Prince Rwang Pam: Over 100 Plateau communities taken over by herdsmen


Rwang Pam

Richard Elesho

A community leader and son of the first Gbong Gwom Jos, Prince Rwang Pam jnr. said herdsmen have killed thousands of indigenous persons after which they seized and renamed over 100 communities in Plateau State alone, in the last 20 years.

He said though the attacks started in 2001, it has degenerated under the present government while expressing worries that President Muhammadu Buhari has turned his face aside from the woeful plight of his people.

Rwang, who is spokesperson for Southern Middle Belt Alliance, SMBA, made the allegations in an interview with The Vanguard.

He recommended the implementation of anti open grazing law in Plateau State to put an end to the blood bath and to enable the displaced persons return to their homes, emphasizing “we are not the cause of desertification.”

According to him, “we are living in an age where almost everything is possible, both the good and the bad. Unfortunately for Plateau State and most parts of the Middle Belt, we have been under attack since 2001. There are always skirmishes in Jos. But that is always settled politically. Within these 20 years, various governments that had the interest of the people at heart had constituted various commissions of inquiry.

“The Justice Nikki Tobi Commission is one. And their reports are all in the public domain. There is an agenda for the cleansing of the indigenous Plateau and Middle Belt tribes. These are people that don’t have any other country, but Nigeria.

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“While this started long ago before the administration of Buhari, we saw actions by previous administrations to curb the menace. After Governor Joshua Dariye there were a lot of crises and killings. After him, over 500 people were killed in Dogonawa in one night. Dariye did his best to curb the situation. Jonah Jang and Dariye, by their body language and actions, indicated that they have the interest of the people at heart,” he said.

Pam added that they took steps to “avoid conflict areas with wisdom and wide consultations. They didn’t hold elections in Jos North. They appointed caretaker committees or interim leaderships to avoid conflict. If they were to appoint, they looked for indigenous persons to lead. They looked for Afizare people or even somebody from Miango because they knew those people are indigenous.

“They tried to maintain peace. Jang went a step further by establishing a vigilante group that had the support of people and the state House of Assembly. It was known as Operation Rambo. Youths were employed. Instead of taking up arms and fighting, instead of going into drugs or drinking from morning to evening, they were conscripted into the task force.

“They were being paid and the police were there to guide them. They complimented the security of the area, making the situation deteriorate into what it is now. But under the current administration within which the whole thing escalated, from the federal to state level, it is a different ball game entirely. In the Buhari and Lalong regime, the annexation happened regularly. Weekly, you hear about people being killed in all corners of Plateau State. In places like Barkain Ladi, it went on. They will capture and kill.

“And those who are able to survive run and hide somewhere. Sometimes they run to shelters like primary schools and churches. But some of them were followed to the primary schools and were killed there. Every single week there is an act. And when I say attack, I mean people who were sleeping in their homes being killed. Women and children are killed. There is nothing like humanity in the hearts of perpetrators. The most worrisome is that in the face of these, our President has never deemed it fit to visit Plateau State.

Even when government spoke about the killings, it said they were being done by non-indigenous Fulani. Surprisingly, in their regime, the borders of Nigeria were open for all Fulani all over the world to come in. Funny enough, this was the same time that borders were closed for regional trade. Some northern governors even said all the Fulani in the world are welcome. Nobody is stopping this mass movement into Nigeria. That is why the crisis in Plateau and other parts of Nigeria is increasing.

“We are not the cause of desertification if that is what they claimed is pushing them into Nigeria. Of course, it is not. It seems there is an agenda to annihilate indigenous tribes through killings and occupation. That has continued village after village and hamlet after hamlet. Internally Displaced Persons, IDPSs, in the state are not being carried along like those in the North-East. At one time, the Vice President came, after another set of massacre where dozens were killed in Barakin Ladi, the victims were kept in Bukuru, Jos South Local Government Area, N10 million pledge was made to assist them. Nobody has heard anything about it till date. It seems our people have been marked for annihilation,” he stated.

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