By: Valentine Adese, Alfred Saiki, Reuben Egbah and Lebel Daniel,
Since the past one week, during and after the departure of President Muhammadu Buhari on his two days’ visit to Plateau State, it has been reports of attacks and killings in the state.
This development has caused the Governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, to make a statewide broadcast of the issue to the people of the state last night, as he laments over the systematic killings of his people.
According to the Governor, these series of systematic attacks orchestrated by armed men, have led to the destruction of innocent lives and properties in Bokkos and some parts of Bassa Local government areas of the state.
To the victims, of the attacks and on-going killings, they have opined while speaking to REALITY that, “It is now visible to the blind, and audible to the deaf that, war has been officially declared by the Fulani herdsmen in Plateau state”.
They are of the standing point that, since the President came and left, it has been one attacks and killings or the other on their communities.
They said, “I believe this is the theory of let’s cut the roots and the tree will fall down”.
In his statewide broadcast last night and also while lamenting over the killings he has tried to stop, Governor Lalong told the people of the state that the peace in the state is under threat.
Governor Lalong said, “My fellow citizens of Plateau State, it is with a heavy heart that I address you at this very critical moment: when the Peace and stability of our state is being threatened by evil forces determined to take us back to the gory moments of the past”.
“Many of you must have heard of the recent attacks in Miango District of Bassa and Bokkos Local Government Areas respectively within the past one week. These series of systematic attacks orchestrated by armed men have led to the destruction of innocent lives and properties in these affected communities.
“As a responsible government that shares in the plight of its citizens, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the resurgence of violent attacks in some of our communities in Bokkos and Bassa Local Government Areas.”
You would recall that, REALITY had reported that in the early hours of this week, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong had mobilized additional troops to Bokkos Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, owing to expressed fears of the indigenous villagers that they may be attacked again by Fulani Herdsmen.
While disclosing this through a telephone interview with REALITY, the State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Yakubu Dati, also added that security agencies in the state, especially, the Police are already preparing to charge to court some of those arrested in the Daffo attack.
“In addition, the state Agency for Peace has also mobilized to the area.” Mr. Dati further added.
You would also recall that, REALITY had reported that the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Plateau State, seem to be increasing by the day, as people indigenous to villages under attack by herdsmen have continued to flee to safe areas in Bokkos Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, after the Daffo attack.
Information earlier reaching REALITY News desk had suggested that, the IDPs are currently being housed by relatives and friends, while Churches in Bokkos main town, such as, ECWA, COCIN, CAC are now being used as IDP Camps.
You would recall that the Plateau State Governor, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, was quoted by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr. Yakubu Dati, that, the Governor has vowed that he will not rest until every life is secured.
To practically display his promise on safety, the Governor and his administration had given marching orders to the security agencies operating in the state, to immediately arrest and prosecute the criminals that perpetrated the killings of a number of persons in Bassa and Bokkos LGAs of the state.
The Governor has also swiftly placed a dusk to dawn curfew yesterday in some parts of Bassa LGA pending when peace returns to the area.
Victims and angry residents of the Bassa attacks however, have blamed their leaders in the state for not putting the realistic situation of insecurity before President Buhari when he visited.
They alleged in anger that, it was because of the failure of the state’s political and religious leaders to speak the truth out of fear and respect for President Buhari during his visit to the state, that has embolden the Fulani Herdsmen, to face the people and the Nigerian security in a shootout in Bassa, that has led to the death of 3 soldiers, 2 Mobile Police men and two civilians.
As a way forward, Governor Lalong in his broadcast has assured that his administration would foot the bills of the injured in order to support the lose and the hurt.
Governor Lalong Text in Part Reads:
“To those who sustained varying degrees of injuries, we assure you that government will give you the necessary support to overcome your loss and your hurts.
“I pray for the repose of the souls that were lost as a result of this renewed violence and also pray God to assuage the anguish of their bereavement.
“Let me also assure you of the unwavering commitment of our Administration to deliver on the promise of peace and security.
“Although this emerging conflict trend has affected our collective efforts to further consolidate the gains of our post conflict peace-building process, however our commitment to ensure the security of lives and property remains unshakable.
“As part of measures to in the interim arrest the vicious cycle of violent attacks, we are poised to immediately review our State security architecture while working closely with Security Agencies to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.
“Let me assure our citizens that some arrests have already been made and the suspects will be arraigned before the relevant authorities in no distant future.
“Meanwhile, beyond these interim measures, we have developed a sustainable policy response to the protracted conflict in the State as contained in the Road Map to Peace document which was recently launched by Mr. President.
“This document contains sustainable solutions to the challenges of peace and security in Plateau State.
“The Rescue Administration is determined to implement the details of this plan considering the potential it holds for the future of our state in terms of peace and security.
“In conclusion, I call on all citizens to remain calm and to volunteer useful information to Security Agencies about any suspicious movement or persons around your neighbourhood.
“I call on all citizens to shun rumours and inflammatory speeches capable of disturbing the peace. At a very critical moment like this, let us work together to lend support to those directly affected by these unfortunate incidents. We must focus on what binds us together as against those that are threatening to tear us apart.”