I just red a shameless denial by the Taraba State Government that over hundreds of Fulani were not murdered in Mambila as disclosed by His Royal Highness, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, in an interview with Punch on Sunday, 15 January, 2015.
Joining in the denial was state branch of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). In a statement published by PUNCH today, CAN said, “The records are there in most of the national dailies that reported on the communal clash on the Mambila last year. NGOs, UNHCR and other international organizations visited the Mambila in the wake of the crisis, but in all of these the highest number of deaths recorded from both sides was 18.”
It should be noted that the Fulani did not come up with the 727 figure one night. It is a product of a painstaking process of data collection that took months. So it is possible that the NGOs and UNHCR reported on what they knew much earlier. Also, Taraba State Government did not say how many people were killed at Mambila. It doesn’t have its figure, it seems, but relies on reports from newspapers and organizations.
I was there when the list of 727 people, along with hundreds of their pictures, were submitted by the Emir on behalf of the Fulani delegation to the Vice-President at a meeting he convened on Monday, 11 December, 2017. Others can lie if they so wish. But our Emirs do not.
If Taraba State Government is disputing the figure, it should, instead of running to the press to cover its complicity, demand for the list submitted to the Vice-President. If it is not afraid, we challenge it to participate in a joint committee comprising of its representatives, members of the Fulani committee that visited the Vice-President and UN and ECOWAS representatives.
The state government is also trying to rope in the Emir of Kano into the enactment of its anti-grazing law. The Emir has been consistent, both in public and private, in stating the obvious that all Fulani believe, i.e., ranching is a good goal that will eventually benefit the Fulani if properly planned and implemented. He reiterated this view in the PUNCH interview last Sunday.
When he discussed with the Governor of Taraba State, he told him to put on hold his intended anti-grazing legislation until the government has worked out a practical framework of implementation. This should be the stand of every reasonable person like Governor Lalong who similarly advised the Benue State Governor beforehand. Governor Darius of Taraba was not intelligent enough to see reason in the advice. But like Ortom’s attempt to rope in the President, the Sultan and the Emir of Katsina, Darius is now attempting to twist the Emir of Kano’s advise into an approval.
Communal Clash? No
I read CAN calling the Mambila genocide as communal clash. This is definitely contrary to what is public knowledge. Over what did the Fulani and Mambila tribe clashed. How did they clash?
What the world witnessed was a massacre of the Fulani families in their homes. They were not marauding herdsmen encroaching on farmlands. Not at all. They were living in their legitimately acquired lands for decades. The type of grazing they practice is what you may term ranching. So how do you describe the one-way, murderous aggression on innocent families belonging to one ethnic group by another as communal clash?
Well, the era of monopoly over the media by a section of our population is over. Thanks to modern means of communication, victims of ethnic cleansing in the country can also be heard. They may not have stupendous treasury money in their control like governors Ortom and Darius Ishaku to feed the hungry wolves of the Nigerian print and electronic media. The conscientious few among the media houses along with the social media are here offering opportunities for the victims to cry out and be heard instantly by the world.
The Fulani may be slow in response because they would like to ascertain all claims before going public. But when they come up with any statement, it is incontrovertible. It can only be denied but not rebutted. Nobody and no calamity is big enough to push them into lying as a people. Their pride both as Muslims and as an ethnic group cannot permit them to indulge in lies.
The Taraba State Government can tell the world how many people were killed and by who. As the chief security officer of the state, the Governor should tell the world how many suspects his government has arrested and taken to court. At least, we can remember that the scale of the killings were described by an eye witness general of the Nigerian army, the GOC of 3rd DIV, as the most horrendous he has ever witnessed among the various war scenes he has seen. Yet, CAN is claiming it to be a total of just 8 people – on both sides! 😳
The Fulani have come up with their discovery, presented it to the Federal Government and will soon make it public. We that presented the list to the Vice-President are challenging the Taraba State Government to go through the list and, if not satisfied, take up the challenge of verifying it jointly with us and representatives of the UN and ECOWAS. We believe we have a pretty good case of genocide to prove. Your Excellency, Governor Darius, please take up the challenge.
Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
17 January 2018
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