Recent revelations suggest that the ongoing violence in Plateau State has its roots in land grabbing, with indigenous communities witnessing forceful occupation and renaming of their lands. Despite persistent appeals by leaders and socio-cultural groups, the Federal Government’s intervention has remained elusive.
Former Governor Jonah Jang, Senator Istifanus Gyang, and Berom Socio-cultural groups have consistently highlighted the issue, pointing to communities such as Rotchun, Dankum, Hywa, and others that have faced attacks and forced renaming since 2001. The displaced natives are unable to return home, having integrated into safer communities.
Tragically, the situation has spread to the Central part of Plateau, with Mangu and Bokkos being severely affected. Between April and July 2023, Mangu witnessed over 200 killings, leading to the displacement of numerous communities. Similar attacks occurred in Bokkos last December, resulting in more than 200 casualties. Survivors have reported strangers occupying their homes, harvesting crops, and engaging in artisanal mining.
Amid accusations that the Fulani enclave Mahanga is a hub for planning and launching attacks, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) denies allegations of land grabbing. Former Governor Jang insists on the urgent need for state police to address the escalating crisis.
Senator Diket Plang underscores the reality of forceful occupation in attacked communities, calling for a nationalistic approach to the Plateau issue. He emphasizes the need for humanitarian assistance, including building materials for rebuilding destroyed homes, altered grazing policies, and adopting technology in agriculture.
In response, the State MACBAN Chairman, Nura Muhammad, dismisses the land grabbing claims, urging peaceful coexistence. Operation Safe Haven, responsible for maintaining peace in the state, remains silent on Mahanga’s allegations. The situation raises concerns about the urgency of addressing the underlying land disputes to prevent further bloodshed in Plateau State.