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Plateau attacks: Government has abandoned us – Shonong community cries out

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A socio-cultural group, under the aegis of Shonong Development Association (SDA) in Plateau State, has decried what it described as government negligence to the plight of displaced persons from Shonong, in Riyom LGA of the state.

The group also lamented government’s inability to return and resettle the displaced persons back to their ancestral homes.

Shonong was among the communities attacked between 23rd and 24th June, 2018, dozens were killed and displaced from the community, who were among over 200 persons killed in the attacks in Riyom and Barkin Ladi LGA.

The group raised their concern through its President, Davou Jambol, while speaking at the funeral the paramount ruler of the community, (the Gwom Shonong), Da Timothy Kavei Dalyop, held in Shonong, Riyom LGA of the State.

“We are worried over government’s inability to create an environment conducive for our people in Shonong to return and rebuild their ruined ancestral homes and also continue their livelihood.

Jambol recalled that the community has been attacked severally, dating back from 2012, adding that the people were rebuilding their homes until the worse attack in June last year, where over 3, 000 people and hundreds of houses and farmlands were destroyed.

According to him, “After last year’s attack, both Federal and State Governments promised to rebuild and return our people to their ancestral homes, but nothing has been done or heard from the government, despite frantic efforts by the community leaders especially the late traditional ruler for the government to provide security for the people to return.”

He also stated that the community has donated land for government to build a Police station for the security of the people, “sadly, government has not indicated any physical readiness to safeguard the lives of the people if they return”.

“We are not even begging the government to rebuild our houses, since they have failed in their promise. What we are asking of is for them to ensure our security and we would come back and build our destroyed homes”, he stressed.

“We are also appealing that steps be taken to broker a peace agreement between the neighboring communities. That the road from Tahoss which terminates in Shonong be completed, as it will further increase the sense of security and a project that will have a positive multiplier effect on the communities along its way.

Corroborating the position of the SDA President, former Surveyor General of Plateau State who is a native of the community, Surveyor Martins Gang, said historically the community is the first settlement of the Berom natives on the Plateau before they dispatched to other communities.

Gang said the peace loving farmers who showed hospitality to their Fulani visitors when they came, have now become vulnerable to attacks by their visitors.

The former Surveyor General appealed to government at all levels to accord priority to the security of their citizens and match words with action and do the needful to fulfil their promise of returning the displaced people to their various communities and guarantee their security.

Also speaking, the President of Berom Women Development Association (BEWDA), Ngo Florence Jambol, noted that the attacks on the Plateau has exposed some of the women who were mostly farmers into vices that are hitherto unknown to them to fend for the needs of their children.

She appealed to government to act urgently as the vulnerable women and children have now become soft target for traffickers.

Responding to the cries of the people of Shonong Community, Transition Committee Chairman of Riyom LGA, Mr Mafeng Gwalson explained that the situation of the attacked communities is pathetic and that government is concern about their plight, noting that the government is in talks with the people that matter to ensure the return of the displaced people to their ancestral homes.

Gwalson appealed to the people of Shonong to be patient as there is a long-term plan, not only for their return but also to curtail reoccurrence of the ugly situation as he prayed God never to hear gun sounds in any part of the community, LGA and the state at large.

Shonong community, like many other attacked communities on the Plateau is in ruins, as the natives have been displaced and can only return home to bury their loved ones under tight security cover and go back to either IDP camps or to their relations in Jos.

It was also observed that the attackers vandalized, not only the natives houses and Churches, but also government facilities like clinics and schools among others.

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