Plateau State is gripped by the fear of attack by Fulani herdsmen following a threat issued over alleged cattle rustling.
Neigbouring Benue State is reeling from the New Year Day’s attacks in Logo and Guma local government areas in which 73 people died.
President Muhammadu Buhari, after a meeting with Benue State leaders on Monday, ordered security agents to find the killers and punish them
But yesterday, the Fulani in Plateau alleged the killing of their man and the rustling of 350 cows belonging to their people. They warned that “things like these” caused violence in the past.
Governor Simon Lalong was last night locked in a security meeting over the development, it was learnt.
He had also launched a move to recover the missing cows, it was learnt.
A statement by Muhammad Nura Abdullahi, chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Plateau State chapter, yesterday said: “We are sad with the information reaching us from our branches in Bassa and Riyom local government areas that Irigwe youths militia armed with sophisticated weapon had on Monday 15th January 2018 attacked Fulani herdsmen around Gilda Ado village in Ganawuri district of Riyom LGA. The attackers beat a Fulani herder to a point of coma and fled with his cattle numbering 150.
“The report later got to security agencies who gave the cattle rustlers good chase. The security recovered some of the cows dead around Mai Yanga Village.
“On the same Monday night, another armed youths suspected to the Irigwe youths attacked Fulani residents at Dangwal village of Ganawuri and rustled about 200 cows in the attack. Security agencies have confirmed to us that some of the rustled cows had been found.
“These are the kind of situation that leads to major violence in the areas, and this is happening when the area is trying to recover from the recent ugly incidents that led to loss of lives and properties. That last violence was caused by attacking, killing and beheading of a Fulani boy known as Abubakar Wada. The incident happened on the 28th of August 2017.
“We hereby condemn any act of criminality with some highly placed political personalities that are benefiting from this cycle of violence. This situation should be handled with all seriousness and with a professional method to resolve the dastardly act of brutality.
“A very swift action should be taken to stop further occurrences.”
Also yesterday, Irigwe youths reported the killing of one of their youths by suspected Fulani herdsmen. The attack, according to them, took place at Kimakpa, Kwall district of Irigwe chiefdom.
A similar situation led to serious violence in Bassa Local Government between August and October last year leading the death of over 80 people in series of attacks by Fulani herdsmen.
The Plateau State Government also said no fewer than 14,000 people had been killed in Plateau and Benue States in recent times.
Commissioner for Town Planning Festus Ewanter stated this yesterday in Makurdi.
He spoke at the Benue Government House when he led a delegation of about 30 Plateau State Government officials on a condolence visit to Governor Samuel Ortom.
They were there on behalf of Governor Simon Lalong.
He said: ‘We are both food baskets of the nation and we have both lost over 7,000 people each to herdsmen attacks, as what happened in Guma, Logo and other parts of Benue state, Plateau also shared the same in Bassa, Jos North and Jos South which is still happening till date.
“Plateau and Benue are both together, we should set aside all our differences and forge ahead to find a lasting solution to these problems.
“Though, through administrative process, we have been separated but not in any way to divide ourselves, we should not fail as leaders to compromise the future of our generations”.
Governor Ortom thanked Plateau government, saying Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue States are brothers and sisters.
He said the states share similar challenges
He added that anything that affected one state has affected all the states, stressing that the challenges were beyond them.
“We have been brothers and sisters all along and in spite of the separation we all have the same challenges that bind us together, they are; insecurity, poverty and underdevelopment
“So we should see that whatever that affect one of us affected all of us so all these challenges are beyond us”.
Ortom apologized to Nasarawa State Governor Tanko Al-Makura. He said: “Let me use this platform to apologize to my colleague in Nasarawa state over the statement I made it was due to the situation at hand then, I should not have made the information public rather it should have been a private discussion between us, I will try and see him .” He also accepted Lalong’s apologies for his own remark about Benue state.