The Plateau State Government has debunked claims by a coalition of Fulani groups that they lost 350 herdsmen and 850 cattle in the recurring crises in the state.
The Commissioner for Information and Communication, Musa Ashoms, who spoke on Sunday at an event put together by youths from the 17 local government area of the state on the platform of Plateau Youth Peace and Progressive Forum, otherwise known as G17, to mourn those killed in the state in December, said the allegation was misleading and a clear misrepresentation of the facts.
A coalition of Fulani groups made up of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, Bajoil Fulani, Jonde Jam Kautal Hore and Lawul Fulaku, made the allegation at a news conference on Sunday.
They said between July 14, 2023 and now, 350 of their members were killed, while they lost 850 cows to rustlers.
The Plateau State Police Command has denied knowledge of the alleged killings according to reported monitored on Channels Television.
Ashoms, who represented Governor Caleb Muftwang at the event, described the Fulani leaders as harbingers of disunity, asking security agencies to arrest them for spreading false allegations to mislead the public.
He said: “We are sad that some groups have issued a statement that is not true, today, Sunday, and said 350 people that belong to their association were killed.
“This is not true.
“We are peace-loving people on the Plateau.
“We do not kill.
“When a soul is lost on the Plateau, it puts us in a weeping moment.
“So, they should know and note that such a thing never happened on the Plateau.
“We are not killers.
“We are known for our peace.
“We are known for our hospitality.
“We are known for our industry.
“So, that is misleading, that is mischievous, that is malicious.
“We are very serious with our people.
“We cannot be dancing on the graves of our people.
“This is not time for grammar.
“We’ve lost lives.
“We will not come after many weeks to come and cook up bull stories.
“Please, security agencies should arrest these persons.
“This is the intelligence they have given us.
“You cannot just come and say people were killed on the 21st, on the 22nd and the 23rd and nobody heard about it.
“Please, security agencies, we are using this opportunity to call on you to arrest these people because they have shown that they do not like peace.
“They’ve shown that they are habitats of disunity.
“As a government, we will continue to protect our people.
“We will work hard to defend our state.
“So, please, your prayer is important.
“Accept your solidarity and support.
“These are trying times and as a government, we will not relent in our efforts.
“We will not betray Plateau State.
“His Excellency, Barrister Caleb Mutfwang has asked me to tell you that weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
“As I stated, we are advocating for state policing because it is obvious that our territory cannot be protected by the federal might, and as a people, we are very very saddened by this situation.
“We are here this evening, courtesy of the Plateau Youth G-17 Peace and Progressive Forum to mourn our fallen heroes.
“The government of Governor Mutfwang is doing everything possible to ensure that peace returns to Plateau.
“He will stand to defend the mandate of the people.”