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Community mourns as gunmen kill six Nasarawa farmers over land dispute

A total of six farmers of the Tiv extraction have been reportedly killed by yet to be identified gunmen in the Kadarko Community of Keana Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

Arewa PUNCH recalls that thousands of Tiv farmers in the southern part of the state had been displaced following persistent attacks on their houses and farmlands by suspected herdsmen in the area.

Investigations by Arewa PUNCH reveal that three of the victims were first hacked to death on Saturday afternoon while they were working on a farmland in the area, while the other three farmers were shot by the gunmen on Sunday morning.

A resident of Keana LGA who confirmed the incident told our correspondent that the Sunday attack occurred around the Railway axis of the community.

According to a source, who pleaded anonymity, “A group of armed men invaded a disputed farmland where the three persons were working and killed them. They killed the farmers and fled before the arrival of security operatives.

“This is a clear case of oppression. Issues like this has been ongoing for some time now but because we are peaceful-loving people, we decided to allow most of the oppression that we have been facing to go unnoticed especially those that do not involve the loss of lives.

“But the oppression is getting too much by the day. The gunmen who are suspected herdsmen come here (Kadarko) almost on a regular basis to take over our lands and do whatever they like with us.’’

“The government has been quiet about the matter for some time now. I want to appeal that Governor Abdullahi Sule should collaborate with the security agencies to launch a detailed investigation into the issues of land grabbing and other threats from the gunmen, especially in the southern part of the state, so that we can be able to carryout our daily activities without being scared of any form of attack from the gunmen.”

Also confirming the incident to our correspondent, the Chairman, United Farmers Association in Kadarko, Denis Utsa, said the gunmen had invaded Tse-Abir Azer area of Kadarko during the weekend and unleashed mayhem on the people of the area.

He explained that apart from the six farmers killed by the bandits, many survivors of the attack had escaped into nearby bushes in the community with bullet wounds.

“At the moment, the gunmen have invaded the IDPs rebuilt settlements in Kadarko, and dozens of the IDPs there have fled to nearby communities, including Giza for refuge.

“We are appealing to the state government to urgently look into the matter so that we can have adequate security in the area,” he pleaded.

On his part, the President of Tiv Development Association in the state, Solomon Chunku, decried the situation and called for the urgent intervention of the state government to restore normalcy in the area.

Chunku, who went emotional while speaking with Arewa PUNCH on the matter, lamented that his kinsmen had faced numerous challenges due to the operations of gunmen in the Tiv communities across the state.

While commiserating with the families of those who lost their lives in the attack, the TIDA President urged his kinsmen to continue to live in peace and harmony with other residents of the state.

However, he commended the efforts of Governor Abdullahi Sule in ensuring that most of the displaced Tiv farmers return to their ancestral homes after many years of seeking refuge in other communities.

“I would like to say that despite the Governor’s efforts at ensuring that the Tiv Internally Displaced Persons return to their communities, most of them are still taking refuge in IDP camps across the state for fear of being attacked by the bandits.

“Therefore, i appeal to the Governor to urgently look into the matter, and assist in ensuring that the remaining Tiv people in IDP camps return to their ancestral homes so that they can contribute meaningfully to the growth of the state and Nigeria at large,” he added.

Chunku further appealed for the creation of Tiv chiefdoms by the Nasarawa State government in order to give them a  complete sense of belonging and for the peace and development of the state.

“We wish to also inform the governor that we do not have a traditional stool despite our number and political participation. We shall be most grateful if he (Gov Sule) will liberate us from these decades of neglect, and consider the creation of chiefdom(s) headed by Tiv extractions so that the Tiv people can feel a complete sense of belonging,” the TIDA President said.

As of the time of filing this report, efforts made by our correspondent to get the reaction of the Nasarawa State Police Command proved abortive as the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ramhan Nansel did not respond to phone calls nor replied text messages put across to his mobile lines.

SourcePUNCH

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