Photo: Destroyed farmers‘ crops in Bassa
The Irigwe community in Bassa Chiefdom of Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State has raised an alarm over the ongoing wanton destruction of farmers’ crops in their community allegedly by Fulani herdsmen, stressing that the herdsmen have so far destroyed crops in over 700 farmlands valued at over N2 billion.
The community noted that the unabated destruction of the farmers’ crops is being perpetrated by the herdsmen with impunity as a deliberate attempt by people they described as “terrorists” who are bent on causing hunger, starvation, misery, frustration and poverty by completely destroying the people’s economy with the ultimate aim of wiping them out completely from their ancestral lands.
The community made this known in a statement under the aegis of Irigwe Youth Movement (IYM) made available to Periscope International on Friday, signed by Comrade Ezekiel Peter Bini, Comrade Zamfara Ishagoro, Comrade Lawrence Nebanat Zongo,National President, National Secretary and National Publicity Secretary, respectively, and copied Governor Simon Lalong and all relevant security agencies in the state.
The statement also called on the state government in collaboration with relevant security agencies to immediately take action to stop such an unprecedented prevailing destruction of farmers’ crops and nip an impending famine in the bud by compensating the farmers for the untold damages they are currently going through.
The Irigwe community also demanded that all Fulani Herdsmen be immediately restrained from grazing in all parts of their land, stressing that grazing has been often been used by them as a subterfuge to launch attacks against their community and the people’s crops.
While acknowledging the recent directive by Governor Lalong to security agencies to apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice, the community however expressed reservations about the outcome of the directive saying that similar ones did not yield any results and that the herdsmen killed some people people and destroyed more crops on the same day the last directive was given.
The statement reads in part:
“In their continued evil scheme to plunge the entire Rigwe Nation into famine, dearth, excessive hunger, food insufficiency and inadequacy and untimely death, the Fulani marauders have been wrecking havoc on the farmlands of Rigwe Nation where variety of crops such as Maize, Sweet Potatoes, Acha, Irish Potatoes, Pepper, Tomatoes, Cabbage, Carrot, Green Pepper, Soya Beans, etc have been encroached, destroyed and shattered beyond growth within the span of seven months of this year, 2021. This can factually and authoritatively be said that over seven hundred (700) farmlands with crops worth over two billion naira (N2,000,000,000) have been destroyed within the aforesaid time frame.
“For posterity sake, the summary of recent destruction of farm crops in Rigwe Land for the month of June and July are as follows:
On the 3rd of June,2021 four farmlands at Chuvo were destroyed.
On the 4th June, 2021 five farmlands at Chuvo were destroyed.
On the 6th June, 2021,three farmlands were destroyed all at Chuvo.
On the 17th June,2021, nine farmlands at Ri-bakwa were destroyed.
On the 18th June,2021 four farmlands at Nnunche Kpara were destroyed.
On the 20th June,2021 twelve farmlands were destroyed at Ri-bakwa and Te’egbe.
On the 4th July,2021 eight farmlands at Chuvo were destroyed.
On the 9th June,2021 over forty-five farmlands at Zonwrru were destroyed.
On the 10th,12th, 14th July,2021, twenty-two farmlands at Nzhwaruba were destroyed.
On the 16th and 18th July, 2021 six farmlands at Chuvo were destroyed.
“Over twenty five farmlands have also been destroyed by same marauders at Ancha village within the same period.
“Rikwe-Chongu village also experienced same destruction worth over fifty farmlands.
“And the most recent and devasting one is the total destruction of over 25 plots of farmlands on the 19th July,2021 at Ri-bakwa and Nchetahu of Kpachudu Community .
“A Rigwe man’s best identity is farming and that for ages has been his major source of livelihood and subsistence.
“All efforts are injected into it for better yield and productivity which has guaranteed better sustenance and pabulum where the survival of the nation totally relies on it.
“Therefore, one will not be wrong to state that the ultimate target of the marauders is to use hunger as another strategy of wiping the entire Rigwe tribe.
“Again, another motive that can be attributed to be behind this remorseless, merciless and ruthless act is the fact that the marauders have resorted to seeing that our economy is not only crippled but subjected to absolute incapacitation, paralyzation and prostration.
“It is a known fact that a nation with economy below expected rating can experience unbearable losses, problems and constraints placing her citizens into untold hardship and challenges.
“We are happy that the Plateau State Governor, Rt Hon Barr Simon Bako Lalong has swiftly reacted this time around, to the recent one at Ri-bakwa village of Kpachudu community with stern warning and directive that security agents immediately swing into action by investigating this act of terrorism with a view of ensuring that the perpetrators are apprehended.
“He also directed the Plateau State Peace Building Agency (PPBA) to visit the affected place to ascertain the level of damage with a view to providing succor. And he finally said that justice will be served.
“All these are commendable, however, it’s on record that similar press releases and statements have been done in the past with no action seen and that has contributed in allowing the perpetrators to continue having a field day in committing their evils and atrocities.
“This can be affirmed that even after the Press Statement of the Governor on Wednesday 21 July,2021 that the perpetrators be arrested, the Fulani Marauders dared him and with insolence and effrontery macheted and destroyed over fifteen (15) farmlands at Zanwra on the night of Wednesday 21 July,2021( Same day the Press Statement was issued)
“They did not stop at the ruination of farmlands but they also ambushed and killed one of us at Ancha village of Miango District same day, Wednesday 21 July, 2021 around 6pm.
“These are proofs that it’s time the Government and all other statutory bodies bestowed with the responsibility of safeguarding lives and property go beyond rhetorics by giving them the treatment “in the language they understand” because these are purely acts of terrorism and so should be treated as such.
“Our submissions are not too many, we want to reiterate our call on the Government at all levels to hasten the process of compensation so as to alleviate the plights of the affected persons.
“We also call on the security agents to ensure that the culprits are arrested with the preliminary Information supplied to them by the community leaders. They should also place some of their men at the strategic locations provided by the community leaders to forestall further occurrence.
“We call on Plateau State Peace Building Agency (PPBA) not to teeter, waver or hesitate on the directive of the governor by taking immediate an-the-spot assessment of all the affected farmlands with a view of providing succor to the affected persons.
“Ultimately, we want to reemphasize on our stand and call that the Fulani Herdsmen be instantaneously stopped and restrained from grazing in all parts of Rigwe Nation as this has been the major techniques used and employed by them to launch an attack or destroy crops.
“As a nation, we condemn this act of terrorism being carried out countless times on our people. We want a drastic action taken by all saddled with the responsibility of securing lives and property to put an end to this barbaric acts that have dragged us backward so that we can pay more attention on issues that will develop our nation and then our people live without fear of being attacked.
“We are almost at a point of exhausting our patience and obedience in terms of ‘we should not take laws into our hands’ but when the needful is done we will continue in the path.
“As peace-loving people that we are, we respect constituted authorities in the path of ensuring that peace in its sufficiency, reigns but that should not be viewed as an act of cowardice.
“Finally, we enjoin all Rigwe people to continue being the great peace lovers that we are known for by not engaging in any act capable of bringing our nation to disrepute. We assure you that we will continue exploring all lawful and legal means of ensuring that JUSTICE is served,” the statement added.
Thank you and God bless.
Attached is a comprehensive list of destroyed farmlands and few images.
Comrade Ezekiel Peter Bini, Comrade Zamfara Ishagoro
Comrade Lawrence Nebanat Zongo
National Publicity Secretary
Governor of Plateau State
Commander, Operation Safe Haven, Plateau State
Commissioner of Police, Plateau State.
Plateau State Commander, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps.
Coordinator, Operation Rainbow, Plateau State
State Director, DSS
Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office and Special Services.
Director General, Plateau State Peace Building Agency (PPBA)