A 70-years old widow by name Halima Iliya has been killed by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen in Fadama Bauna South, a community in Lafia East Development Area of Nasarawa State.
According to a resident of the community who narrated the events to Eggonnews but prefers to remain anonymous, Halima Iliya along with other women were attacked by the assailants suspected to be Fulani on their way from their farm about two kilometers from town along Ugah-Fadama Bauna road which is where most of the villagers have their farms, on Thursday November 3, 2022.
According to the witness, “Some women were returning from the farm in the evening and were attacked by suspected Fulani people and one of the women by name Halima Iliya was killed and set ablaze. The other person by name Ramatu Sabo sustained serious injury and is receiving medical attention in one of the clinics in the area.
“We are pleading on the government to come to our aid. These people are bent on destroying the peace and development of this area. And this is harvest period; if this thing is not checked then many farmers won’t be able to harvest what they planted.”
Halima Iliya was said to have gone to the farm along with other women to assist her son who was harvesting rice from his farm.
The other woman, Ramatu Sabo, aged 45, is Halima Iliya’s neighbour who went to the farm with her to help her son to harvest his rice only to fall into the hands of mindless assailants.
Narrating the incident to Eggonnews, Ishaku Iliya a son of the deceased from whose farm they were returning said when they had finished harvesting the rice, the women left the men in the farm because it was getting dark already.
And when the men had finished what they were doing on the farm, they also left to follow the women home.
It was on their way home when they were approaching the scene of the attack that he saw his wife running back in the direction of the farm. When she saw him coming with a motorcycle, she waved from the bush screaming that they were attacked by some gunmen on their way, urging them not to go any further. She also told him his mother and the other women were among those attacked.
In his words: “When she told me this, I asked her and the elderly man I carried on my motorcycle to go into hiding in the guinea corn farm while I called on the vigilante from town to come over and before they could come over, the attackers have killed my mother and injured the other woman badly and probably they thought she was dead so they left. By the time the vigilante arrived, we saw flames coming up from the scene of the attack.
“Our youth wanted to revenge by following them to their settlement since we know them and there are no other Fulani herdsmen living in the area with us.
“When this was going on, we called the Overseer of the Lafia East Development Area, Barr. Haruna Mohamed and the Speaker of Lafia Local Government Council, Mr. Philibus Yohanna both of whom are from the village as well as some other prominent sons of the village who are working outside to inform them. They were the ones that calmed our youths and women that fateful day. They warned that we should not take the law into our hands to revenge but to allow the law to catch up with those who did it since they are known by the villagers.”
On Friday 4th November 2022, which is the day after the incident, the Overseer of Lafia East Development Area, Barr. Haruna Mohamed and the Speaker, Lafia Local Government Council, Mr. Philibus Yohanna went to Fadama Bauna with the Army and Policemen to assess the situation.
Also in the entourage were some other stakeholders of Fadama Bauna including Mr. Bulus Avu, the Sarkin Yakin Fadama Bauna who is also a retired Director of Education, Mr. Hassan Lega from Abuja and Mr. Jonathan Avu, the Principal GSS Fadama Bauna.
The Overseer and his entourage met a large number of women and children crying and protesting saying “we are tired of the killings and robbery in our area. Enough is enough of the killings. Every time our farm produce is being destroyed by the herdsmen without the government doing anything.”
Addressing the women, children and aggrieved youths, the Overseer of Lafia East Development Area, Barr. Haruna Mohamed who is himself a son of the village, appealed to the Fadama Bauna community to remain calm and not to take any law into their hands by carrying out any reprisal attack but to rather cooperate with the government and the law enforcement agents to do their work.
The Overseer said that when he got the information about the ugly incident he could not sleep but had to inform the Governor and other security agents about the matter so that the appropriate action can be taken.
He appealed to the community to remain calm and trust that the administration of Engr. A. A.Sule which is known for ensuring peace and security of the people in Nasarawa State, will take the right steps.
Also addressing the aggrieved community, Mr. Bulus Avu appealed to the youth to remain calm and be law abiding citizens to allow the security people to do their work by bring the perpetrators of heinous crime to book.
He added that Fadama Bauna belongs to the community and no one can send them away.
The Overseer of Lafia East Development Area also made arrangement with the family of the Halima Iliya the deceased, for her corpse to be buried according Islamic rites. This was done at the community cemetery in Fadama Bauna amid heavy security.
After the burial, the Overseer and the Speaker visited Ramatu Sabo at the clinic where she was receiving treatment in Fadama Bauna.
The Overseer upon seeing the condition of the woman, ordered that she should be immediately taken to the Specialist Hospital in Lafia for better treatment promising that the government will pay all her medical bills.
It will be recalled that in 2013, the crisis that almost consumed the entire Southern Senatorial District of Nasarawa State, started in a similar manner and from Fadama Bauna.
One fateful day, a young man went to the farm with his family and had a little misunderstanding with the Fulani herdsmen in the farm when their cows entered his farm. The Fulani herdsmen cut him with cutlass all over his body. He later died from the injuries.
When the news got home, youths mobilised themselves and went to the Fulani abode and burnt down their houses and then there were reprisal attacks by the Fulani. This led to a full blown crisis and the rest they say, is now history in the State. A stitch in time saves nine and indeed members of the community are calling on government to learn from the history.