Plateau Anaguta Crying For Justice


Eight months after its inauguration, the Governor Lalong administration has scored both plus and minus in different spheres and for different people. However, latest events on the Plateau have seen the Anaguta people of Jos North crying in the open about a possible anti-Anaguta agenda deployed by the administration to incapacitate the tribe and obliterate its cultural identity. Chamberlain Odey, who has been monitoring the issues at play, reports

Drums and dance beats of the electoral victory of Barrister Simon Bako Lalong as the Governor of Plateau State may have faded substantially, giving way to sobriety, raison d’être and dissent, as the governor goes about managing the affairs of the state, making appointments and postings to different public offices. Recent appointment of local government caretaker committees’ members; last month’s appointment of commissioners; and certain public utterances of the Governor appear to have made his body language complete and a necessary read for most political stakeholders in the state. A case in point came to the fore recently when the Anaguta people of Jos North, a tribe also traditionally referred to as Naraguta, mobilised men and women, sons and daughters to cry and openly voice their community’s hurt and complaints against what they perceive is a well-conceived, articulated, and orchestrated scheme by the Lalong administration to decimate the politico-cultural standing of the Anaguta, thereby bringing their values and treasured patrimony to naught. Describing the tribe as “the Aborigines of Jos”, the Anaguta, at a press briefing hosted by its youth wing, Anaguta Youth Movement (AYM) last week, recalled how past administrations in the state established a tradition of recognition and respect for this historical antecedent. The group said, “It is obvious that all previous administrations in Plateau State have recognized the Anaguta or Naraguta people in terms of political appointment, especially as regards membership of the Plateau State Executive Council”. It delightfully called to mind that “even military administrations, which were characterized by dictatorship and tyranny, accorded the Anaguta people ample opportunities to serve at the higher levels of government”. Regrettably, it said, “the present administration of Right Honourable Simon B. Lalong has deliberately and craftily failed, refused, neglected and ignored this age-long practice, right and proper precedent and solid foundation laid by previous administrations in the state in recognizing and honouring the Anaguta people”. According to them, in the recently constituted State Executive Council, it is public knowledge that no members is from the Naraguta ethnic stock. And the AYM said what is “more amazing and worrisome is the fact that even in the appointment of members of the transition committee into the Jos North Local Government Council, an Anaguta man was only appointed a mere supervisory Councillor”, which to them is not only humiliating but also a “surprising suppression” of a peace loving and very productive people. Reminding Governor Lalong of the people’s non-negotiable electoral value, with a critical decider effect in the huge votes of Jos North in the state gubernatorial election, the group recalled dutifully their active participation in the struggle to enthrone him as the State Chief Executive on the Plateau. “Many of our people suffered tremendously for the sake of this present administration. Many were molested, assaulted, injured, harassed, rejected, and abused during the political activities which led to the emergence of this administration”, they said. The group also cited a historic and epochal 17, 000 votes polled by Lalong and his APC in the Naraguta B Ward that actually confirmed a clear lead and sealed victory for him in the April 2015 gubernatorial election. Thus, in their reckoning, the Lalong administration has so far failed to conform to the principles of democracy and social justice for their people. Worse still, the AYM said they find it curious that the APC-led government has chosen not to avail itself of the wisdom and wise counsel of past commissions and administrative panels that have always advised that appointments into public offices should be preceded by wide consultations among stakeholders. Against the backdrop of this apparent marginalization, the Anaguta Youth Movement warned against the serious implications, especially given allegations of official threat to their land, values, and vast cultural heritage, insisting that, “it is not in the interest of peaceful co-existence not only in Jos North Local Government Area, but Plateau State and Nigeria in general for any reasonable government to neglect and suppress the Anaguta people in terms of political appointments and malicious plans to take over our land and traditional institution with the aim of giving same to non-indigenes.” In their view, the Anaguta people have not been fairly treated by the government and “No community, regardless of its size, will remain silent when such evil is perpetrated against it,” the AYM warned.

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