Once a quiet and peaceful region, North Central Nigeria also known as Middle Belt is not only facing a crisis of identity, but a renewed bloodshed between herdsmen and farmers.
The region got it teeth during the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Once a quiet and peaceful region, North Central Nigeria also known as Middle Belt is not only facing a crisis of identity, but a renewed bloodshed between herdsmen and farmers.
Apart from the political crisis rocking the area, scores have been killed in Nasarawa State when gunmen suspected to be Fulani herders invaded Udeni Gida, Udeni Magaji, Kpana and surrounding villages displacing many. Admiral Suleiman Apoche, Naval officer commanding Eastern Naval Command, had his house burnt as a result of the crisis.
The State governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Ahmed Tukur, promised to return the displaced to their places of abode.
Over a million people have been killed in the last four years including Senator Gyang Dangtong in Neighboring Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Niger, Federal Capital Abuja and Southern Kaduna, which made up the middle belt.
Head of the Nigeria Human Rights Commission, Prof Chidi Odinkalu, after a tour to some of the destroyed communities said the situation is worrying.
A report is yet to be released concerning the commission's findings. "After massive killings in mid-2014, hostilities have returned with the killing of over 20 people in our community," Moses Ishaya, a resident of Udeni Gida said. "16 People were also Killed while two Policemen Hospitalized following an attack on our community, a former councilor from Odeni Magaji, Hon Isaiah Koki said.
Udeni Magaji and surrounding villages have experienced four different attacks in a month, spokesman of the Nasarawa State Command of the Nigeria Police, ASP.
Ismaila Numan has confirmed. Governor Almakura said he will hold traditional rulers and stakeholders responsible for any outbreak of violence in their respective communities, referring to the renewed violence in Udeni Gida and surrounding villages of the state.
The government is planning to evacuate cattle from areas that do not belong to them but warned farmers to desist from taking laws into their own hands. Creation of Cattle routes and reserves is a subject of controversy in Nigeria's National Assembly.
Over the years, a bill seeking for creation of cattle reserves has always been rejected. But Al-Makura said he will create cattle routes across the state to prevent further farmers/ herdsmen clash. "Anybody caught poisoning cows or killing them will be punished."
The displaced in Nasarawa has rejected relief materials sent to them by the State Emergency Management Agency (NASEMA), over neglect, calling on the National Emergency Management Agency to come to their aid because many of the IDPs are seeking refuse in neighboring Benue and Kogi states. NASEMA Boss, Dr Abubakar Idris has refute of neglect, claiming the state government released N1 million for relief materials.
"Nasarawa State is under fire," Agah in a letter of complain said. "The displaced Odeni people are sleeping in the open in spite of the bitten effect of winter on Children, Women and the elderly and no single support is coming from the government," the former councilor said.
Odeni Magaji and its surrounding villages of Ogeni, Gidan Musa, Okpamu, Ambu, Akpata, Ekah, Angwan-Agatu, Angwan-Hausa, Gidan Adikwu, Angwan Kabawa, Gidan Adure, Imbigin, Ole Ogwueje, Kwadere and Gidan-Dandare with a population of about 90,000 people have displaced were scattered to neighboring Agbashi, Doma and Nasarawa, the headquarter of Nasarawa Local Government.