48-hour quit notice to Fulani herdsmen :Group accuses Jang’s Govt of “ethnic cleansing campaign”



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By Danlami Nmodu

A human rights group,Network for Justice has raised alarm over the distress calls from Fulani herdsmen who are inhabitants of Barikin Ladi and Riyom local government areas of Plateau State following  a quit notice  to them.The group  in a statement  said it is alarmed by the distress calls on the heels “of  a 48 hour ultimatum given to them (Fulani herdsmen)  in a press statement signed by Captain Salisu Mustapha, spokesman of the Joint Task Force (JTF) ordering them to evacuate those places while  the Beroms, who also are parties in the on- going conflict, have been told not to panic and to be careful of their movements”

Network for Justice said in a press release signed by Dr Bashir Usman Kurfi, its executive director  that “This has confirmed several reports about the killing of over 200 Fulani herdsmen along with hundreds of their cattle and the complete destruction of their entire settlements by the JTF within the last three days. Surprisingly, these unjustified operations were conducted by both ground troops and helicopter gunships.”

The  press release added that,“These atrocities amount to an open declaration of war by a Government against a segment of its citizens. This is totally against all norms of civil engagement. It is ironic that no such action was ever taken against the Berom militia when they perpetrated the 2011 Jos Eid Fitr massacre, the genocide at Kuru Karama and the conversion of Riyom –Jos Federal road into a corridor of death for innocent citizens on transit to Plateau State and other parts of North Eastern Nigeria at the slightest opportunity.

Specifically,the human rights group said “This inhuman and unacceptable action sufficiently demonstrated that an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Fulani and other associated muslim communities of Plateau State is being waged with the tacit support of Plateau State Government under Jonah Jang. It is on record that the dispute is ethnic between the so-called Berom ‘indigenes’ and so-called Fulani ‘indigenes’ but Governor is giving it religious coloration in an address to Plateau State Council of Chiefs”

The group said the quit notice to Fulani herdsmen is “antithetical to the constitutional provisions that guarantee all citizens the fundamental, universal and inalienable  rights to live in any place of their choice in the country, ECOWAS Protocol  and African Charter on Peoples and Human Rights as well as several United Nations conventions and Protocols regarding the rights of the human person.”

It is also among others , “ appealing to the International community to, as a matter of urgency, prevail on the Plateau State Government and the Federal Government of Nigeria and their agents both covert and overt to bring the pogrom against the Fulani people and associated muslim communities on the Plateau to an end”

Read the full text of the human rights group’s statement below:

..July 14, 2012.

PRESS RELEASE

The Network for Justice, which is a Nigerian human Rights campaign and advocacy organisation, is alarmed by distress calls from Fulani  Herdsmen inhabitants of Barikin Ladi and Riyom local  government areas of Plateau State of a 48 hour ultimatum given to them in a press statement signed by Captain Salisu Mustapha, spokesman of the Joint Task Force (JTF) ordering them to evacuate those places while  the Beroms, who also are parties in the on- going conflict, have been told not to panic and to be careful of their movements.

This has confirmed several reports about the killing of over 200 Fulani herdsmen along with hundreds of their cattle and the complete destruction of their entire settlements by the JTF within the last three days. Surprisingly, these unjustified operations were conducted by both ground troops and helicopter gunships.

These atrocities amount to an open declaration of war by a Government against a segment of its citizens. This is totally against all norms of civil engagement. It is ironic that no such action was ever taken against the Berom militia when they perpetrated the 2011 Jos Eid Fitr massacre, the genocide at Kuru Karama and the conversion of Riyom –Jos Federal road into a corridor of death for innocent citizens on transit to Plateau State and other parts of North Eastern Nigeria at the slightest opportunity.

This inhuman and unacceptable action sufficiently demonstrated that an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Fulani and other associated muslim communities of Plateau State is being waged with the tacit support of Plateau State Government under Jonah Jang. It is on record that the dispute is ethnic between the so-called Berom ‘indigenes’ and so-called Fulani ‘indigenes’ but Governor is giving it religious coloration in an address to Plateau State Council of Chiefs.

While NJ does not condone violence and lawlessness in its any ramifications, this action of the state is clearly partisan, unacceptable and utterly condemnable. This irresponsible action could lead to further breakdown of law, order and anarchy not only at that place but could conflagrate beyond the point of conflict.

The Quit Notice is antithetical to the constitutional provisions that guarantee all citizens the fundamental, universal and inalienable  rights to live in any place of their choice in the country, ECOWAS Protocol  and African Charter on Peoples and Human Rights as well as several United Nations conventions and Protocols regarding the rights of the human person.

In view of the aforementioned the NJ hereby calls on the Fulani herdsmen to be calm, remain in-situ and not to take the law into their hands. Two, we call on Plateau State Government to note that the fundamental obligation of any responsible government is the protection of citizen’s lives and property irrespective of their ethnic and religious affiliation. Further The STF  should understand that the onus of their assignment is to be a neutral arbiter and are duty bound to conduct themselves within the confines of the relevant laws and without bias against any of the parties in dispute.

Northern Elders should intervene proactively to comprehensively and objectively address this and other similar flash-points of blood letting conflicts with a view to bringing them to an end.

As peace loving Nigerians  committed to rule of law, peaceful coexistence and human rights we are demanding that the Federal Government must to just and fair to the parties in the dispute by exercising restrain against excessive use of force against defenceless people.

Finally, we are appealing to the International community to, as a matter of urgency, prevail on the Plateau State Government and the Federal Government of Nigeria and their agents both covert and overt to bring the pogrom against the Fulani people and associated muslim communities on the Plateau to an end.

Thank you.

signed

Dr Bashir Usman Kurfi.

Executive Director


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