Nigeria’s Military Taskforce, code named Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), has said all Internally Displaced Person’s (IDPs), camp in northcentral Plateau State, will be closed down as modalities are on top gear to ensure they are safely returned to their ancestral home.
Commander of the taskforce, Major General Augustine Agundu, stated at the weekend when he visited one of the troubled community in Plateau, known as Gashish, in Barkin Ladi local government area, where over 188 persons were killed last year by suspected Fulani armed militia.
According to Agundu, the State government in collaboration with the taskforce have fashioned out modalities on how to return home the remaining sets of IDPs.
Sky News Africa recalls that on the 23rd of June 2018, exactly one year ago, suspected Fulani armed men invaded Gashish community and killed over 188 persons in cold blood, leading to residents fleeing their homes to various internally displaced persons camps in Jos, the State capital.
However, with the effort of the military taskforce, some of the displaced persons have returned back to their ancestral homes in December 2018.
“The IDPs situation are categories into three, there are those who’s houses are still intact, those once has since been returned home, which we did in face one: faces two and three are the communities that requires some level of renovation and rebuilding of their homes, which the state government has commenced and as soon as their homes are rebuild, the remaining IDPs will return home”, the OPSH boss said.
However, a youth leader in the district, Darim Victor, said some of the IDPs that returned home went back for fear of being attacked again.
Mr. Darim said the killings have stopped but grazing on farmland is still on going.
“If you approach a herder grazing on your farm, he will be nasty to you until you call the attention of a security and the herder will run away.
“We are still very afraid to talk to the herders to stop grazing on our farmland because they can still attack us”, he said.
Darim appealed to the OPSH Commander to reinforce more security personnel to Gashish, especially now that farming season is here.
Responding, the State Director, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Mr. Mohammed Adam Mohammad, said any herder found violating the template for peace should be reported to security agencies.
Mohammed said the association will not take it likely with any herder who is fermenting trouble.
“We cannot allow the effort of the taskforce to be in vain: OPSH worked tirelessly to ensure that peace is achieved in this community, so everyone must corporate with the security and play by the rules”, he said.
Speaking further, Gen. Agundu said his entourage came to Gashish to reconcile and strengthen the relationship between the natives and the Fulanis, calling on the youth leaders of both divide to fix a date for a youth meeting aimed at proffering further ways to coexist.
Agundu said land matters should not be a pointer for disunity because land exist before everyone was born and will remain when everyone dies.
He explained how difficult the terrain of Gashish could be for easy access, making it difficult to navigate and ward off assailants before they strike, therefore encouraging peaceful coexistence among both faction.