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“Only God can stop Buhari from winning the 2019 presidential election. You will remember this day… only God will stop Buhari and not Atiku Abubakar.”
Gyang Bere, Jos
Rufus Bature, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and candidate for Plateau North Senatorial District, believes that only God can stop President Muhammadu Buhari from winning his election and not PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. He said it is a taboo for his people in Northern Plateau to be refugees and enslaved in their own land.
Honestly, I do not have any fear. Only God can stop Buhari from winning the 2019 presidential election. You will remember this day that I said only God will stop Buhari and not Atiku Abubakar. Buhari will win his election without any obstruction. I am not a Prophet but from what I see, and what I hear, Buhari will win the election. I have the confidence that Buhari will get more votes in Plateau and in all parts of the country than he got in 2015, because different groups are mobilising for massive votes for him and the APC in 2019. I have not seen anybody that will thwart his re-election, not even Atiku Abubakar.
You should expect that everybody will want to belong to a house that is very busy and if that is so, you will expect these intrigues, squabbles and blabbing in the APC. But at the end of the day, I am assuring you that APC will come out stronger and victorious in 2019.
Why should he resign? Unless they have found him wanting with clear cases of mismanagement, clear cases of corruption or cases of ineptitude. If he is not found wanting in any of these why should he resign? One thing with him is that as a Labour man, he has been so combative to an extent that people are not comfortable with him but I believe that he should give a little ear to whoever has a complaint. Like thepresident said, he should not bar people from going to court, if you genuinely feel that you are aggrieved, you can seek for redress in the court of law because that is what our constitution says. The Constitution of APC cannot be above the Constitution of Nigeria; therefore, I agree with Mr. President that whoever feels aggrieved should seek redress in any court of law.
I am very optimistic that APC will form the government in Plateau State, it will form the government at the national level and I am optimistic that I will be part of the government that will be formed at the national level. We are all human beings, nobody is 100 percent right, we have our weaknesses; we are looking at these weaknesses and trying to make amend. But I believe rational thinking people and people who are objective on the Plateau, considering the circumstances that we met when we came on board and looking at what this government has done, will treat us fairly, we need to be looked at from our performance and not from any sentimental issue or bias point of view.
We started APC on the Plateau together with the current governor, I know how many people voted APC from my own constituency, despite that and to be magnanimous in victory, Governor Lalong appointed me as Secretary to the Government, if it was just because of the vote that my people gave, I wouldn’t have been the Secretary to the Government. One of the first thing we did together was to look at this issue of crisis, and the first person that the governor consulted was the Gbong Gwom Jos. The second Group of people was the Fulani, we started a meeting, which culminated into a committee that was set up; it sat for months and brought up a very germane recommendations and the government started implementing some of the recommendations, which brought peace until the recent carnage.
What happened in the state is like a baby that is sucking breast and all of a sudden he was pull off the breast, you will certainly hear a striking cry, that is what happened. My other folks who were predominantly in PDP never believed that any government can emerge outside PDP, they were not ready for anything call hand-over, they were not ready to believe that it was not a PDP person that was going to emerge, therefore whatever that this government is doing that is good, they have never seen the good in it. If the government that I served were not magnanimous in victory, we would not have the appointment that we have. I have the record because I was the Secretary to the Government, all the political appointments that were made; even though they might not be quality but quantity wise, no single tribe on the Plateau has up to half of the appointments that the Berom people have, I stand to be corrected.
The governor was magnanimous enough in the Northern zone to allow me to nominate people into positions of Special Adviser, Senior Special Assistants, Board members, commissioners and so on. Infact, in Berom land, 95 percent of the appointees were nominated by me. We have built roads that are spread all over the local government areas that did not even vote for him. The governor said we are all Plateau people and therefore, they should benefit. Sometimes I feel so sad when people say this government has not done anything for Berom people, it is very glaring that this government is an all inclusive one. Lalong’s government is not anti-Berom.
It has been there since 2001, there are many communities that were sacked and the people never went back to their land. So it is not today, it did not start under this government; if you go to Riyom Local Government area, you will see the same thing. This thing started right from the onset and because it was not nip in the bud, it continued unabated. When you go to Gashish you will see what I am talking about, I wept the day I went there. It was not in 2015 that this land grabbing started, it has been there for a very long time.
I have heard people saying that but I don’t have any incontrovertible evidence to prove that the Military is colluding, I don’t have any evidence. People might have their own evidence but I as a person don’t have any evidence.
I appeal to him to do what he has said through the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo when he came to sympathise with the victims of the crisis and the president repeated it when he came to Jos recently. He said nobody who has been chased out of his community that will not go back unless he does not want; he is making every effort to make sure that people go back to their communities. One thing I want to emphasise, is that we must learn to respect, tolerate and understand one another, it is very important. When the lands were grabbed the other time, nobody made any effort to reclaim and take the people back to their communities.
Yes, of course. Nobody made any effort; today President Buhari is trying to take these people back to their communities even those who left since 2001 but some people are being very critical about it. It is unfortunate that some are saying is it only now that the government is concerned about the people; we are aware that things have happened, what did the leaders do during that time that the people were first displaced? I don’t want to start making comparison, all I want is that the people should be treated fairly, we should do justice, whether there was justice or no justice, we will be accountable for our own period. Whatever happened during the PDP period, is for them and will be judge by what they did, but as far as we are concern, we are doing what we believe is right, we are doing what we believe is just.
I want to contest that presumption that the Northern zone is predominantly PDP. If you look at the combination of members of the House of Assembly, about four of them are APC and four of them are PDP; for House of Representatives, out of the three of them, two are APC, while the senator is PDP and the governor is APC. APC is the home of Plateau North as far as I know. PDP was the government in power during the 2015 elections and the governor was from the Northern zone that was why some people thought that PDP was strong in the zone. But with what is on ground now, APC is in total control of the zone and the 2019 election result will show clearly that Northern zone is predominantly APC.
As a human being, everybody should have an ambition; I have had the opportunity of serving Plateau State in the House of Assembly for eight year, representing my constituency, Barkin-Ladi. My performances at the House of Assembly then are there for people to talk about; and having served in that capacity and not just a member of the House but as a leader of the minority in the House, I did my utmost best. We were the Guinea pigs that came in, in 1999 after a lonely political arena in Nigeria; with robust workshops and seminars held within and outside Nigeria, to give us a good start. I feel that the knowledge I acquired then while in the House is still with me and therefore I feel I should deploy the knowledge at a higher level. The experience which I had while in the House of Assembly for eight years and having been out of government for another eight years and returning to serve as Secretary of Government now in a ruling government; were the things that propelled me to seek for the position of Senator to represent Northern Zone of Plateau State. (The Sun)
Gyang Bere, Jos
Youths of Plateau State, under the platform of the All Progressives Congress Youths Online Forum, have expressed sadness and disappointment with the elders of the state, saying they were disappointed with the elders for not being united to fight the common enemy of the state.
The APC youths, while addressing a press conference, in Jos, led by their Chairman, Comrade Pius Tongmaan and Secretary, Makut Alfred Mashat, following the unfortunate killings of innocent citizens in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state by suspected Fulani herdsmen, said the elders had failed for playing politics with the lives of human beings.
They said, “Plateau State Elders have failed us. They are playing politics with the lives of our people instead of uniting themselves towards fighting the Plateau State enemy, but the reverse is the case. They are never united. They are now scattered on political lines. It is worrisome because we know who are our enemies are, but our elders have failed.
“Plateau State elders have disappointed us. In fact, we don’t have elders again in this state. Where are they when our people are being killed, our farmlands taken away?
“Our elders and traditional rulers are supposed to sit down with Governor Simon Lalong to find a lasting solution to the incessant killings in the state as well as reclaim back our farmlands taken away by the Fulani herdsmen.”
APC Youths also calls for the immediate arrest of the chairman, North Central Zone of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), Alhaji Danladi Ciroma, over the killings of over 200 citizens in Plateau State.
The youths continued, “We vehemently condemn these cowardly, dastardly and calculated attacks on our people in Plateau and demand the immediate arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the act.
“We call on the Federal Government led by our destabilised and patriotic president Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of public importance, mandate the security agencies to arrest and question the statements attributed to the North Central Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, who has given a lead about the perpetrators of the attack by referring to it as retaliatory, where he justified the killings on the basis of over 300 cows allegedly rustled by some natives of Barkin Ladi.
“In as much as we don’t condole criminally by acts of cattle rustling, we also do not accept any individual or group that resort to taking laws into their hands by killing and maiming innocent women and children or the cowardly acts of blocking the federal highways and killing innocent travellers by setting their vehicles ablaze.
“We the APC youths are pained by the killings of our brothers, sisters, mothers and children in Barkin Ladi.
“We call for the establishment of a state-owned localised security outfits to complement the efforts of the existing security architecture that is overstretched.
“We stand with our Governor Simon Lalong and we the youths of the state would not tolerate land grabbing in any part of the Plateau.”
“The youths condemn those killing people and destroying their settlements with the intention of taking ownership of such places would not be allowed to do so.
“We call for the introduction of a community justice system whereby defaulters will be treated by the settlers in conjunction with the state government, Vigilante groups, village heads, Ardos, e.t.c.
“We the APC youths online call for the full implementation of the Plateau roadmap to peace documents as championed by the Plateau Peace Building Agency that has compensation plans that entail rebuilding and restoration of affected communities
The group also called for rehabilitation programmes for traumatised victims and internally-displaced persons that have fled from their ancestral homes
“Government should reclaim the villages and lands overpowered by the herdsmen and secure it for the natives.” (The Sun)
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has described as ‘irresponsible politics’, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s declaration of seven days of mourning over what it called, sad and unfortunate killings in Plateau State, over the weekend.
The Presidency also said in the 16 years of PDP rule, over 22,000 citizens were killed in ethnic and communal clashes including those killed by Boko Haram but the former ruling party never declared national mournings.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement, said the nation was in a period of distress and sorrow which calls for deep introspection on how cheap human lives had become and not a time to dance on the graves of the dead, playing cheap and infantile politics.
The Presidential spokesman described PDP as a “comatose and prostrate party” which has also decided to fly its flag at half-mast nationwide, saying its flags had been forcefully lowered by Nigerians since 2015 when it was defeated at the polls. Adesina said PDP’s flag would remain lowered for a long time because Nigerians are politically discerning, and cannot be hoodwinked by cheap antics.
The statement read, “The sad and unfortunate killings in Plateau State over the weekend have been turned to the opportunity to once again play irresponsible politics, particularly by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which says it is declaring seven days of mourning.
“These are dolorous times that call for deep introspection on how cheap human lives have become, and the proffering of actionable ideas on how to get out of the bind. But the PDP would rather dance on the graves of the dead, playing cheap, infantile politics.
“The comatose and prostrate party is declaring seven days of mourning, during which flags in its offices would be flown at half-mast nationwide.
“But unknown to the party, those flags had been forcefully lowered since its 2015 loss at the polls and may remain so for a long time to come, because Nigerians are politically discerning, and cannot be hoodwinked by cheap antics.
“A quick checklist of some savage and brutal killings in Nigeria during PDP rule, between 1999 and 2015, for which no national mourning was declared:
– November 20, 1999. Odi, in Bayelsa State, was invaded on orders of a PDP President. About 2,500 people killed. No national mourning.
– Between February and May 2000, about 5,000 people were killed during riots over Sharia law in different parts of the North. No national mourning.
– In 2001, hundreds of people, including the old, infirm, women and children were killed in Zaki Biam. No crocodile tears.
– Between September 7-12, 2001, Jos, Plateau State, erupted in internecine killings. Between 500 and 1,000 people were killed. Flags were not flown at half mast.
– In February, 2004, at least 975 people were killed in Yelwa-Shendam, Plateau State. No mourning by the then ruling PDP.
– Between November 28 and 29, 2008, Jos was in flames again, with 381 deaths.
– In 2010, 992 people killed in Jos. Mum was the word.
– In 2014 alone, according to Global Terrorism Index, at least 1,229 people were killed in the Middle Belt. No mourning.
– Boko Haram killings in PDP years were over 10,000. PDP flags were still fluttering proudly in the sky.
“Those who take pleasure in twisting statements from the Presidency may claim we are saying that many more people were killed under PDP than under President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It would be unconscionable to do so. The intendment of this statement is to show that wanton killings had been with us for awhile; this government is working towards enduring solutions and should be given the opportunity to do so.
“Even a single soul is precious, and no man should take a life, which he cannot create. But when tragic situations as had happened in Plateau State occur, such should never be used to play crude politics. Those who are wont to do so should have the change of hearts, or lose their very humanity,” the statement said. (The Sun)
Fred Itua, Abuja
Few days after over 100 people were allegedly killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen, leaders from the North Central states, on the platform of Middle Belt Forum (MBF), have called on the African Union (AU), the United States Government and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to halt what they described as “ethnic cleansing” in Nigeria.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, President of the forum, Dr Pogu Bitrus, who spoke on behalf of others, said the indifference shown by the AU since the killings started was worrisome.
Although he acknowledged the United States President, Donald Trump, spoke out against killings of Christians in Nigeria, the leaders called on governments to mount pressure on the Nigerian Government and President Muhammadu Buhari, to take steps.
He said: “We call on the African Union to condemn and call to order the Nigerian government for failing in its responsibility to protect the peoples of the Middle Belt.
“The African Union’s silence is no longer golden as Nigeria has been on the road to the genocide in Rwanda; with the African Union maintaining silence.
“We call on the International Criminal Court to investigate the genocide in the Middle Belt and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“The Government of the United States should bring pressure to bear on the Government of Nigeria and president Buhari to take steps to ensure that they bring the killings to an end and the perpetrators to justice.”
Worried that the killings may continue, the forum called on citizens to defend themselves since the government has failed to protect them.
“We call on the entire
people of the Middle Belt to organise themselves in their communities to defend themselves and their property as the government has abdicated its responsibility to protect them.
“Section 33 of the Nigerian Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to life and nobody should be deprived of that right.
“The right to private self-defense is constitutionally recognised to protect that right to life.
“To all state governments in the Middle Belt: Governments of all states in the Middle Belt should, as a matter of urgency, support communities in the Middle Belt to train vigilante groups on ways of repelling external aggressions of the sort communities in our homelands have been subjected to in the last two decades,” he said.
The leaders didn’t leave out security agencies.
They said security agencies could not have denied knowledge of the attacks while they lasted.
Dr Bitrus added: “The most recent attacks in Plateau state, where several communities cutting across three local government areas left over 200 persons dead, was sustained for over five hours; without any response from the security forces.
“It is inconceivable that an attack of such magnitude requiring the kind of logistics involved could have been planned without any inkling by the intelligence agencies.
“It is absolutely impossible that, for five hours, the security agencies were ignorant of the attacks in this era where the majority of the members of these communities have access to mobile phones and have numbers of police divisions and relatives’ numbers.
“Our conclusion, therefore, is that this is evidence of high-level complicity by the security forces.” (The Sun)
John Ameh, Olusola Fabiyi, Olalekan Adetayo, Friday Olokor, Adelani Adepegba, Alex Okere, Godwin Isenyo and Gibson Achonu
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday faulted those who accused him of being silent on killings being carried out by suspected herdsmen in parts of the country.
He said there was injustice in such aspersions.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke during an interactive session with stakeholders in Jos, Plateau State, over the recent attacks that left scores of people dead.
Buhari said people were blaming him for not talking to the herdsmen probably because he looked like them.
He appealed to Nigerians to avoid inflammatory utterances that could endanger peace or promote conflicts.
The President said, “Whatever is being given to the media, we have to be very responsible about it.
‘‘Take for instance the situation in Benue. The Benue subsistence farmer knows that the Nigerian cattle herder that he knows doesn’t carry nothing more than a stick, occasionally sometimes something to cut grass to feed his cattle.
‘‘But the present herder, I am told, carries AK47 and people are even blaming me for not talking to them because maybe (they say) I look like one of them.
‘‘There is some injustice in these aspersions.”
Buhari directed security chiefs in the country to remain vigilant and ensure the protection of lives and property.
He also urged traditional and community leaders to complement government efforts by persuading their constituencies to tolerate one another for peace and unity in the country.
The President added, “I will continue to pressurise members of the law enforcement agencies directly under me by the constitution as the Commander-in-Chief.
“About eight days ago, we had five hours security meeting of the service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police.
‘‘What happened here in Jos is very bad. The question of leadership, from your household to whatever you are, is justice. The bottom line is justice.
‘‘That is why wherever I go, I will always appeal to the leadership of the communities and the law enforcement agencies, to always have control over their constituencies.”
Buhari, who was accompanied to the meeting by Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State and his counterparts from Kebbi and Niger, condoled with the affected families, the government and people of the state, and wished those injured a speedy recovery.
Others in his entourage were the ministers of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau; and Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed.
Also with Buhari was the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
The major stakeholders in attendance were senior government officials, National and State House of Assembly members, traditional rulers, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Ja’amatu Nasril Islam in Plateau State.
The President’s visit came less than 24 hours after a similar visit by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) who met with the stakeholders.
Earlier in his remarks, Lalong blamed parties in the conflict in the state for reneging on their agreement to maintain peace, leading to the recent upsurge in violence, after nearly three years of calm and normalcy in the state.
“We are concerned as a state that the sophisticated weapons used in these attacks, from the evidence on the ground and the narrations of victims, are not those conventional to our environment for self-defence but reflective of a terrorist invasion.
‘‘It, therefore, demands a justified response like that which was undertaken to address the Boko Haram insurgency,” he said.
The governor also requested that given the number of villages completely ravaged by the violence, the Federal Government should establish an Emergency Special Intervention Fund to help reconstruct the destroyed communities.
Killings, senseless, barbaric, says NLC
Meanwhile, the killings attracted more condemnations on Tuesday with the Nigeria Labour Congress saying that the government must design a framework for peace to end the bloodshed.
The Congress said it was disturbed by the range of targets, the duration of the attacks and the scope of casualties and destruction.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said in a statement in Abuja that the statistics were numbing, describing the incident as senseless and barbaric.
He added that it threatened to shatter once and for all the bonds of brotherhood and peaceful co-existence.
According to him, the security agencies, though stretched, must be seen to do more to restore the confidence of the civil populace.
“If the emerging allegations are true that the attacks went on unchecked for hours, then something needs to be done about the reaction time of our internal security operations in the state.
“Beyond this, the Federal Government and Plateau State Government in consultation with the parties to this bloody conflict should design a framework for an enduring peace,” Wabba insisted.
He called on the governments to quickly move to rebuild the devastated communities and restore shattered lives while admonishing the victims against reprisals, stressing that it could not bring the much-needed peace in the state.
Speaking in the same vein, the Nigerian Baptist Convention, FCT chapter, and the Christian Association of Nigeria, North-Central geopolitical zone, condemned in strong terms, the killings.
FG has failed, says CDHR
The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights said the killing was a sign that the Federal Government had failed.
The CDHR in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Henry Ekine, decried the state of insecurity in the country.
According to him, the right to life is guaranteed under Section 33 of Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, an amendment, as well as under the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Article 4); the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (6) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Articles 3).
The CDHR said, “The state has the primary responsibility to ensure the security and welfare of the people, as provided under section 14 (2) (b) of Chapter II of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as an amendment.
“Such mass killing was apparently akin to genocide and indicative of a failing state. The government has indeed failed in its core responsibility to protect lives and property of citizens at all times and in all parts of the country.”
Atiku condemns killings
Also a former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and a former Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, condemned the killings.
The two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party made the condemnation in separate interviews with journalists after their interaction with the Forum of PDP Former State House of Assemblies Presiding Officials in Abuja on Tuesday.
Atiku, a PDP presidential aspirant, who described the killings as unfortunate, stressed the need to adopt measures including community dialogue to address the lingering crisis.
He said, “I just listened to a former deputy speaker, a lady for that matter, and she made two points; hard and soft powers in resolving the crisis. I like that idea.
“It is not every security breach you can you use hard power on. You need to establish the dialogue between the leadership of various communities that lived together over the years.”
On his part, Turaki, another PDP presidential aspirant condemned the killings saying every single life that was lost had the potential to do a lot for Nigeria.
He attributed the killings to the failure of the APC-led Federal Government and failure among various security agencies.
“If you recall, a few months ago the National Security Agency had appeared before the Senate and disclosed that the greatest problem that the Nigeria security agencies have today is that the agencies work at cross-purposes. There is no cooperation, there is no synergy.
“If critical security agencies are not sharing information or working together then how do you expect them to come up with tight security architecture that will safeguard the lives and property of Nigeria? And that is what is happening.’’
He commiserated with the people and government of Plateau over the loss of lives.
Buhari not doing enough to end killings – Reps
Also, the House of Representatives said President Buhari must take immediate steps to halt the killings by herdsmen in the country.
It noted that the country could not afford to continue to lose its citizens as if human lives no longer matter.
The Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, told The PUNCH in Abuja that to contain the killings, the President and the government should think harder about the appropriate measures to bringing a lasting solution.
Gbajabiamila added, “The President and the government will continue to do all they can to arrest these killings and surely more needs to be done.
“It is absolutely difficult to understand why human life should be so cheap.
“Christians are being killed; Muslims are being killed. What is important is that they are human beings and the killings must stop.
“This is a strange phenomenon in Nigeria. Perhaps, it requires the government to think outside the box and do something extraordinary.
“It requires an urgent and surgical fix.”
PFN tells Buhari to stop killings, warns against reprisal
On its part, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria commiserated with the families of the bereaved and urged Nigerians to refrain from reprisals to enable the government to perform its constitutional responsibilities.
The National President of the PFN, Rev. Felix Omobude, in a statement on Tuesday, lamented that the lives of Nigerians had been cheapened by mindless criminals who swooped on unsuspecting residents and killed them without restrictions.
He, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to live up to his responsibility of ensuring the safety of lives and property, adding that “any government that cannot protect its people does not deserve to remain in office.”
The cleric stated, “President Muhammadu Buhari should immediately bring the mindless killings going on in the country to a halt because Nigerian lives, whether Christians or Moslems, are very important. The perpetrators of these dastardly acts must be fished out and punished appropriately.”
Omobude added, “Never in the history of Nigeria have the lives of Nigerians been so cheap. Today, people in any guise can kill with impunity and get away with it.
“Hundreds of people are being slaughtered at regular intervals and the criminal elements seem not to be brought to justice. There is the need for our government and security forces to be proactive instead of reactionary.
The President had after a closed-door meeting with government officials, security agencies and traditional leaders in Plateau State said he was committed to the protection of lives and property and would not run away from the responsibilities for which he was elected in 2015.
The President appealed to the people to bury their differences and work together for the peace of the state.
IG removes Plateau CP
However, Idris has removed the Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Undie Adie.
The removal of Adie followed the killing of more than 100 people by herdsmen in three local government areas of the state on Sunday.
The spokesperson for the Plateau State Police Command, Matthias Tyopev, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, in a statement on Tuesday, stated that a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, had replaced Adie.
Tyopev stated, “Today, 26th June 2018, a new commissioner of police, Bala Ciroma, has assumed duty as the Commissioner of Police, Plateau State command.”
He also said the IGP had directed Adie to report to the force headquarters in Abuja.
The new commissioner, who is from Yobe State, was previously a deputy commissioner of police, criminal investigation and intelligence department, at the force headquarters in Abuja.
Osinbajo confirms arrests of suspects
Also on Tuesday, Osinbajo confirmed that some persons had been arrested in connection with the killings.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, the Vice-President disclosed this during a meeting he had in the state on Monday with the leaders and representatives of communities related to the conflicts.
Osinbajo did not, however, disclose the number of the suspects arrested.
APC govs to visit Plateau on Friday
The Imo State Governor and Chairman, Progressives Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha, has indicated that the APC governors will visit Plateau State on Friday.
The governor disclosed this on Tuesday at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport on arrival from Abuja after the national convention of the party.
According to him, while on the visit, the governors will assess the situation and interact with the governor of the state.
He said, “I, with the rest of the governors of APC, condemn in its entirety these unwarranted killings of innocent souls, and shedding of blood. We have called them insurgents. We’ve called them Boko Haram, we have called them all kinds of baptismal names and because the situation is not properly defined, most people hide under the cloak of the religion of Christianity or Islam to create harm.” (Punch)
•Politicians taking advantage of crisis –Buhari •PDP, Saraki, CAN, others condemn the attack
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye; Ndubuisi Orji; Okwe Obi; Bayo Oladeji, Abuja; Gyang Bere, Jos
Anger, tears and condemnations have continued to trail the weekend attack on Plateau State communities, in which death toll has reportedly risen to 150.
In spite of the deployment of Air Force, police fighter jets and special force, residents of the affected villages including Xlands, Gindin Akwati, Nghar, Kura falls and Kakuruk all in Gashish district of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, have continued to flee en masse to neighbouring communities and local councils in search of safety.
Meanwhile, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) said it carried out the attack in retaliation for the loss of about 300 cows to suspected rustlers.
A statement, yesterday, by Danladi Ciroma, chairman, North-central zone of the body accused the communities of hiding cattle rustlers among them as well as frustrating peace efforts of the state government.
“These attacks are retaliatory. As much as I don’t support the killing of a human being, the truth must be told that those who carried out the attacks must be on a revenge mission.
“There have been recent reports of cow rustling and destruction of farms between Berom farmers and Fulani herdsmen. The people carrying out these criminal activities are well known to the communities but the communities are hiding them.
“Fulani herdsmen have lost about 300 cows in the last few weeks – 94 cows were rustled by armed Berom youths in Fan village, another 36 cows were killed by Berom youths. In addition to that, 174 cattle were rustled and the criminals disappeared with them to Mangu.
“Since these cows were not found, no one should expect peace in the areas. Even soldiers that went after the criminals to recover the rustled cows were shot by the armed rustlers and eventually escaped with all the cows.
“The government of Governor Lalong has done a lot to restore peace, but the criminal elements hiding among their people are the ones frustrating these peace efforts,” he Ciroma said.
Notwithstanding MACBAN’s mea culpa plea, President Muhammadu Buhari has slammed politicians who he claimed were promoting instability and chaos to gain the advantage in the coming elections.
A statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Shehu Garba said: “We know that a number of geographical and economic factors are contributing to the longstanding herdsmen/farmers clashes. But we also know that politicians are taking advantage of the situation. This is incredibly unfortunate.”
Buhari was, however, silent on whether the culprits will be brought to book as he had done in the past. He also did not give an order to security agencies to move into the troubled spots.
However, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, cautioned those politicising and dragging farmers/herdsmen killings in the state into a religious violence.
In a statewide broadcast, he urged citizens to exercise restraint, observe the curfew currently in place, while traditional rulers, religious leaders, elders, political leaders, community leaders and their subjects should remain vigilant and cooperate with security agencies to end the violence.
“It is with a deep sense of sorrow that I address you, following the pockets of violent attacks on some communities in the state. This has unfortunately led to the loss of lives and properties.
“The resurgence of violence in the state is reprehensible, as much as condemnable. Yet, this is a stark reminder of the magnitude of peace and security challenges steering at us in the face.
“Government is conscious of it responsibilities of protection of lives and properties of its citizenry and we have always strived to meet that expectation. You will recall that I took an oath to protect and secure the lives and property of our citizens as governor of Plateau State.”
Saraki, Ekweremadu, Makarfi, CAN, others react
Senate President Bukola Saraki has charged President Buhari to order security chiefs to immediately produce quick response measures aimed at tackling the incessant killings.
“I am very sad to hear the news of the incident in Plateau State. This is very depressing and giving the impression that the country is not safe. The problem of Boko Haram in the North-east is well known to everybody but this killing by an unknown band of assailants in Benue, Taraba, Plateau and Kaduna states is now giving another dimension to the crisis. Coming at the time we are getting ready for elections, we need to respond fast,” Saraki said.
Also reacting, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu warned that unless government restructured the nation’s security architecture, more lives would be lost.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu said: “It is really unfortunate because our country is a nation where the leaders have refused to learn from the mistakes and missteps of the past.
“For many years now, some of us have been consistent about the need to decentralise our security architecture; and so long as we are not doing that, we are going to get exactly the same result.
“It pains me that innocent people, who voted us into power to protect their lives and property are losing their lives and their property because we have refused to take the correct steps.
“The sad news is not only that many people have died, but also that more people will die unless we take the right steps, putting the right security architecture in place. There is no way you will have a federation like Nigeria as big as it is, with all the diversities and continue to operate a centralised policing and expect it to work. It will never work and it is a major problem.
“So, it is sad that this is happening. But, as I said, the real tragedy is that this Plateau incident is not going to be last because we refuse to be corrected.”
Ekweremadu reasoned that the government of Plateau State would be in the best position to protect its citizens if it had its own police outfit.
Also, Senator Ahmed Makarfi flayed the attack and the huge death toll, saying it was unfortunate, unnecessary and condemnable.
While he believed disagreements are normal in any human setting, he said the civilised way of resolving them was by communicating with one another through constant and continuous constructive engagement.
The resort to violence has never been known to have led to the resolution of any dispute, he said in a statement by Mukhtar Zubairu Sirajo.
“It is Senator Makarfi’s belief and conviction that since even after real war situations, peace and reconciliation terms are eventually discussed and agreed on a round table, violence shouldn’t be an option in the first place.
“The senator hereby appeals to all Nigerians to eschew violence, retrace their steps and return to the good old days when we all related with one another as brothers and sisters that we have always been. The artificial divisions that are threatening our fabric are alien to us as a people and it is in our enlightened collective interest to throw away the yoke, embrace one another and deploy that diversity with which God has endowed us for the overall development of all of us, so that we bequeath a legacy of unity in diversity for this and upcoming generations.”
But the National security Adviser, (NSA), Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd), said herders and farmers would continue to clash unless Nigerians respect each other’s cultural diversities, giving the multiplicity of cultures.
He tasked religious leaders to propagate virtues capable of transforming the minds of their followers.
“Our diversities remain our most prized assets from where we draw strength and attract global respect. Nigerians by nature are highly religious people who are committed religious values.
“In consequences, we look up to our religious leaders, both for moral and spiritual guidance who are highly respected and people of great virtues to play in the spiritual rebirth of our beloved country,” he said at a conference organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in partnership with the National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN) in Abuja, where he was represented by AIG Peace Ibekwe.
That scores of people could be killed without any resistance by soldiers deployed to contain the security challenge, as far as the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is concerned is unimaginable.
“How could dare-devil criminals assault communities without resistance by security agencies to stop the killings. Are these herdsmen in bed with soldiers to unleash mayhem on these peaceful communities? Of what relevance is the intelligence gathering by the Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies? If communities can be attacked and hundreds slaughtered without security organisations providing rescue efforts, then, it becomes obvious that Nigeria’s security system has been compromised. From all indications, these attacks on the Plateau clearly showed that the Federal Government needs to review its security machinery in a bid to make it effective. Considering the level of the human carnage of these attacks, we once again call on the government not to rest on its oars until these criminals are brought to book as promised.”
Also, reacting, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, accused the Buhari administration of lack of sensitivity to the plight of Nigerians.
The PDP leader said it had been one calamity after the other since the ruling party assumed the reins of power in 2015.
“Otherwise how does one explain the genocides in Plateau that was carried out for over five hours and there was no interruption from any security body in a distance less than 20 kilometers from Jos, the state capital, headquarters of an Army and Airforce divisions with Police, Directorate of State Services DSS, Civil Defence and others.
“You can see what happened in Jos; over 100 people killed, where on earth or country can there be killing every day, and the government is doing nothing? All they have is propaganda. Don’t people in government have blood in their vein? It is a very painful experience. God will revenge on behalf of these people,” Secondus said.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said it was shocked that at a time Nigerians expected the Presidency to take immediate action to restore order and safeguard lives of Nigerians, it had chosen the path of divisiveness.
“It is unfortunate that rather than taking actions to get to the roots of killings and banditry in the land, President Muhammadu Buhari resorted to political colourations by engaging in his usual blame game of unnamed politicians.
“It is equally disgusting that the Buhari Presidency relegated the main issue of the murder of our citizens and how to track down the perpetrators and bring them to book, thus confirming the fears of most Nigerians that this administration does not care about the lives of the people,” the PDP stated.
Sen. Jonah David Jang is concerned, the killing is a careful plan to wipe out the people and inherit their land.
“These continuous killings are fast becoming a coordinated attempt at genocide aimed at annihilating our people and stealing our God-given heritage,” he said in a statement by his media consultant, Clinton Garuba. (The Sun)
…says politicians taking advantage of nationwide killings
Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday lamented that human life was increasingly becoming cheap in Nigeria.
He, however, heaped the blame on some unnamed politicians who he accused of taking advantage of the killings associated with herdsmen/farmers clashes in parts of the country.
He said some “desperate people” have continued to pursue their quest for instability and chaos which they hoped would give them an advantage in the coming elections.
Buhari said this in a statement made available to journalists by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
The President was reacting to latest clashes in Plateau State during which scores of people have killed.
He said, “We know that a number of geographical and economic factors are contributing to the longstanding herdsmen/farmers clashes.
“But we also know that politicians are taking advantage of the situation. This is incredibly unfortunate.
“Nigerians affected by the herdsmen/ farmer clashes must always allow the due process of the law to take its course rather than taking matters into their own hands.”
The presidential spokesman indicated in the statement that information available to the Presidency showed that about 100 cattle had been rustled by a community in Plateau State, and some herdsmen were killed in the process.
He added that the state governor, Simon Lalong, had invited the aggrieved groups and pleaded against further action while the law enforcement agents looked into the matter.
He regretted that less than 24 hours later, violence broke out.
He added, “Some local thugs then took advantage of the situation, turning it into an opportunity to extort the public, and to attack people from rival political parties.
“There were reports of vehicles being stopped along the roads in the state, with people being dragged out of their cars and attacked if they stated that they supported certain politicians or political party.
“On his way back to Jos after attending the All Progressives Congress’ Convention in Abuja, the state governor had to dismantle a number of illegal roadblocks set up by these thugs.
“There were also a number of dead bodies thugs had killed, lying along the road.” (Punch)
• Six injured, 50 houses burnt
• Plateau places three LGAs under curfew
Friday Olokor, Jos
Plateau State was on Sunday thrown into mourning with the killing of 86 persons in the attacks on about 11 communities in the Gashish District by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The Police Command in Plateau State had earlier on Sunday confirmed the attacks, saying it had only recovered 11 corpses from some of the villages. But residents had insisted that about 200 people were killed by the marauding herdsmen.
However, the police later issued a statement that indicated that the death toll in the attack on the communities in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area on Saturday night had risen to 86. It added that six people were injured, 50 houses burnt, 15 motorcycles razed while two motor vehicles were torched.
The spokesperson for the Plateau State Police Command, Matthias Tyopev, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, in an updated statement issued on Sunday night, said the earlier 11 death toll in the attacks was due to the information at its disposal as of than before the arrival of the search and rescue team from the Barkin Ladi LGA.
Tyopev had identified the 11 corpses as Dalyop Vanode, Dom Danladi, Bururu Wade, Joju Rala, Titus Danladi, Bitrus Malat, Alu Matir, Noron Monday, Cecilia Yohana, Dam Bulus and Ladi Danladi.
He said, “Sequel to the attack in the Gashish District of Barkin Ladi LGA yesterday (Saturday) June 23, 2018, the Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, Jos, Undie Adie, after deploying more personnel in the district sent a search and rescue team from the Command headquarters today (Sunday) for an on-the-spot assessment.
“The team headed by ACP Edeh John of the Department of Operations had also the DPO of the Barkin Ladi Division and a Unit Commander from Mopol 38. After a careful search of the villages attacked in the District, the following was discovered: 86 persons altogether were killed, six people injured, 50 houses burnt, 15 motorcycles and two motor vehicles also burnt.
“The team also carried out a detailed deployment. Corpses were released to the families for burial. The command earlier in the day confirmed only 11 people dead as the result of the attacks due to the information at its disposal before the arrival of the search and rescue team from the Barkin Ladi LGA. This is to update members of the public of the situation as regards the attacks in the Gashish District as promised earlier on.”
Also, there were fears that some soldiers were missing during the attack but the Commander of the Special Military Task Force codenamed Operation Safe Haven, Maj. Gen. Anthony Atolagbe, dismissed the report. He said, “it’s not true, no soldier died and no soldier is missing.”
While the Peoples Democratic Party and the Christian Association of Nigeria, called on the global community to rescue Plateau State from the attacks, the Plateau State Government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Jos South LGAs.
The decision, according to the government, is to avert the breakdown of law and order.
A statement issued on Sunday by the Secretary to the State Government, Rufus Bature, said movement would be restricted from 6 pm to 6 am, except those on essential duties.
“The soil of Plateau smells with rotten dead bodies as a result of silent killings and many people are missing,” CAN be stated.
The attack was said to have been launched at Xland. Gindin Akwati, Ruku, Nghar, Kura Falls and Kakuruk all in Gashish District were completely sacked by the assailants.
Other areas affected by the attacks included Rakok, Kok and Razat in the Ropp District.
The Chairman, Public Accounts and Petition Committee in the Plateau State House of Assembly representing the Barkin Ladi constituency, Peter Gyendeng, in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday said the attacks were a declaration of war on his constituency.
He claimed that mercenaries were hired to kill people in the Barkin Ladi LGA.
Gyendeng said, “As a matter of fact, the casualty rate is in hundreds; it is more than 100. In one place, it is above 51, in another, over 32 and yet in another area, it is same. For now, based on what we have on the ground and the corpses that we have been receiving, it is probably over 200 casualties.
“Altogether, about 11 villages were attacked and our people are there now trying to ascertain the number of deaths. The casualty rate is above 200 and counting (of the corpses) is still going on.
“This is war; it is a declaration of war on my people. War has been declared on the Barkin Ladi LGA completely. There are mercenaries that have been hired to come and kill people in the Barkin Ladi LGA. The killing started around 11pm last (Saturday) night till this (Sunday) morning. And the killing still continues.”
Reacting to the killings, the PDP described Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State as an “absentee governor, who had been out of the state for the past three weeks.
The party called on the international community to “come to the aid of Plateau people as apart from the over 130 people killed, many are missing.”
The PDP in a statement by its Publicity Secretary in Plateau State, John Akans, described the attacks as genocide.
He said, “We received with rude shock the level of genocide going on now in the Gashish District, Razat, Ruku Nyarr and Gana-Ropp, all in the Barkin Ladi LGA. We also note with great pains the dastardly attacks ongoing in many other LGAs in the state by the Fulani militias.
“We condemn, in the strongest terms, the level of continuous genocidal attacks on Plateau people. At the moment, Barkin Ladi is under siege by the marauders with over 130 people feared to have been killed. As of the time of issuing this statement, CAPRO School of Missions-SOM in Gana-Ropp is under heavy attack by the militia.
“…We call on the international community to come to the aid of Plateau people as beside the over 130 people killed, many are missing. While we mourn our people, we are calling on this failed, incompetent and ineffective APC government at all levels to, for once, be sensitive by discharging its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and properties of its citizens.
“While killings are going on, the President (Muhammadu Buhari) is busy telling members of the international community that Nigeria is safe for investment and tourism.
“While the Federal Government is planning to pump hundreds of billions of naira into the construction of cattle ranches in states, killings are ongoing in states that have not put in place any ban on open grazing.”
But the Plateau State Government commiserated with citizens especially, Xland, Gindin Akwati communities of the Barkin Ladi LGA, saying it held every single life as sacred.
The government requested citizens to use the “early warning system” mechanism recently launched by Operation Rainbow on 30812 for SMS and 09060100010 for voice calls.
A statement by the Plateau State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Yakubu Dati, said the government was deeply pained that despite concerted efforts which had led to the restoration of relative peace in the state, “some unpatriotic elements are bent on disrupting the gains so far made.”
He said, “The government condemns these attacks and has mobilised the full compliments of security forces and they are restoring normalcy in the affected areas and the environs. Furthermore, the government holds every single life as sacred hence has mobilised medical and relief agencies to ameliorate the suffering of those in distress.
“As a government, we are committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment that will guarantee peaceful coexistence among the various groups in the state as we remain resolute to the well being of our people.” (Punch)
• Commissions abandoned flyover bridge in Jos
Gyang Bere, Jos
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that he will address the perennial violence between farmers and herdsmen which has claimed several lives in the country.
He described as gory and inhuman, the killing of innocent people in Benue, Taraba and Zamfara States where many people were displaced and communities destroyed.
Buhari disclosed this yesterday, during a town hall meeting and the launch of the Plateau State Road Map to Peace, which held at the New Government House, Rayfield, Jos. It was part of his two-day working visit to the state.
He said: “I’m concerned about the insecurity in the country which was why when I came on board in 2015, I visited Chad, Niger and other neighbouring countries to ensure mutual working relationship. What happened in Benue is quite regrettable; we are working towards addressing insecurity in the country.”
“The damage which has been done in this country, only God will judge. I will continue to follow due process and observe human rights in the recovery of looted funds.”
He said he would look into public outcry on the marginalisation of women in the country as well as tackle unemployment which has constituted a set back among youths.
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, on his part appealed to the president to tackle the conflict between farmers and herdsmen, which has consumed several lives in the country, with seriousness.
He lamented that scores of innocent lives were lost recently in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa and Plateau States, where several families were rendered homeless and communities destroyed.
“I want to appeal that the increasing cases of violence between Fulani and farmers in the country need to be taken with all sense of seriousness, because of the number of lives that have perished. We are happy that you made the vice president to head the committee on the conflict between farmers and herdsmen and we are seeing positive results.”
As a result of the clash in Benue State, Quanpan Local Government Area, Lalong disclosed that the state is hosting over 4,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
He described the condition of the IDPs, made up of children, women and the aged, as pathetic and sought the intervention of the Federal Government in settling the displaced families to their respective communities.
Lalong, while commending President Buhari’s concept of fighting corruption, which has attracted international recognition, said Plateau is following his footstep in this regard.
He revealed that the state was working in collaboration with EFCC to prosecute past government officials who have been indicted for corruption.
The governor said the state had committed N20 billion to the construction of federal roads in the state, saying only N2 billion has been released as reimbursement.
He appealed to the president to order for the quick release of such funds for adequate intervention on most roads that have turned death traps.
Lalong urged the president to award the contract for the dualisation of Abuja/Jos road. He said many souls have perished as a result of the incessant crash due to the dilapidated nature of the road.
He said his administration inherited a debt profile of N250 billion from the past administration, six months salary arrears of civil servants and 13 months pension arrears which have been cleared and the state is up-to-date in payment of salaries.
Meanwhile, the president had commissioned a flyover bridge at the Secretariat Roundabout in Jos South Local Government Area amid tight security.
Daily Sun observed that there was a combined security operative at Mararaban Jama’a and at the flyover bridge. He expressed delight over the project and encouraged the governor to continue with infrastructure development.
Lalong, while welcoming the president to the ceremony, recalled that the bridge was abandoned at 30 percent completion and was inherited by the rescue administration and completed to ease movement of people into the state capital.
He expressed joy that the project was being commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, whom he said had encouraged governors to continue with abandoned projects as enshrined in the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress. (The Sun)