Unaware of the fate that had befallen him, little Miracle Amos, eight-day old, slept peacefully in his weeping mother’s arms for hours after his father, Amos Danladi was killed on 30 Jul. Amos was ambushed on the road to his farm by armed Fulani terrorists, in Wereng village of Riyom Local Government Area in Nigeria’s Plateau State, said his mother, Elizabeth Danladi who witnessed the incident.
“He bled right before my eyes, groaning till he breathed his last,” recalled tearful Elizabeth, a widow for ten years. “I was walking ahead of him carrying a bag of fertilizer on my head; then suddenly I heard gunshots. I immediately threw the bag off and ran into the adjourning maize farms. When I saw him bleeding on the ground, I jumped out from hiding, screaming, but they ran away,” Elizabeth told The Light Bearer.
He was her sole provider, she said, and had just fulfilled her wishes when he got married last year, added Elizabeth. “Of my three children, Amos was the one that listened to me. He was the one assisting me in all respect. If Amos had ten naira, he would give me five. If he had five, he would give me three. That was how much he loved me, but the Fulani have separated us,” she said.
Amos’ wife, Yop, 21, was soaked in tears, crying uncontrollably when approached, and could not give a word. But being widow at 21, Mr. Timothy Dantong, a member of the Plateau State Legislature says is the most painful experience one could ever have. “Even at old age, how does it feel to lose a partner?,” said Dantong.
Amos’ murder, according to Dantong is one of many violent crimes against Plateau natives of late, “which indicate the fact that there is an attempt for genocide on the Berom tribe and the Christians of Plateau State,” he said.
“As a Legislator, I have sponsored bills and motions to end these kind of things but the President, Muhammadu Buhari who is in charge of national security seems reluctant to implement these laws,” Dantong told The Light Bearer.
323 killed in Plateau
Between 1 Jan. and 31 June alone, 285 attacks by terrorists in Nigeria claimed 1,825 lives, according to Mark Lipdo, founder of Stefanos Foundation. Fulani militancy alone is responsible for 105 attacks that killed 1,102 people, said Lipdo in a text message. 23 of those attacks by Fulani terrorists occurred in Plateau responsible for 215 deaths, Lipdo added.
Monitored reports show additional 40 murders between 1 Jul. and 31 Jul. Another 68 were killed between 1 Aug. and 3 Aug. in Bassa County alone, according to International Committee on Nigeria (ICON). This brings number of deaths by terrorists in Plateau State to 323.
“This is what they have been doing,” said Dantong, “if they can’t kill you, they destroy your crops so you will not have food to eat,” he said. As of 28 Jul., over 1088 crop farms spanning 5,440acres had been despoiled this year by the Fulani terrorists, according to Solomon Dalyop, Chief Executive Officer of Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria. More farmlands were destroyed in the later days but no figures have been obtained.
The attacks often come with advance warning, but are not averted, an indictment on the nation’s securities, said Istifanus Gyang, a member of the Nigerian Senate. “The repeated attacks have all been preceded by widely circulated intelligence information as to the date, time and location of the attacks. With such prior information, the belated or nonresponse of the Security agencies has been called to question,” said Gyang in a press statement.
Nigeria should seek external help if incapable of curbing attacks, said Mr. John Pofi, a local Pastor. “There is no shame in admitting our limitations,” said Pofi in a text message.
The attacks lasting more than two decades, according to Mrs. Felicia Sodipo, leader of a Plateau tribe resident in the United States of America have created “unimaginable” humanitarian concerns, with the Government turning a blind eye. More than 25,000 people were displaced after 500 houses were razed in 13 villages displaced in the latest violence in Plateau, according to Mr. Gastor Barrie, founder of Rural Youth Integral Support Initiative. More than 80% of the displaced population are women and girls, Barrie told The Light Bearer.
This is a call for international intervention, said Ms. Felicia Sodipo, leader of Plateau’s Berom natives in the United States of America. “More women are turning widows and children orphans on a daily basis but the response of the Nigerian Government has been worrisome.
“As a diaspora community, we that are from the Berom tribe in the United States have contributed money to rebuild houses for people that were previously attacked and displaced but how much more can we do? We have barely been able to assist a quarter of the previously displaced population but now more attacks are happening.
“The United States of America is known for helping the weak. We as minorities in Nigeria are weak and need help. The United States should at least mount pressure on the Nigerian Government to secure its citizens. It’s a constitutional right that not only are our people back home being denied, but the military that is paid to protect them is killing them,” said Sodipo by phone.
Epoch Times had reported how 500 women and children cried on a highway, after men in military uniform shot two civilians in Riyom County on 14 Jul. Major General Ibrahim Ali, the Commander of the Special Task Force in Plateau State during a press conference in Jos, the State capital denied the allegations of the protestors linking the military with the shooting. However, he apologized to a victim of a 2013 military shooting, Gyang Dachollom when he arrived the conference venue in the company of the Riyom County Chairman, Mr. Mafeng Gwalson.
The crimes if proven breach international laws and treaties opposing crimes against humanity and genocide to which Nigeria is signitary, says Mr. Dick Andzenge, a U.S.-based Professor of Criminal Justice and Victimology.
“Every government if the people for the people cannot be indifferent to such reported killings and destruction of crops on which they depend for living. If the destruction and killings are criminal acts by hoodlums, those responsible must be apprehended and prosecuted. If they are aimed at specific demographic groups in order exterminate them, this might constitute the international crime of genocide and/or crimes against humanity,” said Andzenge in a text message.