September 26, 2021

Officials probe threats to end rural attacks in Plateau

Peace Building Agency leads USAID team on familiarization visit Mangu traditional council, Thursday

Rural communities in Plateau have cried of rising insecurity, despite claims by Officials of restoring peace.

Daily isolated attacks threatening farmland security, might soon birth famine, Village Chiefs in Mangu Local Government Area of the State said, Thursday.

“The past one week has been terrible. Everyday, people are attacked and we can’t help ourselves,” said Mr. Gambo Tetmut, the District Head of Kombun, in Mangu LGA.

Three days ago, said Gambo, some women were attacked on their way to farm. The next day, another farmer, he said, was attacked and severely injured in the eye. “We are sick of it,” cried the Chief, to peace Officials in Mangu, adding that they as Community leaders are themselves not safe.

Aside from armed attacks by suspected herdsmen, violent cult groups increasingly make rural communities uninhabitable, said another Chief, Mr. Diket Gupya.

“They are dangerous cult groups operating in rural and urban communities. They are always intoxicated with drugs, and in that state of mind, they terrorize with abandon,” said Diket, the District Head of Pushit.

The gang violence, partly influenced by poverty and hunger, if not checked, could birth full-blown conflicts, added Mr. Aminu Derwam, the District Head of Panyam.

Constitutionally recognizing traditional rulers as law enforcement Officials could reduce growing crime and insecurity in the local communities, said Mr. Josiah Longshwan, the District Head of Jipal. In the meantime, Government should interface closely with village chiefs to understand and respond to their security concerns, added the Chief of Gindiri, Mr. Tanko Umaru.

Similar concerns were raised by the Chairman, Bassa Traditional Council, Mr. Ronku Akka, when the team visited him.

Nigerian representatives of the United States Aid for International Development (USAID) assured the Village Chiefs of willingness to investigate and design programs that address threats in rural communities through the Nigerian Early Warning Recovery Initiative formerly known as North East Regional Initiative (NERI).

Mr. Albert Pam, the NERI Deputy Chief of Party said the project to be implemented, for the first phase, in Mangu and Bassa LGAs of Plateau and some selected LGAs in Kaduna, would need the sincerity and cooperation of target communities during.

Director General, Plateau Peace Building Agency, Mr. Joseph Lengmang, also said the agency, is being sponsored by USAID to set up peace Structures in local communities to identify and neutralize conflict drivers from infancy.