Plateau State – As the plight of internally displaced persons (IDPs) stemming from recent violent attacks on farming communities in Plateau state continues to escalate, The Gideon and Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, a prominent peace advocacy group under the leadership of Reverend Dr. Gideon Para-Mallam, has taken a resolute stand to address the dire situation. On Saturday, August 12, 2023, the foundation extended a helping hand by donating essential food items to IDPs sheltered in Riyom Local Government, while simultaneously voicing deep-seated concern over the deplorable living conditions.
The gesture of goodwill is not the first of its kind from the Foundation. In a like manner, the organization previously provided relief in the form of food, clothing, and bedding to internally displaced persons in the Mangu local government area of the state on July 22. The initiative sought to alleviate the suffering of victims who had fallen prey to violent attacks in the region.
In a conversation with journalists on Saturday, Nenfort Clifford Gonchen, a volunteer staff member of the Gideon and Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, articulated the motivation behind the donation. Gonchen emphasized that the contributions were aimed at offering solace and alleviating the pressing food shortages faced by those residing in the camp. The unsettling reality of over 2000 individuals being uprooted from their homes due to escalating violence, which resulted in the destruction of farms, loss of lives, and property damage, prompted the foundation’s action. Gonchen also seized the opportunity to implore the government to adopt a proactive approach, ushering in peace and much-needed respite for the beleaguered community.
Stephen Solomon, also hailing from the Gideon and Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, shed light on the organization’s vision of cultivating peace and extending assistance to humanity. The outreach efforts are, at their core, a demonstration of solidarity with those affected by displacement and turmoil.
Representatives of the traditional council in Riyom, including Dauda Dachu, the Mai Angwa Kwallak, expressed profound sadness at the relentless onslaught of attacks that have claimed lives, left people hungry, and rendered them homeless. Dachu’s poignant lamentation highlighted the distressing reality that innocent inhabitants of Riyom community continue to endure at the hands of assailants. He issued a fervent appeal to the government to restore tranquility, enabling residents to resume farming activities and reclaim their homes.
Within the IDP camp, voices echoed the sentiments of gratitude and desperation. Camp Chairman Mr. Sunday Baren and Leader Mrs. Davou Noro conveyed that the camp now shelters over 2000 individuals hailing from various communities in Riyom LGA, including Jol, Kwi, Sharubutu, Shunon, Rim, Kum, Biye, and Wereng. The camp has become a sanctuary for those who have suffered the loss of loved ones, farmlands, and homes. Both Baren and Noro expressed their appreciation for the intervention of the foundation and implored fellow Nigerians of goodwill to extend their support.
As the community navigates its path to recovery, a unanimous plea is directed at the government to institute proactive security measures to curb the incessant attacks that continue to plague the region. This appeal comes in the aftermath of yet another tragic incident, where 21 innocent lives were lost in a gruesome attack in Heipang community, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area. This relentless violence has plunged Plateau state into a state of turmoil, especially within Barkin Ladi and Mangu, Riyom, where hundreds have tragically lost their lives since May 2023, forcing villagers into displacement camps and disrupting daily life.