Relocated Fulani cry out

Fulanis evacuated from their homelands
following the recent crisis in parts of Plateau
State have cried out to the authorities to take
them back to their homes. The demand by
the homesick Fulanis is coming barely few
days after they were evacuated for safety.
Already, no fewer than two births and one
death have been recorded in the camps.
Beroms and the Fulanis are the two tribes
affected by the evacuation exercise ordered
to enable the Special Task Force on Jos crisis
carry out military exercise in Barakin Ladi
and Riyom local government areas where the
crisis occurred. For the Beroms, going home has become a nightmare after losing so many
lives including two prominent sons to constant raids by the gunmen.
For the Fulanis who said they were not aware that their kinsmen carried out the raid, going
back to their villages is the best thing that can happen to them especially as the Ramadan is
fast approaching. Following the evacuation of persons in the troubled five communities in the
two local government areas, Fulanis have been kept in two camps. One is in Diayan Nomadic
Primary school in Bashit district of Riyom local government area. About 140 persons who are
in the camp are mainly from Shong 2 in Riyom local government area.
The other camp is Nomadic Primary school, Dogo in Gashish district of Barkin Ladi local
government area. Most of the Fulanis numbering about 2000 are from Mahanga village. While
the Dogo camp is about an hour drive from Jos, the route to Diayan is hilly and more than
two hours drive from the capital city.
One of the refugees and a mother of two, Furairah Mohammad from Shong 2, insisted that
despite the land dispute with the Beroms, there is no other home apart from Riyom where
she lived with her family and other kit and kin. Though she was sad that all has not been
rosy between them and the Beroms, she said that there is no other place she could call her
‘I grew up and had all my children in Riyom. Even though my husband goes far with the
cattle for days and sometimes for weeks, he has always come back home to us in Shong.”
She denied that her people were behind the killing of the Beroms, adding that all she knew
was that the Beroms took some of their cattle and killed some that strayed into their farms.
She said that efforts to recover what belong to them proved abortive. She told Sunday Sun
that she had heard about some people creeping into Berom villages to kill them in their sleep
but could not say who was responsible.
In her reasoning, it could be anybody; either some Fulanis or Beroms themselves but they
are not Fulanis from her area because they do not kill. On their evacuation to the camp,
Furairah said they were told that whoever remained in the village would have himself to
blame for whatever happens to him or her.
“ They told us we will be here for only two days but it seems we will stay here far longer
than that. Most of the children are getting sick. We do not have toilet and there is too much
cold here. Already one woman is dead. “ We were told we will be here in the nomadic school
for two days but from what we are seeing, we will be here for more than that and we do not
have cooking utensils or even where to cook here. Already one person has died and ten
others are in the hospital as a result of the extreme cold. Aisha Yakubu had died because of
the rigour of moving from home to the camp and because they did not have enough food.”
Another woman, Asmau Usman also regretted leaving her home in Riyom because no one
has been catering for their needs. She complained that they have been in hunger, thirst and
exposed to mosquitoes as they have no nets. She also denied that they have been at war
with the Beroms insisting that they have always lived apart adding that they only moved out
of their abode because they were asked to do so. The two women refused to be
photographed insisting that they do not take pictures. Later, Sunday Sun learnt that they did
not want the pictures to be used against them.
The leader of the Fulanis who is known as the Ardo, Alhaji Idris Gidado also complained that
they have been kept in very poor condition. He said most of the people were purging
because they ate anything they could lay their hands on. He complained that the authorities
have not been fair to them and alleged that the Beroms were receiving better treatment. He
said that as Nigerians they should enjoy the same privileges as the Beroms.
He said that while they would like to cooperate with the government, they would prefer that
the Special Task Force speeds up whatever it is doing in their villages. This is to enable them
return to their homes to salvage their belongings that are getting spoilt.
Alhaji Idris said that because they have been staying in their nomadic schools, there was no
place for them to cook even though they receive foodstuff from the Task Force. He confirmed
that they do not have toilet facilities and had been defecating where they stay despite the
attendant health hazards. Besides, their pregnant wives and children are exposed to
mosquito bites and they sleep in dilapidated buildings and in the open air. He said that as the
Ramadan fast is fast approaching, they would like to go back to their homes and take proper
care of their meals.
The Ardo would however not comment on the problem between his people and the Beroms,
saying that they are law-abiding citizens. He said that those who had been killing the Beroms
do not reside with them, and urged the government to search elsewhere for the killers. He
said that they agreed to leave their homes and stay in the camps to enable the military
operation to take place.
The National Secretary of Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Alhaji Sale Bayare
explained that the Fulanis chose to stay in their nomadic primary schools because they
cannot stay in the same place with the Beroms. He alleged that the refugee camps allotted
by the Plateau state government are located in the towns mostly populated by the Beroms
pointing out that going into those camps was akin to sighing their death warrants.
Alhaji Idris said that initially, they did not receive the attention of the federal and state
governments. According to him, it was after they cried out, that the authorities agreed to
provide them with the relief materials. He said that it would have been difficult for others to
come from neighbouring countries and villages to raid Berom lands if the state government
had initially agreed to cooperate with the Fulanis residing in the state.
He confirmed that Fulanis had recorded one death and two births in the camp adding that the
two deliveries were on Wednesday. Already, a medical doctor has been visiting the camp to
treat the sick. Dr. Adamu Gambo who was seen treating them said most of them complained
of malaria and diarrhea because they were eating all sorts of things and drinking untreated
water. He said that his team has been managing the patients including the pregnant women
while whatever is beyond them is referred to the STF clinic.
The STF commander, Major General Ayoola who received the relief materials assured that
they would not be kept in the camp longer than necessary adding that they will return to
their homes as soon as the military exercise is completed.

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