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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Attakar Fulani Crisis: The Plight Of Attakar And The Falsehood In The Account Of The Crisis As Stated By Aten Development Association – By Titus Bako Along Esq.



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A True Account By Attarkar Development Association Of Plateau State

It is not a tale that the whirlwind of violent attacks by the Fulani marauders and terrorists on the peaceful communities on the plateau and neighboring states spun to Attakar but the reality of it was depicted in the inestimable number of lives and property lost in what can best be described as an organized massacre of the Attakar people. It was a moment of great loss that Attakar will always remember.

While the death toll as reported by LEADERSHIP WEEKEND of Saturday, 6th April, 2013 continues to rise, no fewer than 100 people have lost their lives and many houses burnt down with property destroyed. Over 10, 000 Internally Displaced Person (IDPs) now seek refuge with kinsmen in neighbouring Kaduna state. The immediate concern of the Attakar community in Riyom Plateau State and elsewhere is how to rehabilitate and resettle the internally displaced persons so that their lives can return back to normalcy especially in this farming season.

While we mourn our dead ones and count our loses, our sedate state of mind was provoked by the puerile, irresponsible, insensitive and meddlesome account of the crisis given by the Aten Development Association (ADA) through its President, Chom Bagu at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (Jos Chapter) on the 2nd April, 2013. The prelude to the press conference was an interview granted to the Nigerian Vanguard Newspaper by the President of ADA which aim was to beguile, consciously Judge and maligned the good reputation of Attakar people.

ADA in an ecstasy of celebrating the victory of a war not fought by the Aten but ‘for them’ by beneficiary of the press conference and in a bid to free itself and people from paranoid and self-conscious, hastily called for a press conference where it dished out false and perverted account of the crisis.

Initially we thought the president was waywardly reflexed in the way he interacted with the press considering the fact that both local and international media had rightly reported the crisis and the fact that no Aten lost his/her life or property in the crisis, we expected the Aten elders to as a matter of moral responsibility, sanction the president or condemned the text of the press conference but the quietness not only shows a general agreement and consensus but a conspiracy of silence by the entire Aten to deceive the public.

Being the first time that the Fulani would clash with the Attakar ordinarily, the Fulani would have addressed the press thereafter but because they found sufficient representation in the expression of the text of the Aten Development Association none has been made.

We are compelled to react to the text of the press conference of ADA not because we want to change the wont and proclivity of Aten to always deceive and lie to the public each time an issue involving Attakar is on but because nature has placed upon us the burden of telling the world the truth about the unfortunate crisis.

When ADA lost the bid to gag the media to give a warped account of the crisis it accused the media of red- herring, it made a blanket allegation against the media of interviewing the politicians and not His Royal Highness, the Atar Aten of Ganawuri, the President of ADA or persons from Ganawuri to know the true situation in Attakar, even though politicians and religious leaders who were neither Attakar, Aten or Fulanis left their comfort zones and displayed unnatural leadership prowess by visiting the scene of the crisis to see for themselves And, Even though journalists despite the risk sacrificed their lives to cover the crisis in Attakar, it is heartless for a people who could not released themselves from the stronghold of acute phobia for Attakar to now blame the politicians or press for telling the world the atrocities that took place in Attakar. Even as we react to the text of the press conference by ADA, there is no evidence that HRH, the Atar Aten, the President of ADA or any group of Aten had sympathized with or visited Attakar.

We concede to the fact that the violence has been extensively reported by the media but deny the incitement and mischievous assertion by ADA against the press that “there have been distortions that could set the stage for more violence in the future”. If there was any distortion of the report of the Attakar/Fulani crisis, it was in the version of ADA. The account of the crisis by ADA stands different and strange as it was not supported by any of the copious unbiased media reports on the crisis. All the papers especially, the WEEKLY TRUST of Saturday March 23rd 2013 corroboratedly reported the Chairman of Kaura Local Government Council, Kaduna State Hon. Kumai Badu As saying “contrary to the report no Fulani herdsmen was killed neither their cattle are missing. We did not receive such report. Report suggesting that Fulani were killed and their cows burnt are not only misleading but also mischievous…….He explained that the disturbance in Attakar chiefdom of the council was as a result of the killing of two Attakar men”. The unity in the various reports by the press erodes the claim by ADA that it was the people of Attakar that started the crisis.

ADA was in its lucid state of mind when it stated that “ this violence did not start in Ganawuri, but in Fadan Atakar, Kaduna between the Atakar and Fulani. However, Tuesday night, March 19, 2013, some Fulani and their herds were stopped by the Atakar of Ganawuri” but lept into senility when it withheld from the public the reason why the Attakar stopped the Fulani herdsmen. It is contrariwise to assert that the Attakar in Plateau started the crisis that had already claimed the lives of two Attakar, Stephen Aboi in Kaduna State and Markus Abba Afon in Zadiyen one of the Attakar villages in Plateau before the Attakar reacted in self defense. While the Fulani saw an attacked the Attakar as one indivisible enemy in Kaduna and Plateau States the Ganawuri see the Attakar as divisible entity. Therefore, even after over 40 Attakars were killed in Kaduna State, ADA still maintained that the crises started in Attakar Ward of Plateau State when it said “Ganawuri has prided itself as one of the models of peaceful coexistence on the Plateau. Unfortunately the violence has started on March 19th in Atakar ward rudely shattered this 12year record”.

With this distortions and falsehood, it is obvious that ADA intends to incite another violence. So, we were not surprised when the press reported that the Fulanis who attacked Tagang an Attakar village in Kaduna less than 6 weeks after the March 23rd attack launched their attacks from the Ganawuri axis. Even though the Atens profess none alignment and neutrality, they pervasion of the account of the crisis shows how prejudiced the inner-mind of the Aten is towards the Attakar.

ADA served as a mouth piece for the Fulani not just because it benefited from the crisis but also because over the years there has been accumulated malice against Attakar over issues that ADA may not want to engage the Attakar openly. One of these issues was the claim to ownership of the whole land of Attakar which was stealthily raised but coded in the text.

It is obvious that subterfuge and craftiness have failed to grant to Aten ownership of the land that history and records proved belong to Attakar.

It is a high display of ignorance to hear the Aten still make claim of ownership to a land which ceased to be part of Plateau Province (Plateau State) and became part of the Zaria Province (Kaduna State) since 1936 as gazetted by the Nigeria Gazette No. 61, vol. 23 of 11th August and modified by the Northern Regional Public Notice 303 of 1957 and at the same time still admit not being one of the tribes of the former Zaria Province. If records shows that Jema’a Federation once existed with its land, people and boundary And, that the Aten was not part of the Jema’a Federation, how comes today that the Aten is making claim of ownership of a land outside its boundary but within the boundary of the Jema’a Federation and latter Zaria Province (Kaduna State)?

Nobody knew the roles played by the HRH, the Atar Aten and the Atens in the crisis until ADA in its text revealed that while the crisis persist “the Atar Aten once again visited the Police Commissioner and took with him the Ardo Fulani Chief” and the next day the crisis became intensed that the Fulani sacked the Attakar from their settlement.

One thing that remains for ADA after telling us that HRH the Atar Aten met with the Ardo is to answer the following questions: Why HRH Atar Aten met with the Ardo of the Fulani, one of the factional leaders without the representative of Attakar? What the two leaders discussed before meeting the Commissioner of Police? What the duo told the Commissioner of Police about the Attakar? And why the crisis became intensed after the two leaders met. If the above questions were to be premiss, then it is logical for any right thinking public to arrive at the conclusion ‘that the Aten allied themselves with the Fulani and were the ones pointing out the houses of the Attakar to the Fulani.

This conclusion will be because HRH the Atar Aten acted suspiciously and his actions left more to be desired.

Titus Bako Along Esq.


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