Plateau Indigenous Communities raise alarm, says bandits have taken over 151 communities

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Isreal Adamu

Groups of ethnic nationalities under the aegis of the Atakar, Berom, Irigwe, Mwaghavwul, and Ron Youths Associations, in conjunction with the Coalition of Plateau Indigenous Youth Bodies, on Monday raised the alarm over what they termed the forceful displacement and annexation of over 151 indigenous hamlets, villages, and communities, as well as land grabbing in Plateau State by the gunmen .

They made this known while addressing newsmen at the NUJ Press Centre in Jos .

They added that the communities, are scattered across Bassa, Bokkos, Riyom, Barkin Ladi, and Mangu local government areas.

The Chairman of Indigenous Youths, Mr. Paul Dekete, who was flanked alongside other tribal leaders said “In view of the unsatisfactory and feeble responses so far received from all levels of Government in Nigeria, the Atakar, Berom, Irigwe, Mwaghavwul and Ron Youths Associations in conjunction with the Coalition of Plateau Indigenous Youths Bodies are constrained to draw attention of the public and, especially, International Community through this Press Conference on the alarming and unacceptable loss of ancestral lands as well as the denial of access to farmlands and mining sites currently being suffered by the customary landowners in the State.”

The group accused Fulani militants of carrying out attacks and killings in hamlets, villages, and communities, intimidating and displacing native inhabitants, disrupting their livelihoods, and paving the way for the occupation of their lands. This, they said, creates “no-go” areas for the indigenous people in the 21st century.

“It’s common knowledge that hamlets and villages in Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos Mangu and Riyom Local Government Areas are richly endowed with resources such as favourable weather conditions, natural tourist sites, fertile soils, water bodies, Cassaterite, Columbite and so many other minerals,” the statement read.

They highlighted a strong connection between the areas where their people have suffered the worst forms of displacement and denial of access to the rich natural and mineral resources of those locations.

The group pointed out the rapidly changing economic and occupational demographics in the occupied territories, citing the Gashish District of Barkin Ladi LGA, where the Fulani have taken over economic activities, displacing native farmers.

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