• Widow who lost 5 children laments, seeks divine intervention
Gyang Bere, Jos
“What have I done to deserve what is happening to me? Fulani have ruined my life, they have robbed me of all I have; I am finished. God, I need your divine intervention, show your mercy.”
This was the lamentation of 68-year-old Mrs Martha Ishaya, whose children and grandchildren were killed by rampaging Fulani herdsmen in two different attacks.
Mrs Ishaya had lost three of her grand-children, when suspected Fulani herdsmen invaded Datanko village of Miango District of Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State on March 8, killing four persons.
This was the day President Muhammadu Buhari came the state on a two-day working visit.
As a result of the attack, Governor Lalong swiftly imposed a dusk-to-down curfew in Bassa Local Government Area to avert further killings.
The herdsmen who were blood-thirsty left behind in the village traces of death, burnt houses, destroyed foodstuffs and valuables worth millions of naira.
Mrs Ishaya grandchildren’s who had their heads chopped off with machete after several gunshots included a set of twins whose names were given as Emmanuel Joseph, 16; Christopher Joseph, 16; and Peace Joseph, 6.
The teenage children were blocked and killed in one room while their parents who had escaped into the bush, watched helplessly from a distance how they were groaning in pains as they were being murdered in cold blood.
Their corpses were later deposited at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) mortuary before a mass burial was organized for them with sympathizers expressing displeasure and sadness over what they described as man’s inhumanity to man perpetrated by the Fulani herdsmen who they said they have accommodated in their land for decades.
Therefore, Mrs Ishaya and the other Irigwe women from Miango District who were displaced as a result of the incessant attacks converged on March 13, at Gada-Biyu in Jos North Local Government Area by 6:30a.m to march on major streets in protest as they went to the JUTH Mortuary to convey the corpses of the children for mass burial.
Most of the women who live in Miango left their villages on Monday to pass the night with their relations in Gada-Biyu to enable them have enough strength to move within the state capital to express their grief on the incessant killings.
But the women, who wore black cloths to mourn the untimely deaths of their children became more devastated as they were returning from the mortuary as news of another attack that claimed 25 persons on March 12, was broken to them.
Consequently, confusion took over the women who were marching in organised lines, singing songs of sorrow, carrying leaves and placards to demonstrate their displeasure and unhappiness.
Thus, as they cried, they equally probed the village that was attacked to know who were the new casualties.
Unfortunately, Mrs Ishaya who was the chief mourner in the first attack discovered that two of her biological children, Dauda Ishaya and Yahanna Ishaya, who had built their houses at Dundu village in Kwall Chiefdom of Miango Distinct, had equally died in the second onslaught.
The news made her to shift her attention from the procession bearing the corpses of her grandchildren as she could no longer control herself.
Mrs Ishaya, who lost her husband sometime in 2017, could not move any longer.
However, she managed to get to Gada-Biyu were a vehicle conveyed her to the village to see things for herself.
As the communities were planning for the mass burial of the four children in Datanko village, a neighbouring village, Dundu was littered with corpses of youths as the protesting women arrived the village in convoy.
Most of the victims died of gunshots injuries after which their bodies were butchered with machetes, making their corpses to be mutilated, horrible and scary.
It was, therefore, a confused situation for Mrs Ishaya as she did not know which of the mass burials to attend again.
She later ended up attending that of Kwall where 25 persons were killed thereby leaving that of her grand-children in Datanko village.
“What have I done to deserve what is happening to me? Fulani have ruined my life, they have robbed me of all I have; I am finished. God, I need your divine intervention, show your mercy,” she cried endlessly.
To worsen her plight, at the moment, Mrs Ishaya does not have a roof over her head as their house was burnt during the attack and the entire village displaced.
She is currently staying with relations in Miango town, where she is currently begging for food and shelter.
One of the surviving children, a four-year-old boy, Chenka Amos is also lying critically ill at Enos Private Hospital Miango as he escaped death narrowly. He has gunshots and machete injuries all over his head.
Narrating the casualties that Miango District has suffered between January and March 14, 2018, Zango Lawrence Nebanat, publicity secretary of Miango Youth Development Association, revealed that 125 persons have been killed, 863 villages destroyed and several persons wounded.
Hear him: “No fewer than 26 villages were attacked, 125 persons killed, 44 people injured, 863 houses razed down with food bans, 347 farm land produce worth millions of naira destroyed, 15 motorbikes, a bus, 24 irrigation water pumps burnt, more than 23,000 IDPs recorded, including men, women, children and the aged while an estimated number of property amounting billions of naira were lost.
“These attacks began in Ncha village on 7th September, 2017 with the gruesome killings of more than 20 people, mostly made up of women and children in their sleep. Houses were also razed down completely. Since that fateful day, peace has eluded the Irigwe nation.
“Ever since the Ncha incident, the assailants have continued to launch night unexpected attacks in other communities in line with their threat that Ncha was just the beginning. We have continually woken up to news of attacks each day leaving tears, sorrow, despair and apprehension.”
Comrade Nabanat begged the Federal Government to include Plateau among the states in the North Central to be visited by the military operation to ensure safety of lives and property.
“Plateau State should be included among states that the Federal Government has mobilized military operations for the safety of lives and property as we have suffered wanton destruction of lives and property since or before 2001 by enemies of the state and nation.
“We are calling for the enforcement of an agreement broken by ‘Operation Save Heaven’ security outfit Jos, on January, 29th 2018, which states that ‘anytime there is killing in the area, leaders of the attackers should be held responsible’”.
He called for the arrest of the Miyyeti Allah leaders in Plateau State with regards to the Zanwra village attack of 10 February, where three persons were killed and two others injured.
“We are pleading with the Federal Government to please come to our aid with relief materials and rebuilding of houses burnt and destroyed by the Fulani herdsmen and give compensation to farmers as promised in other affected states in the country.”