Gyang Bere, Jos
A-94-year-old village head of Josho in Daffo District of Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State, Mr. Magit Malo, has begged President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Simon Lalong to rebuild their destroyed houses before his people could return home.
He noted that more than 5,000 people were displaced in nine villages in Josho on the March 8, 2018, leaving 30 persons dead and several others injured when Fulani herdsmen invaded the area at night.
He raised the concern when the operatives of the Operation Safe Haven and Plateau State government visited the villages to take statistics of the burnt houses and displaced persons in preparation for their return.
Malo said that the people were experiencing severe nightmare and excruciating pains in the IDP camps.
He recalled that he escaped death narrowly on that fateful day his village was attacked, adding that he spent three days into the bush and later summon courage to return home to confront the herdsmen who were destroying homes and removing roofing sheets for sell and construction of their own houses.
“My people desire to come back to their homes but there is no how they can return without their houses rebuilt. Others who are making efforts to mould blocks and rebuild their homes are facing stiff resistance from the Fulani herdsmen who are destroying the moulded blocks.
“I’m pleading with the Federal and state governments, particularly President Muhammadu Buhari to help us rebuild our homes to start a new life. My people who are predominantly farmers are suffering.
“They have nowhere to go to. Since their displacement in March, 2018, the herdsmen have been grazing freely in their farms; they are frustrating the return of the villagers so that they can continue grazing without restriction on the farmlands.
“I decided to return three days after the attack because I couldn’t run and leave my inherited land to the herdsmen; I prefer to die defending my people than to become a refugee in my land because I was displaced by herdsmen.”
A 31-year-old married woman, Charity Asoro, said she would not go back to the village if government did not rebuild their burnt houses and beef up security in the villages.
She said they rented farmlands close to the IDP camp last year for the raining and dry season farming but the land were not fertile like their own and sought government assistance to enable them return home.
Meanwhile, Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, has vowed to sustain the peace prevailing in the state despite efforts of some conflict merchants to instil fear in the populace.
Lalong, in a statement through the state Commission for Information and Communication, Hon. Yakubu Dati, said government would not be deterred in its commitment to return the IDPs back to their ancestral lands.
The governor tasked the citizens in the spirit of the New Year to forgive and forget the past and forge a new partnership for a better Plateau State.