By The Evangelist News edition, Tuesday, January 2, 2023. Admin.
Chima Christian, Executive Director of Africa’s Morning Centre for Public Policy & Good Governance, has disclosed that houses abandoned by victims fleeing terrorist attacks in North Central Nigeria are been occupied by their assailants.
Chima Christian, who made this known during a programme on Arise News, lamented that the terrorists are taking over all the strategic places and settling there, while the people they attack cannot move back to their communities.
He asserted that the terrorists sometimes attack with weapons that are superior to what the Nigerian Army has. He said that the assailants were not regular pastoralists, adding they were full-fledged terrorists.
He said, “You need to ask yourself what happens to these communities after they have been attacked. Usually, a particular community is attacked like three or four times over a one-year period and the people in that community feel so unsafe that they move to the neighbouring community or an IDP camp. You would expect that those communities will remain empty. No, they won’t; people come in and settle there.
“As I am speaking with you, go to Liev council ward in Kwande local government area of Benue State. They have almost 38 communities in Mango local government alone that have been repossessed by people.
“Plateau, for instance, used to be a mining site when Nigeria was big on mining, these people are taking over all of these strategic places. They are taking over bodies of water and they settle there and so it is not as if they attack and people can move back to their communities.
“When people try to move back to their communities, the attacks resume and they run away. So, some other people are living in their houses now. If you go a bit further to see the modality in the upcoming census, NPC (National Population Commission) is not going to count those demolished houses. NPC instead is going to be counting those new settlements close to the demolished houses….
“Let me take you back to Boko Haram; nobody goes to a community attacked by Boko Haram to tell them to live peaceably with their neighbours because they know they are dealing with terrorists, because they have been officially gazetted and the Nigerian military knows what they are dealing with and now when you see them as two fighting it becomes an issue of trying to separate the two guys that are fighting.
“No two guys fighting here, one person has an agenda, ideological agenda, political agenda, religious agenda and they are pursuing it. If you ask the communities what they hear when they come, they start with a religious chant before they attack.
“And in many of the cases when they have time to attack sometimes, they cordon off the security and start slaughtering with knives and why are they not killing with the weapons they have? Why are they slaughtering with knives? So, there are a lot of issues that you see on display.