The Stephanos Foundation says no fewer than 75 people were killed while 23 others were injured following attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen in two communities in Irigwe Kingdom, Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State.
According to the foundation, about 13,726 persons have been displaced from the communities after the hoodlums burnt 489 houses during the attacks which occurred between September 8 and October 17, 2017.
The Executive Director of the foundation, Mark Lipdo, told journalists on Thursday in Jos that the organization had also obtained reports of attacks in Benue, Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, and Delta states where victims alleged that their attackers spoke Fulani and Hausa languages.
According to him, more worrisome was the fact that most villages attacked were now being deliberately occupied by Fulani people.
While calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that military personnel was deployed immediately in these areas, he also challenged the Federal Government to ensure that the attackers were arrested and arraigned in court for justice to be done.
“Another inhumane act has happened this time, the Irigwe people of Plateau State are the targets. On October 15, 2017, 29 people were massacred in a classroom under the military watch at Miango in the Bassa LGA of Plateau State. Again, the perpetrators have not been arrested and justice has not been done in this situation," Lipdo said.
“The Irigwe people reported that between September 8, 2017, and October 17, 2017, in just five weeks, two major communities of Irigwe land were attacked and sacked. Seventy-five people were killed, 23 injured, 489 houses burnt and 13,726 people out of a total population of 80,000 people were displaced.”
Lipdo said the Stephanos Foundation was concerned that the Nigerian Army, with its reputation as a renowned regional force, was not only unable to apprehend the criminals but also admitted that troops were intimidated by the hoodlums.
“This clearly is another threat of genocide, this time the Irigwe people are the target. The government should also ensure that Fulani herdsmen are properly disarmed,” he added.
The SF demanded that the allegation of military complacency and connivance should be investigated and officers involved court-martialed “for the already shattered trust in the military to be rebuilt.”
“It appears that Nigerian security agencies don’t matter when it comes to Fulani-related criminality. If these criminalities are left unattended, we fear that it could also leave the entire Nigeria vulnerable to more attacks, even from similar external forces,” Lipdo added.