200,000 Bassa IDPs beg FG to facilitate return 


Bassa Community in Toto Local Government Area (LGA) of Nasarawa state has called on the federal government to ensure immediate home return of over 200,000 displaced persons from the community.

Speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, the representative of Bassa Community, Mr Mark Jere, also called for the rebuilding of the destroyed Bassa houses in both Toto and Nasarawa LGAs.

“As a matter of great concern and urgency, we, the entire Bassa Community of Toto LGA, Nasarawa state hereby wish to call on the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR to come to our rescue and intervene for our home return having been in forced exile for precisely six years now. 

“This call has become necessary owing to the fact that all efforts to press for our home return through the Nasarawa State Government and dialogue with our neighbours the Igburas in the last six years has not produced the desired result,” he said.

Debunking Governor Abdullahi Sule’s alleged claim of ownership of a vigilante group, Jere said, “the Bassa community has nothing known as Bassa militia and/or Bassa vigilante group anywhere in or outside the state. 

“We vehemently perceived that the governor was misinformed by some of his handlers in his move toward a peaceful approach to resolve the conflict between the Egburas and Bassas.”

He stressed the need for adequate compensation and release of relief materials to the displaced and affected Bassa people, urging the government to disband the vigilante group in Toto LGA and allow for the inclusion of Bassa people the moment they fully return home.

Mr Jere who described Bassa people as peace loving Nigerians appealed for inclusion of Bassa people in  governance in Nasarawa state.

The community leader called on the Nasarawa state government “to ensure that the implicit embargo on the employment of Bassa people at both the Local Government Area workforce and at the state be lifted.

“This could be evident in the recent teachers employment exercise by the Nasarawa state Ministry of Education, no single Bassa from Toto LGA was shortlisted despite the numerous applicants.

“The Nasarawa state government should revisit the penal code (Proscription of Kungiyar Zaman Lafiya nomad Vigilante, Eggon Vigilante and other similar organisations) Executive Order No.1, 2024 which came in force on 15th April, 2024, to exclude the purported ‘Bassa Vigilante’ owing to the fact that there no such vigilante group; and the Bassa who are in exile could not have formed a vigilante group in Nasarawa state.

“By this World Press Conference, we are calling on the Refugee Commissions, NGOs and the International Community to come to our help now and even when we eventually return to our native homeland in the nearest future, to enable us start rebuilding our lives afresh,” he said.