Years of ethnic and religious crises in Plateau State have taught residents to live among their own people.
When the conflict among heterogeneous groups in Plateau State began to worsen, the groups devised a means to protect themselves: partition their settlements.
Because the houses of minority groups are almost always prime targets, it was a way of forging a common front when hostilities broke out, residents said.
Moving in unfamiliar zones is not what many residents do, much less living among opposite parties.
But Juliana Alao, a Christian from Oyo State who had stayed with her younger sister for over 25 years in Gangare, a Muslim-dominated ward in Jos North Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, is defying that safety measure.
Aunty Mai Allura (nurse), as she is called in the area, had resisted persuasion by her friends and family to leave the area, some offering to house her to rescue her from the risks of living in a Muslim-populated area.
When her relatives or friends visit, they would rather wait to be collected by the roadside, she said.
“Everybody would say ‘leave Gangare.’ Why I didn’t leave is that they didn’t touch me. They didn’t do anything to me. Even when I am in the church and there is a crisis, they will call me to wait for them to come and pick me up,” she said.ⓘ
“’You, a Christian, alone will pass through Gangare?’ she recalled being told after service one Christmas.
“Because of the way they honour me when I am with them, I have peace. Just leave me,” she would tell them.