By Bisi LAWAL
The Coalition of Fulani groups in Plateau State has frowned at what they termed as the indiscriminate arresting and detention of their members by security agencies.
The body made up of the MACBAN, GAFDAN, BAJOL FULAKU, JONDE JAM, KAUTAL HORE, LAWUL FULAKU and TABBITAL FULAKU expressed displeasure at a press conference held in Jos on Sunday.
They tasked security agents to be more professional in the handling of the issue of arrest of suspects as according to them, innocent people are being arrested.
In a text jointly signed by State Chairmen of these groups, the State Chairman of MACBAN, Malam Muhammad Abdullahi, the coalition condemned the recent attacks that resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives as well as the destruction of property worth millions of naira in villages of Bokkos, Barkin Ladi and Mangu LGAs of the State.
“The coalition of Fulani groups in Plateau State commences this press conference by condemning the recent attacks that resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives and extensive destruction of property worth millions of naira in the villages of Bokkos, Barkin Ladi and Mangu local government areas. We condemn the ongoing killing and rustling of our cows in the villages of Mangu, Bokkos and Barkin Ladi LGAs.
“In expressing our condolences to the families who lost their loved ones, we are also extending our sympathy to those whose cattle were either rustled or deliberately killed.
“We stand in solidarity with the State and federal governments in all ramifications over these unfortunate occurrences and appreciate the efforts of the federal government, security agencies and other stakeholders for their swift responses to prevent the escalation of the menace.
“However, we feel it’s crucial to break the silence and shed light on what the Fulani herders have been enduring for many years in the State.
“As required by the law, whenever one is offended, he or she is expected not to take the law into their hands.
“On many occasions, our members get killed recklessly and our cattle rustled. It is on the record that these incidents are often reported to both the Police and Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), to take necessary actions.”
Malam Abdullahi further stated that some of their members have relocated to States like Bauchi, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Taraba and appealed that relief materials be extended to them too and also raised concern about the absence of security personnel in IDP camps and other unaffected areas.
According to him, “Internally Displaced Persons are residing in IDP camps, relatives’ houses, and neighbouring states such as Bauchi, Kaduna, Nasarawa, and Taraba, suffering greatly as the harsh harmattan conditions persist in these areas.
“Our concern about the crisis and its aftermaths ranges below: “Total neglect by authorities more especially of the humanitarian extract to visit our IDPs to ascertain their needs more especially food, medicine, clothing and shelter.
“The absence of security personnel in our IDP camps and other unaffected areas makes our people vulnerable to attack and unguided arrests by some unpatriotic security personnel, restricting our cattle to a small area, making them vulnerable to livestock diseases, killing and rustling.”
The groups however appealed to the federal government, security agencies and other stakeholders to “provide humanitarian aids to the IDPs through SEMA, NEMA and other kind donors within and outside Nigeria,” and called on the security to be “more professional in handling arrests, as innocent people are being arrested and arrest perpetrators of these heinous acts and bring them to book.”