Mambilla Crisis: Curbing Future Carnage


Certainly, the chilling carnage of June 17, 2017, following crisis on the Mambilla Plateau attracted global attention that elicited prompt intervention from both the Taraba State and Federal Governments. However, the credit for the swift cessation of hostilities must go to the governor of Taraba State, Architect Darius Ishaku, who deployed both human and material resources as well as worked relentlessly for peace and harmony to return to the area. Despite the massive disinformation and propaganda used by opposition elements and agents of destabilization, peace and harmony have returned to Mambilla Plateau due to the prompt action of the government.
The combatants deployed devious means to eliminate each other as guns and other dangerous weapons were freely used. From precolonial history until the unfortunate incidence, it was clear that what happened during the crisis had no precedence in the Mambilla Plateau. Now that hostilities have ceased and frayed nerves are calming down through the wisdom and doggedness of Governor Ishaku, there is the urgent need to take action to retrieve the sophisticated weapons used in the short-lived mini-war. If the recent crisis on the Mambilla Plateau exposed anything, it is the massive circulation of dangerous weapons. Now is the right time to curtail the massive acquisition of such weapons and retrieve those illegally possessed by unauthorised persons.
Thorough investigations conducted both on the Mambilla Plateau and Jalingo as well as available documentary evidence, have shown that despite the unfortunate loss of precious lives and properties, the crisis was blown out of proportion, especially when the battle shifted from the battlefields to the media, both social and traditional.
Prominent Taraba state citizens that were expected to look at the crisis dispassionately and proffer lasting solutions to the imbroglio were the ones fanning the embers of hatred and challenging the genuine peace efforts of the Taraba State Government. For instance, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Alhassan, blamed the Taraba State Government for not taking appropriate measures to stem the Mambilla crisis and also accused Governor Ishaku for not opening up on the crisis. The State Government responded appropriately through a press statement that clarified the issues at stake as it expressed disappointment over the “reckless utterances” of the Minister as well as dismayed by her lack of sympathy and soothing words for the losses suffered by the people and victims of the crisis as she is always in a hurry to condemn the efforts of government to end the crises and provide care for the victims.
Similarly, some sections of the Press referred to the recent Mambilla Plateau crisis as ‘genocide or ethnic cleansing’. Happily, the state government rose to the occasion and refuted the allegations; clarified issues and denounced the callous attempt by unpatriotic elements to tag the Mambilla crisis as genocide.
The fake media, President Donald Trump bitterly complains of in the United States seem to have been deployed to deceive and mislead Nigerians and the international community over the recent Mambilla crisis. For instance, the casualty figure of 18 deaths recorded by the Police that quelled the clashes were disregarded and replaced by “genocide and ethnic cleansing,” whereas the unfortunate losses were incurred by three ethnic groups. Who then perpetrated genocide and who suffered it?
The same disinformation and propaganda were deployed when the figures of 400 settlements and 4, 000 cows were reported to have been lost by herdsmen on the Mambilla Plateau. On the entire Mambilla Plateau, registered and genuine settlement figures do not exceed 300. So, where did the figure of 400 come from?
Similarly, if 4,000 cows were carted away from the herdsmen on the Mambilla Plateau, the owners should know where their stolen cows were taken to, since they know the footpaths and tracks used for herding on the Mambilla Plateau. Besides if truly 4,000 cows were carted away, over one hundred trucks would be required to convey them. With numerous security check points from the Mambilla Plateau to Serti in Gashaka Local Government Area, or Bali, in Bali Local Government Area, reports must have been gotten on the stolen cows. Yet, the media is still awash with news of 4,000 stolen cows during the crisis.
The measures designed by Governor Ishaku for peaceful coexistence on the Mambilla Plateau are paying dividends. On Saturday, June 23, 2017, he held a consultative meeting in Jalingo, the State Capital, with representatives of all communities on the Mambilla Plateau where far-reaching decisions were taken on the best ways to achieve permanent peace in the area. The decisions included the setting up of two committees – a 14-member committee of elders from Mambilla, a Truth and Reconciliation Committee and a Judicial Commission of Enquiry headed by Justice Nuhu Adi.
With the cessation of hostilities and the setting up of two committees and a Judicial Commission of Enquiry by the Taraba State Government, there is urgent need for all stakeholders to cooperate and give evidence in order to curb future occurrence of the disturbance experienced so as to provide lasting peace on the Mambilla Plateau.


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