TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE HELD AT NUJ PRESS CENTRE YOLA 7TH DECEMBER,2017 ON ATTACKS OF BWATIYE VILLAGES IN DEMSA,LAMURDE AND NUMAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS IN ADAMAWA STATE BY FULANI GUNMEN , THEIR HIRED MERCENARIES AND THE NIGERIAN AIRFORCE
Gentlemen of the press, with a very deep sense of loss, we hereby present this press conference on behalf of the Bwatiye nation who have repeatedly been the target of coordinated attacks resulting to brutal killings, rape and arson by Fulani gunmen, their hired mercenaries. A new twist is the involvement of the Nigeria Air force that provided air cover and conducted air raids on our people.
It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a program to annihilate or at least subjugate the Bwatiye Nation. This has been confirmed by the skirmishes in Koh, Kodomon, Kwayine and several Bwatiye communities in the past. It is instructive to note that there has never been prosecution in any court of law.
The random killings by herdsmen bearing advance military hardware including AK 47, Sub Machine Guns, Rocket propelled Grenades etc. have been noticed in increasing Number indicative that it involves conspiracy of highly technical people that are perpetrating conflict in the area.
We the Bwatiye people wherever you find us are ever willing to live peacefully with all that come to our domain.
Over the years, we have accepted all and sundry. First the Fable (Fulani), later Hausa’s and much later the Igbos and all other tribes
We have lived happily with all of them until the attempt to usurp our land in Tingno. Since then, there has been relative peace until our sister Evangelist Jinkai was treacherously murdered by a Muslim water hawker that was arrested but till date has never been arraigned nor prosecuted.
Till date, all of the atrocities committed by herdsmen (Gun men) Fulani or non have never been prosecuted nor duly punished.
It would appear it is a case of faceless killers that the police and other security forces cannot fathom.
Increasingly, we the Bwatiye people feel there is a conspiracy to disparage, demoralized and to put us in disarray and seize our land for a Fulani horde imported from foreign land and all in complicity with dubious characters in Nigeria that have vested interested in creating chaos due to political interest and the need for personal aggrandizement.
This we have observed and have coped with it every time these set of evil minded people have tried to portray us bad light.
We are not aggressors, in stead we are a victim of merciless mercenary force employed by sponsors that have openly declared their supremacy.
The countless number of attacks that includes the recent dastardly act of brutal wanton killing by herdsmen that were hired to kill our people in Lawaru, Dong, Kikon, Shaforon, Kodomti Nega, etc. operated in a commando like style like in the Wild West movies. More astonishing is the fact that a military aircraft carried out air raid on Innocent villagers who were returning to their homes after the invasion by rampaging Fulani marauder. Many corpses litter the bush as a result of this negative military intervention.
One is won’t to ask. Is the military fighting alongside the herdsmen to commit pogrom on out people? Who gave the orders? Top ranking military officer have questions to answer to this regard lest we conclude that they are collaborating with the herdsmen.
It is also on record that the Police authorities tried to water down the issue by prevarications on number of death, this as occasioned by distortion facts a half truth.
To this effect, the Chairman of Numan local Government Hon. Arnold Jibila has to discountenance this notion on the national Television.
We want to state categorically that he has been coming under attack for speaking the truth. Any attempt to intimidate him or any threat to his life in whatever form will be resisted.
The Bachame people in Numan are not the only targets but all so-called tribes that the herdsmen who are operating in a terrorist like fashion want to obliterate from the face of the earth.
The Bwatiye race cannot be cowed; neither can we be intimidated nor even subjugated.
No political intimidations or any victimizations and further attacks on our communities will be condoned.
As we urge all Bwatiye people to remain law abiding, we want to state clearly that the like of the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who made inflammatory remarks during the opening of a propaganda hate Radio station of Pulako FM is culpable as well as complicit in aiding these inhumane attack on our people.
It is also imperative that the NBC should monitor and to regulate the Pulako FM which is clearly a tool for the propagation of hate speech and Fulani hegemony.
Top ranking Air force officers who deployed a fighter aircraft that killed Bwatiye people and even burnt houses must answer for it.
Hence any negative attack on our people will be resisted with an entrenched defiance.
1) The primary responsibility of government is the security of its citizens. During the Civilian Administration of President Shah Shagari, our current President Muhammadu Buhari was the GOC 3rd Division of the Nigerian Army. When Chadian soldiers invaded some villages within the Nigerian territory, he unilaterally moved the troops under him to confront them and chase them about 50 kilometers into Chad. This he did without authorization from the President and Head of the Nigerian Armed Forces. However, today the President’s kinsmen have under his watch gone outside the borders of Nigeria to hire mercenaries to decimate Nigerian citizens. The Nigerian State has failed to protect us against these foreign invaders working in cahoots with their Nigerian sponsors. We demand that the FGN sets a machinery in motion to identify these foreign forces and their Nigerian counterparts. They should be prosecuted and punished for their heinous crimes. Only in this way will the Government redeem its image before our people.
2) The FGN should suspend the Sultan of Sokoto, the Emir of Kano and the Lamido of Adamawa for their perfidious role in these wanton and dastardly attacks. They were the handlers of the foreign attack dogs. They used the occasion of the commissioning of the Pulaku Radio to unleash their foreign dogs of war on our people. The statement made by the Emir of Kano on behalf of the Sultan of Sokoto on the invitation of the Lamido of Adamawa was the launching pad for the terror unleashed on our people. These Traditional rulers are not above the Law. The Government should suspend them and investigate the role they played in the invasion of our land by the killer herdsmen.
3) The perennial conflicts between herdsmen and farmers have become a plague on our Nation and its unity. The herdsmen have become arrogant, audacious and full impunity having regard to the apparent license they have from the Government, to kill at will. To stop these clashes we demand the passage of an Anti-Grazing Law in Adamawa State.
4) In the meantime, we hereby declare that until the passage of the Law, herdsmen shall be persona non grata in our Land. They voluntarily removed themselves from our midst before the onslaught by their hired butchers. They should stay away. From now on there is no love lost between us. They should in their own interests keep their distance from our territory.
5) The assurance given to our people by the Government of Adamawa State barely twenty four hours to the strike by the Fulani hordes lulled our people into a State of false security that has proved devastating in lives and properties. We demand from the Government the payment of compensation for our losses in men and properties.
6) We demand the immediate sack of the Adamawa State Commissioner for Information Ahmad Sajoh who aided in propagating falsehood by going on national television to downplay the extent of killing and also encourage the dastardly act committed by the Fulani gunmen. It is important to state that the said Ahmad Sajoh appeared to support the carnage given his negative outburst as the spokes man of the government. He has antecedent of fueling religions bigotry.
7)We condemn in unequivocal terms the threat made by the Brigade Commander of the 23rd Armoured Brigade to deal with the Chairman of Numan LGA for speaking the truth about the paucity of troops on the ground following the rampage of the herdsmen on Monday 5th December 2017.His conduct is wholly unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman. If he had challenges that made it difficult for him to deploy sufficient number of troops to the theater of conflict that was not the fault of the Chairman. We demand his redeployment from his command. In the meantime, please note that any adverse report or security threat to the life of the Chairman of Numan LGA will be squarely placed at his doorstep.
8) We call for a restructuring of the Country with the right of every ethnic nationality to determine its future and the other nationalities they choose to associate with. The Government of President Buhari has demonstrated to us that citizenship means nothing to it when placed on the same balance with ethnicity. The bias and prejudice of the Government in favor of The Fulani leaves us no option but to repudiate any dealings with them.
9) We demand for the establishment of local police to protect us from the perfidy and complicity of Government officials who connive with their foreign kinsmen in their efforts to subdue their fellow citizens. We demand the right to bear arms to defend ourselves from Fulani killer herdsmen. If we had arms like the Mercenary invaders, we would definitely have put an end to their unbridled reign of terror.
In conclusion, we reiterate the fact that for decades we lived in Peace with Fulani herdsmen who were settlers amongst us. They respected our way of life and we accommodated them. The posture of arrogance, aggression and superiority being adopted by them in their dealings with us of late, is unacceptable. They have never been and will never be our lords. They have become a pestilence in the entire Middle Belt and the rest of the Country. We refuse to be made slaves in our land.
10) We demand the introduction of Rotational system in the Chairmanship of the Adamawa State Council of Chiefs among the 1st Class Chiefs. There is no basis for only one Chief who was never the overlord of the others during pre-Colonial or Colonial times to remain the permanent head. Even where the principle of conquest is involved, it should be noted that all lands in the 4 LGAs of Yola North and South, Girei and Fufore are Bwatiye Lands which should on the basis of justice and the right to self determination be restored to our people. If the Palestinian have a right to their lands occupied by war by the original settlers, the Bwatiye people have a greater right to their traditional lands in these 4 LGAs. As the Founder of the Caliphate Shehu Usman Dan Fodio put it correctly
We will resist with every might all attempts by foreign mercenaries and their local collaborators in Government to place a yoke of servitude over us. Never again. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Long live Numan Federation. Long live the Bwatiye nationality!
“A kingdom can endure
With unbelief, but it can
Not endure with injustice.”
Pune Da Bwatiye
Bachama and Batta Community