Suspected Fulani herdsmen have killed 548 people in repeated attacks on Irigwe communities of Bassa local council of Plateau State in four years.
An advocacy group, Stefanos Foundation, which gave the figure in its fact-finding report on attacks on the community, said about 7,576 houses and 5,801 farms were also destroyed between 2018 and 2021.
It added that between July 30 and August 4, 2021, about 70 people were killed and over 250 houses burnt by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
Its Programme Coordinator, Mark Lipdo, said the organisation was concerned about labeling Irigwe people as the perpetrator of the recent attacks on 22 travellers without a conclusive investigation or evidence.
“Sadly, these attacks are not peculiar to Irigwe communities or Plateau State alone. This situation is replicated in many communities all over the country.
“Therefore, rather than allowing conflict merchants and trouble makers take advantage of situations like this, we call for a united stand in response to this criminality,” he said.
Speaking, the President of Irigwe Development Association (IDA), Robert Dodo, alleged that there was a plot by “Fulani nihilists” to wipe out Irigwe people from their ancestral land without any intervention by those whose primary responsibility was to protect citizens.
He denied reports that the community had signed a peace accord with the Fulani, noting that the Irigwe people had no grievances against peace loving Fulani people.
Insisting that Irigwe youths were not responsible for the recent attack on 22 travellers along Rukuba road, Dodo accused the police of fueling reprisals that resulted from the unfortunate incident.