed and farmlands destroyed by Fulani herdsmen:
“As Christians leaders in Northern Nigeria, we have every reason to be worried over recent ugly security development s in our region following attacks and killings in communities and some states of the North by people who do not wish our country good.
“The attacks and killings have left thousands of dead, several others wounded, and properties worth billions of naira destroyed in the affected states of the North, there by leaving no hope of development in parts of the North that were badly affected.
“Let me state here in clear terms that if the North must develop, there is need for closer working relationship with different shades of opinions including security agencies in order to catch up with the pace of development in the South.”
Pam insisted that the time has come for northern leaders irrespective of religion, ethnic and political affiliation to come together and fight anything that has been a clog on the wheel of developing the region.
Commissioner for Information and Communication, Yakubu Dati, expressed shock over the continuous attacks and mowing of farmlands. He said would intensify collaboration with security agencies to bring the killings to an end. He disclosed that the governor directed security agencies to leave no stone on unturned in ensuring that the perpetrators of the dastardly act are brought to justice.