“Bandits have taken over 151 communities in our state” – Plateau indigenes reveal

A coalition of ethnic nationalities, including the Atakar, Berom, Irigwe, Mwaghavwul, and Ron Youths Associations, alongside the Coalition of Plateau Indigenous Youth Bodies, has revealed the forceful displacement and annexation of over 151 indigenous communities in Plateau State by bandits.

In a press briefing held at the NUJ Press Centre in Jos on Monday, the coalition expressed deep frustration over the lack of government intervention regarding their plight.

The affected communities are spread across Bassa, Bokkos, Riyom, Barkin Ladi, and Mangu local government areas.

Chairman of Indigenous Youths, Mr. Paul Dekete, accompanied by other tribal leaders, stated: “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 the attention of the public and, especially, the 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 coalition accused Fulani militants of orchestrating attacks and killings in the areas, leading to the displacement of native inhabitants and disruption of their livelihoods.

This, they claimed, has created “no-go” areas for the indigenous people, preventing them from accessing their lands and resources.

The coalition stated that there is a strong connection between the displacement of their people and the rich natural and mineral resources in those areas.

“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, Cassiterite, Columbite, and many other minerals,” the statement read.

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