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Mass Killings: Plateau, Benue Stakeholders Drag FG Before ICJ

Piqued by the sustained killings of their kinsmen by suspected herdsmen, major stakeholders in both Plateau and Benue states have dragged the Federal Government to the International Court of Justice in Hague, Switzerland.

Leaders of ethnic nationalities from the states and members of professional bodies such as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have either forwarded petitions to the Court or are penultimate collating relevant documents and other evidence to accompany their own petitions over alleged act of genocide against indigenes of the two states.

Close to 200 persons were killed by suspected herdsmen about two weeks ago in parts of Plateau State with the attendant outrage within and outside the country.

Irked by the persistent killings in four local government areas of Plateau State, an umbrella body of all the ethnic nationalities in the state, Plateau Initiative for Development and Advancement of the Natives (PIDAN) said it had sent a petition to the ICJ over the alleged killings of the natives.

Similarly, the Berom Educational and Cultural Organisation announced its plan to forward a separate petition detailing the killings in the state.

The chairman of PIDAN Dr Madaki Aboi said such organisations as the North Central Youths Assembly and others had sent their petitions to the ICJ and the United Nations on the gruesome killings in Plateau State.

“We want the ICJ to intervene because of the excessive killings in Plateau and continuous injustice against our people. An injustice to one tribe is an injustice to the entire Plateau State. We are calling on the ICJ to ensure that justice is done on the Plateau; the killings are too much,” he said

Dr Aboi, who called for an overhaul of the nation’s security architecture, stated that if Amnesty International could posit that the attackers operated for seven hours last week Saturday without intervention from the security agencies then there was the need for total overhauling.

On the number of displaced people over the recent killings, Dr Aboi said in Barakin-Ladi and Riyom local governments alone,   13,000 persons were displaced while 11,164 were also displaced from other affected local governments adding that the displaced people were in 10 different IDP camps across the state.

Speaking with Sunday Tribune, Secretary General, Berom Educational and Cultural Organisation, Mr Davou Choji said there were enough and clear grounds for the petition.

Association of the Middle Belt Ethnic Nationalities (ASOBEN), in a statement by its chairman Sule Kwasau and Secretary, Reverend James Pam respectively, said from all indications, the Fulani were allegedly waging a war on Nigerian communities in the Middle Belt, South-West, South-South and South-East zones in pursuit of an ethnic-cleansing and land-grabbing agenda.

“We can conclude that the Federal Government is supporting this agenda, in view of its several attempts in the last three years to pass a Grazing Law a federal river banks authority, create cattle colonies in states and, most recently, the gazetting of 94 transition cattle ranches in 10 select states at a cost of N179 billion.

“The Nigerian state is slowly drifting into anarchy, as government is not ready to call a spade a spade and adopt appropriate steps to solve our fundamental problems,” he said.

The association called for immediately restructure the architecture of the Armed Forces in order to make them more professional.

It suggested that all Fulani herdsmen currently occupying the 45 invaded villages in Plateau, should be ordered to leave and return to their states of origin where they should be assisted to adopt a sedentary style of integrated animal husbandry.

The association also called on the Federal Government to make sufficient funds available for the feeding, rebuilding of houses and places of worship and the resettlement of all displaced persons in Plateau and other affected states adding that hunger is a looming danger.

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