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Bandits Overrun Missionary Supported Orphanages In Plateau: Analysis Of The Underlying Factors Behind The Carnage

The Oasis Reporters

August 5, 2021

Evacuating some of the children at the orphanage.

Burnt part of the orphanage.

Pastor’s Home Set On Fire, With Scores Dead

Schools and orphanages where over half a dozen victims of suspected Fulani and Boko Haram Terrorism have been placed, have been attacked and consequently shut down again this year. The children have fled in disarray in the ongoing weeklong rampage.

Many have died, just as it happened in June in an area of Nigeria’s Middle belt crop farming region of Nigeria that has remained endemic in the deadly battle between crop farmers and nomadic herdsmen mainly of the Fulani ethnic group who are desperate to feed their cattle in the green and lush vegetation of the region.

US based rights lawyer, Emmanuel Ogebe writes that the orphanages had to be “shut down again as the government did nothing to guarantee their safety for the second time in as many months.

Sadly even Nigerian child refugees in Cameroon who returned home to Nigeria are among the displaced again by this second wave of Fulani attacks in two months”.

He further reports that four mission orphanages/schools (three American) which he supports “along a 10-mile stretch of road evacuated again after sustained week-long killings by suspected killer Fulani Herdsmen in Jos, Nigeria. They’re literally adjacent to the largest military cantonment in central Nigeria and yet this continues to happen as it has for several years.

Unfortunately despite evacuation, we received the following sad text alerts:

“The attack is about one kilometer to TEM. Our Pastor’s (Victor) rented house was burnt down. They took nothing from the house.
All the children were evacuated yesterday.
I am presently with over 60 children in the town of Jos.”

“The TEM compound has been burnt down. Good thing we evacuated the children & staff on Sunday (about 150 were evacuated).
We need prayers. Lord arise.
Ps 37”

“After days of daily alerts of attacks, we received news this morning that our orphanage in Plateau state was burnt down by suspected Fulani herdsmen overnight. We built several of the structures in that compound over the years. Thankfully the children were evacuated otherwise it would have been a terrible massacre.

It is just a few miles from Rukuba barracks, the largest military cantonment in the region. Yet these orphans have now been rendered homeless again after surviving Boko Haram terrorism and other atrocities over the years”.

“This orphanage has never been evacuated in its 10 years of existence but was evacuated twice this year alone and now finally destroyed”.

Insecurity has been the lot of the region in years, as herdsmen continue the relentless southwards march away from their traditional Sahel belt that is fast being encroached by advancing desertification.

While many commentators say it is a bid to displace the indigenous Middle Belt people who incidentally are largely Christians and animists by the invading Fulani herdsmen who are Muslims, for the benefit of their cattle, other commentators argue otherwise.

The second school of thought believes that it is an internecine conflict over the struggle for scarce land and water resources.

Yet all commentators seem to agree that setting large bodied mammals loose on farmers crops planted with bank facilities would confer poverty on the crop growers induce famine and malnutrition in the region as well as drive insecurity.

” Open grazing is the source of desertification” in the north, one time Katsina State commissioner, Dr. Mukhtar once said after his investigation of the rising budgetary costs on subsidized fertilizer to farmers in his state that stills yields very little output to sustain farmers and their families till the next farming season.

Lack of food sufficiency in the arid north has led to failure of family sustenance, resulting in frequent divorce cases and child-homelessness thereby making the street children a veritable feedstock for recruitment by insurgent groups that make northern Nigeria endemically insecure.

The question analysts struggle to answer is thus centered on how to change the northern Nigeria narrative.

The arid North that herders are fleeing from is very vast. Indeed two-thirds of Nigeria’s land mass. The belief is that rather than herders pressing to the Middle Belt and the South that has less land mass, the government ought to have been proactive enough to trap all waters from flooding that causes devastation in the north into earth dams for irrigation and keep the region green all year round for herders to stay back home and graze their livestock.

Just one local government alone in Bauchi State for instance is larger than a State in Nigeria’s South East. One State in Nigeria’s north (like Niger State) could be as large as the entire South East made up of 5 States that are densely populated.
So why won’t the northern States regrass their region with both underground water and devastating flood waters ?

Report by Emmanuel Ogebe with additional analysis by Greg Abolo.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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