Below is a statement by the Irigwe Develoment Association (IDA) on the killings of over 20 commuters on Saturday, August 14, 2021, along Rukuba Road, Jos, Plateau state.
THE RUKUBA ROAD MASSACRE OF 22 TRAVELLERS: LET THE TRUTH BE TOLD.
For days after the Rukuba Road Massacre of the 22 Fulani travelers, so much rumours, untruths and lies have been peddled by many people and organizations to vilify the Irigwe Nation of having a deadly militia that attacked the travelers. If we truly have an “Irigwe Militia” would they have remained aloof and docile while our people (for more than two years) have been killed in their hundreds and our crops and farmlands desecrated and our villages burnt to ashes by sustained attacks from Fulani Marauders and jihadists?
Let the truth be told! The Irigwe Nation was NO WHERE NEAR RUKUBA ROAD, JOS, on Saturday 14th August, 2021, the day those unlucky travelers met with their gruesome and unfortunate death.
The Irigwe nation has earlier scheduled that black Saturday to do a mass burial of 6 out of the 70 people, killed some days earlier by the Fulani Militia. On that day, we converged on Plateau Hospital to pick the corpses for Miango for burial. Among us where the old, young, widows and orphans of the genocidal death being visited on us a people. When the corpses were picked, the Irigwe people in their thousands, headed towards Rukuba Road, enroute Miango. But at the Jos Satellite Market, the funeral procession was stopped by a combined team of Police and Soldiers who told us to turn back as Rukuba Road was not safe for us to pass through. The security forces told the people that something ugly had happened at Rukuba Road thus they (the Irigwe Funeral Procession) should turn and find alternative route for Miango. Unknown to the Irigwe Nation, the 22 travelers have already been killed.
As obedient people, the Irigwe Funeral Procession headed towards Anglo-Jos – DadinKowa – Bukuru – Anguldi – Kuru – Karl Kumm University – Vom – Kwall and then arrived Miango. The Mourners and the Funeral Procession DID NOT PASS THROUGH Rukuba Road and had NO CONTACT WHATSOEVER with those travelers who were unfortunately killed at Rukuba Road.
It is instructive to say at this point that the narrative sold to the world by the Plateau State Police Command through its spokesman, ASP Ubah Gabriel Ogaba, that “the killings on Rukuba Road were carried out by Irigwe Youths and their mourners”, was false, evil, and malicious with the intention of giving the Irigwe Nation a bad name. Let it be said to all that the Irigwe Nation wrote a letter to the Plateau State Police Command to intimate of the Mass burial to take place on Saturday. Let the world also know that the Plateau State Police Command did not only escort the Irigwe Youths and Mourners from Jos to Vom and eventually to Mango, but Police patrol vehicles preceded the Youths and the mourners for security purposes. Where then did Plateau Police Command get their false version that the 22 people killed at Rukuba Road died in the hands of mourners and Irigwe youth or militia?
The statement by the Plateau State Police Command further destroyed the peace of Plateau and fueled the attendant reprisals that was visited on the city. That statement, if sanctioned by the Police Commissioner of Plateau State, lacked tack, finesse and diplomacy and it further exacerbated the sad and unfortunate event. Without thorough investigations, it was wrong for the Police to draw such conclusions in a cosmopolitan city like Jos.
Even the Nigeria Standard Newspapers in its editorial of Wednesday, 18th August 2021 said inter-alia:
“As a law enforcement agency, the Police owe it a duty and responsibility to ensure that public interest is paramount in whatever it does. That, to our mind does not include inflaming passion and putting an already fragile situation in the balance. One faulty statement is all that it would take for conflict merchants and entrepreneurs to latch onto and cause chaos and confusion. Sadly, the Police statement provided the cannon fodder with which the fire of hatred was stocked. Our expectation is that the police, must and, should do everything within its power to stir the society from the path of destruction.” Could it be that the Plateau State Police Command knew that it has goofed that the Commissioner Mr Edward Egbuka countered his PPRO by saying that those behind the attack on commuters in Jos on Aug. 14 were miscreants and hoodlums who wanted to take advantage of the security situation in the state “to cause trouble and loot”?
The change of narrative by the commission of police was to clear the air that the Irigwe Youth militia or mourners did not attack anyone that Saturday is not enough damage control to the collateral damage to the good name of the tribe, unless the same spokesman of Plateau State Police command will use the same medium to debunk the picture he painted of Irigwe tribe.
For more than a decade the Irigwe people have been under attack from Fulani Militia, always referred to unknown gunmen, that resulted in loss of lives, properties and farmland.
The last two weeks, especially from Sunday 23rd July to Monday 2nd August 2021 have been the worst nightmare of the entire Rigwe land. After invading more than 13 villages, the militia burnt and destroyed not less than 505 houses and churches inclusive, displaced about 24,000 people and destroyed thousands of hectares of farm crops.
What is so intriguing to many observers for a long time now is that the villages, where these killings and burnings took place, are basically located behind the 3rd Armored Division Barrack of the Nigerian Army, yet these militias perpetrate their heinous act unhindered. This in the least, is fastly eroding the confidence of the populace on the military and security agencies, as unbiased protectors and defender of all Nigerians, regardless of tribal, ethnic or religious affiliation.
It is sad and painful that while the Plateau State Government and the Law enforcement agencies were so swift to action to visit the injured travellers in the hospital with VIP treatment, the Irigwe people are yet to enjoy such comfort commiserate to them, as what is good for the goose is also good for the gander; while the President could not eat (according to Garba Shehu) because of the 22 Muslims travelers killed at Rukuba Road, he never lose a sleep over the sustained attacks and deaths on Irigwe land; while arrests of suspects in the Rukuba Road massacre is daily happening, nobody has been arrested for the killing of Irigwe people over the years, especially, most recently.
We are like a people meant for the slaughter slabs. We have no father or mother except God. He rule and have a say in the affairs of men. The blood of the innocent shed in Irigwe land has taken the report to God, just like Abel’s blood did on Cain, and He would arise with judgment upon our foes.
The Irigwe nation does not believe in violence because it does permanent damage. Mahatma Gandhi said, “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”
Once again, the Irigwe Mourners and Youths were not at Rukuba Road on Saturday 14 August 2021. May the souls of those killed Muslim worshippers find peace with God. And may God comfort their loves ones. And may God hasten the judgment of their killers.
Prince Robert Rigye Ashi Dodo.
Hon. Danjuma Dickson Auta National Secretary General (IDA).