Paramount Ruler, Irigwe ethnic nationality in Plateau State, Rev. Ronku Aku, yesterday lamented the tragedy that befell his people in Bassa Local Government Area following the recent invasion of their communities by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.
Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Plateau State, described the recent killings in some parts of Plateau, particularly in Bassa, Jos South and Riyom LGA as “abominable and against the teachings of Islam.”
The monarch made this allegation yesterday when the President of the Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, paid him a condolence visit at his palace, Miango.
The foundation, committed to nation-building through the promotion of peaceful coexistence and social justice in Nigeria, visited the monarch after a meeting with the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and donated relief materials.
Addressing the meeting, the monarch alleged that security operatives deployed to the communities told him that they did not rescue the people during the attacks because they had no order to repel the invaders.
Aku said the destruction that took place in his kingdom had further exposed the handicap of the governors and the council chairmen as Chief Security Officers in their respective areas of jurisdiction in the country.
He said: “I do not blame the Chairman of Bassa Local Government Area or the Governor of Plateau State over the calamity that has befallen my people. At peace meetings, the governor will give order but the security men will go and do a different thing.
“During the recent attacks in my communities, the soldiers and other security operatives were around as the invaders were carrying out the attacks in Jebu Miango and advancing to other communities. We expected them to confront the invaders and stop the destruction going on but that did not happen.
“The soldiers did not repel the invaders. When I enquired what was happening, some soldiers cried to me that they did not receive the order to repel the attackers on the communities.
“Some of them who expressed frustration over the situation wondered the essence of holding guns, which they could not use and left the scene while the attackers continued with their destruction in the communities.
“If the security agents were deployed and allowed to do their job, maybe, the attackers would not have succeeded with their evil plans. My people would not be suffering what they are experiencing at the moment.
“But we do not want more deaths in the communities. I have told my people not to retaliate, but we need justice going forward.”
While condemning the attack, Para-Mallam said the violence in the communities should not be allowed to continue.
He, therefore, asked the federal government to double efforts at protecting the lives and property of the citizens.
Some herdsmen had last week invaded over ten communities in Bassa LGA, killed scores of persons and set over 400 houses on fire. Over 22,000 persons were reportedly displaced in the attack that left several others injured.
In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Sani Mudi, JNI described the development as worrisome, adding that it posed serious threats to the peace efforts of the state government.
He called on the affected persons to sheath their swords and embrace dialogue toward achieving lasting peace and harmony in all parts of the state.
“JNI in Plateau State under the leadership of Alhaji Muhammad Haruna, the Emir of Wase, wishes to express its deep concern over the recurring violence in Bassa, Jos South, Riyom and the attempt by some miscreants to reignite conflict in Jos North Local Government Area through unprovoked attacks on innocent citizens and destruction of properties.
“These are truly worrisome developments which pose serious threats to the efforts of the state government to solidify the gains made through its peace-building activities which have so far delivered impressive results.
”JNI views the bloody crises in Bassa and Riyom as an abominable desecration of lives which is against the teaching of Islam. We therefore wish to appeal to all concerned to sheath the sword and embrace the path of peace and reconciliation.
“This can only be achieved by embracing dialogue, anchored on truth and sincerity, in our approach to resolving conflicts, which are inevitable in the nature of human relations,” Mudi said.
The JNI further advised that for lasting peace to be achieved in all parts of the state, stakeholders must look deeply into the root causes with a view to addressing them.
It also condemned the recent unprovoked attacks on innocent citizens in Jos North, alleging that it was orchestrated to disrupt the relative peace being enjoyed in the locality.
“Viewing the persistent nature of the bloody conflicts which seem to defy all solutions so far, and its increasingly ugly dimensions, we are compelled to advise that in order to find lasting solutions and achieve sustainable peace among the communities, it is imperative to look deeply into the underlying causes of these conflicts.
“We believe this, though seemingly herculean task, has the best chance of providing an opportunity for a thorough look at the multifaceted nature of the conflicts in Bassa and Riyom with the sparks in some parts of Jos South.
“The unfortunate incident of violent attacks on innocent persons and their properties in the evening of in Gada Biyu area of Jos North is unacceptable and stands condemned in the strongest terms.
“We view it as a planned act to disrupt the peace being enjoyed in the city and re-enact the unacceptable scenarios of bloodshed and destruction of property which the current administration had put strenuous efforts to conquer and restore hope through result yielding peace-building activities in the last six years,” he said.
The group commended Gov. Simon Lalong and the security agencies for the efforts put in place by ensuring that the violent conflicts did not escalate to other parts of the state.
It urged the governor not to be deterred by these happenings but to remain focused on providing dividends of democracy to the people.
The IJN also urged the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of this heinous crime and their collaborators and ensure they faced the full wrath of the law.
“This will serve as a deterrent to would-be perpetrators of violence and conflict merchants in the state, “it said.