A group of youths under the umbrella of the ‘Idoma Initiative’ staged a protest today in Abuja over what they call an “incessant massacre” of the Idoma people in Agatu, perpetrated by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The placard-carrying protesters dressed in black t-shirts with various inscriptions, such as “Save Agatu, Preserve Idoma,” and “Stop Idoma Genocide.”
The protest kicked off at the Unity Fountain and made its first call at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), where they registered their displeasure and anger on the carnage going on in the area.
According to a protest organizer, Paul Edeh, Idomas are being killed and driven away from their ancestral homes by the herdsmen. He said that the attackers entered some villages during the night and destroyed lives and property, leaving over 300 people dead and several others wounded.
At the time of this report, over 5,000 people affected by the violence are reportedly living in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Otukpo and Ugboloko.
The group’s demands include that the federal government set up a commission into the causes of the massacre, that the government should develop policies to stop the violence in the Agatu area, and that relief materials should be provided to IDP camps.
Also speaking at the rally was the founder of the ‘Berekete Family’ radio program, Isa Ahmed. Mr. Ahmed revealed that some of the herdsmen migrated from Niger and Mali and asked the government to find a lasting solution to the conflict.
Mr. S. Tahir, Director of Legal Drafting at the Ministry of Justice, assured the protesters that their message would be delivered to the Minister of Justice, who he said was on an official assignment.
“I want to tell you that we saw your previous letter in respect of the matter and I want to assure that your letter is being given attention. As you know, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to fighting insurgents and other security challenges, and Agatu will not be an exemption,” he said. Tahir also received a protest letter from the leader of the group.
The protesters also submitted a protest letter to the leadership of the National Assembly, where the rally was terminated.