Fleeing bandits from Zamfara, others allegedly troop to Government forest reserve in Plateau

4 min read

The Pan Youth Association (PYA) has raised alarm over the mass movement of Fulani herdsmen into the Pandang Wild Life Park owned by the Plateau State Government.

The travelers moving on over 40 buses overnight without cattle, women or children are believed to be bandits fleeing from Zamfara, Nassarawa and other northwestern states.

A press statement issued by Mr. Dama Yonmi, National President, Pan Youth Association on Friday demands immediate action to avert security breakdown.

The full text of the statement reads:

Our attention is drawn to a media interview granted by the Council Chairman of Quaan Pan LGC Hon. Abdulmalik Yusuf Haruna to Daily Asset newspaper and published dated 22nd March, 2021 on the presence of foreign Fulani men presently occupying the Pandam wild life park illegally.

It is on record that from the North, South to the Eastern part of Nigeria, the peculiar security challenges has been Fulani herdsmen illegally occupying reserve areas and not only that, but using such forest as launch pad for series of unusual crimes such as banditry, kidnapping, rape and all sort of terrorist activities connected there to. 

A very terrible version of such crimes against humanity has since been connected to Pandam wild life park in Quaan Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State and our Government at all levels seems to be handling that with kids gloves.

One may be tempted to ask why a massive midnight movement of Fulani without Cattles, Women nor Children suspected to be dispersed bandits from Zamfara and parts of Nasarawa State can be noticed and confirmed by the Government who is constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties and yet, no practical steps have been taken to addressa the prevailing security threats. With the seemingly overwhelming sympathy enjoyed by these suspected bandits from Quaan Pan LGC Chairman Hon. Abdulmalik Haruna, we make bold to say our lives are not in a safe hand.

An extract from the media chart with Hon. Abdulmalik on Daily Asset prompted our quest for answers to these questions;

1. You said “normally when people were been pursued from somewhere they have to seek for safe haven” Can you call a mass movement of Fulani men suspected to bandits coming from Zamfara and other places only at night in not less than 48 buses to our forest without the consent of the government “normal”?.

2. Do you know why they were been pursued?

3. Has Pandam wild life park been reserved as “safe haven” for people pursued from elsewhere?

4. Do you know them?

5. Who is their link to Quaan Pan?

6. You said you sent surveillance team and they have since alerted government, then how comes the State Command of the Nigeria Police Force is not aware? Or you mean the Quaan Pan Police Divisional Headquarters is not part of your surveillance team or are they not in synergy with the State Command?

7. How many surveillance teams will you send to Pandam wild life park before you take action?

8. You defensively insisted that they are just few, how many of them were you expecting? or are you not aware of the series of organized crimes documented by the State Security Service in connection with their presence within three (3) months of arrival into the forest? 

These and many more have further increased our tension on the security of our lives and properties and has therefore created an impression that your administration is ineffectively capable of handling the escalating security challenges bedeviling our people who are predominantly farmers. We are very worried especially now that the farming season is fast approaching, if the current state of insecurity is not addressed immediately, it may negatively affect the mass production of agricultural produce we are known for.

Edgar Ramirez said, “For me, no ideological or political conviction would justify the sacrifice of human life. For me, the value of life is absolute, with no concessions. It’s not negotiable”.

While we appreciate the magnanimity of the President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari and that of the Governor Rt. Hon. Bar. Simon Bako Lalong for making efforts to ensure the Federal Government takes over the management of Pandam wild life park, we wish to implore the Government to;

i. Ensure that the park is recovered and it’s original use purpose, which is ‘wild life’ conservation is fully restored.

ii. Investigate the mass influx of Fulani men suspected to be run away bandits into the wild life park.

iii. Immediately summoned Fulani Leaders within the Local Government and make inquiries about those occupying the wild life park illegally and take appropriate measures.

iv. Mobilize security agencies to flush out and arrest the suspects for interrogation and protect lives and properties of people in various communities around the wild life park.

Our plea is not much, we believe that the government will listen to us and act fast. 

Ronald Reagan said, “Government exists to protect us from each other”.

Thank you all and remain bless!

*Com. Dama Yonmi*

National President 

Pan Youth Association.

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