In response to the devastating humanitarian crisis in Plateau State, the Gideon, and Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, in collaboration with the Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment in Nigeria Society (CWEENS), embarked on a compassionate visit to the conflict-ridden Mangu local government area as part of their “Touching Life For Peace” initiative to provide much-needed relief materials and advocate for peace in the region.
The Foundation’s CEO, Reverend Dr. Gideon Para-Mallam, led the delegation, which brought essential aid to the IDP Camp in the Mangu local government area consisting of 100 mattresses, bags of beans, rice and corn, gallons of cooking oil among others on Saturday 22nd July 2023.
Upon arrival, Rev. Dr. Gideon Para-Mallam expressed deep concern for the people of Mangu, acknowledging the catastrophic and disturbing nature of the humanitarian disaster that has befallen them.
Speaking passionately, Rev. Dr. Gideon called for an end to the impunity of attackers and emphasized that the senseless killings of innocent Nigerians must stop. He urged the IDPs to shun violence and retaliation, assuring them that their pleas would be heard and addressed by the government.
“The humanitarian disaster that has befallen the people of Mangu has been catastrophic and disturbing. The government needs to stop the impunity of the attackers walking away into thin air. So, it is time to say enough is enough to the plateau killings of innocent Nigerians under whatever guise.”
Drawing parallels with the successful management of the Farmer-Herders conflict in the Bass community of Plateau State, Rev. Dr. Gideon expressed hope that the same approach could bring an end to the violence in Mangu.
The secretary-general of the Maguvul Development Association, Dr. Solomon Manguwat, expressed concerns about the IDPs’ future prospects, as they were predominantly farmers and unable to farm while displaced.
“Sincerely speaking we see great challenges ahead especially in 2024 because the IDPs’ are mostly farmers and if they’re not back to their communities they cannot farm and then won’t be able to take care of themselves in the coming year which is why we are appealing to the government to direct security agencies to secure the villages and provide the assurance of safety, enabling the IDPs to return to their communities promptly,” Solomon added.
CAN chairman of the Mangu local government area, Rev Timothy Samson Dalute in his address advocated for increased security presence, particularly at specific entry points where attacks had been frequent.
He said, “We call on the government to put in more effort in alleviating the consistent attacks in the Mango community, such as placing military checkpoints at areas that are entry routes of the attacks, such as the Mori, Changal, Combili, and Jenare areas.”
He also highlighted the urgent need for infrastructural developments, particularly the repair of collapsed bridges that hindered escape routes during violent incidents.
During their visit, the Foundation also met with the monarch of the Magunguvu community, HRH Da John Putmang who expressed his gratitude for the initiative and support of the Foundation while conveying the plight of his people.
He said “Despite various dialogues between both parties, the attackers have consistently breached agreements. Even until yesterday, the farmlands of some residents have been consistently destroyed. There are speculations that the attacks may have political undertones, as the newly elected governor is from the Mangu community.
“We assure you that we will not retaliate, but we urgently need to create an avenue for meaningful dialogue to find lasting solutions. Additionally, it’s essential to note that some of the IDPs are still scattered all over the State’s capital and other communities.”
The visit reached an emotional climax as Rev. Dr. Gideon came face to face with the orphaned victims, among them a fragile 2-year-old named Precious. The heart-wrenching scene unfolded as their devoted caretaker couldn’t hold back her tears, overwhelmed by the immense weight of their sorrowful plight.
Throughout the visit, the Gideon and Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation emphasized the pressing need for joint efforts from the government and stakeholders to address the crisis in Plateau State.