IRIGWE GENOCIDE: The Slaughter of a People

IRIGWE GENOCIDE: The Slaughter of a People

Irigwe-land is under attack. The past few years have seen an increase in, and more coordinated, attacks by the Fulani militants that have slaughtered her people.

The Irigwe people group has resided in Nigeria for centuries. They are predominantly Christian adherents and were the origin of Christian missions in the Middle-Belt and North since Roland Bingham arrived in the late 1800s.

They are believed to be a small people group with a population between 100,000. Primarily residing in Bassa Local Government of Plateau State, which is in the perilous middle-belt region of Nigeria.

Recently, coordinated attacks that lasted two weeks (Mar 30th to Apr 14th) led to nearly 30 deaths when Fulani militants attacked four villages. There were reports that local residents received a warning of an imminent attack and notified authorities, but it went unheeded. Then, within hours, women and children, and dozens of homes were razed. They exerted destruction to over 75 homes, 2 churches (along with a Pastor), and displaced hundreds.1

Prior to that, there was a systematic attack on eighteen villages in Irigweland that lasted five weeks (Sep 7th to Oct 17th 2017). An estimated 80 people lost their lives, over 200 farms were devastated and nearly 1,000 homes destroyed.2 It was during that same period, when 29 people were lured into a vacant school by security forces only to be abandoned and slaughtered when Fulani militants arrived.3

Locals say the Army troops are not effective and the Police are ill-equipped to respond. It is rather disturbing to know that the distance from the Army Barracks (3rd Div) to these Irigwe villages is not more than 35-40 km. Albeit majority are on dirt roads, but locals insist that the longest it should take is an hour.

Now, State and Federal programs are trying to alleviate the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, Irigwe people in Plateau State continue to be slaughtered. Since 2017, over 330 people have been killed, over 4,000 homes razed and 2,600 farms destroyed.

Local, State and Federal government response has been shameful and the military continues to be negligent in their handling of the situation. This genocide must be stopped.


Footnotes

1 https://thewestsidegazette.com/the-government-is-silent-muslim-tribesmen-kill-christian-pastor-and-burn-down-school-in-nigerian-village/ 

2 Rural Youth Integral Support Initiative, from report titled “Irigweland Genocide Humanitarian Response Team”

3 https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/10/uniform-men-lured-us-killed-herdsmen-plateau-attack-survivor/