Fresh anxiety in Plateau as gunmen kill vigilante

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    There is no let up in the killings in Plateau State as gunmen suspected to be herdsmen struck again yesterday, killing a vigilante and stealing nine cows belonging to the Anglican Archbishop of Jos, the Right Reverend Benjamin Kwashe.

    The State Police Command spokesman, Terna Tyopev, said the incident occurred at Kangan community of Jos South Local Government Area.

    Also yesterday in Jos, the Plateau State capital, the Berom demanded the return of their 52 villages allegedly seized by suspected herdsmen.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Tyopev as saying: “Today, at about 7a.m, we received information that nine cattle, belonging to the Anglican Archbishop of Jos were rustled by men suspected to be herdsmen”.

    “In the process, one Adamu Dung, 46, vigilante in the area was shot and killed by the rustlers,” Tyopev said.

    The body has been deposited at the Bingham University Hospital, Jos.

    The police, he said, had begun investigation into the matter.

    Last Sunday, suspected herdsmen attacked Barkin-Ladi, Riyom, in Jos South Local Government Areas of the state, killing no fewer than 86 people.

    The Berom people alleged that rampaging Fulani herdsmen have seized and are forcefully occupying 52 Berom villages across the state.

    They want the herdsmen to vacate the villages and return them to the owners in the interest of peace.

    The Plateau Initiative for Development and Advancement of the Natives  (PIDAN), the umbrella body of all the ethnic nationalities in the  state, asked the federal government to intervene and order a thorough investigation into last Sunday’s  attacks on several communities in the state by herdsmen.

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    It said the culprits should be prosecuted.

    PIDAN President, Dr.Aboi Madaki told reporters  that 22 of the  sacked villages are in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, 18 in Riyom LGA, seven in Bokkos LGA and five in Bassa LGA.

    He also advocated a review of the current security system in the country to “allow the chief security officer of the State have power to draw on the security operatives in the early phase of any attack without making recourse to the President .”

    He added: “This arrangement will certainly reduce the level of loss of lives and property in future. It is pertinent to note that the constitution places all security matters under the presidency. This situation has left many state Governors, as chief security officers of their states, without power to immediately stop any crisis.

    “This, we believe, has placed enormous restraint on our governor’s efforts in addressing the spate of attacks in the State.”

    He also called for more police posts at the village level and the strengthening of  the village-level vigilante system to work effectively towards enhanced community policing thereby improving security at the community level.

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    Besides, Madaki advised the government and security agencies to  “conduct a thorough search of all the Fulani settlements in the State with a view to arresting those with weapons of mass killings and those foreign to the conflict areas and settlements.

    We must defeat  violence -Dogara

    House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara  declared yesterday that Nigeria cannot afford to lose the fight against violence  and still maintain democracy.

    Dogara, on a visit to Jos, the Plateau State capital over last week’s killings, said: “Whatever it takes, we have to defeat violence. Because if we do not, we may think now it is affecting only Plateau and some selected states in Nigeria but unfortunately, mayhem like these can lead to chaos on a national scale.

    “It may lead to a scale that may even play out outside the territory known as Nigeria, with international implications. It is therefore our collective responsibility to ensure this doesn’t occur again, and if we’re determined, we’ll be able to stamp it out.”

    The Speaker described the killings as a collective loss not just to the affected communities and families, but to the country as a whole.

    “When events like these happen, the tendency is to ask what the government is doing about it?” he said.

    “I had cause to have an interface with the President, in company of the Senate President, and he has assured that the affected communities will be rebuilt. He has even directed NEMA to take census of what has happened and present the implication to him for approval. He also talked about looking at the security architecture to see what can be done in order to ensure that we do not have a repeat of this type of tragedy.”

    He promised that the national assembly would work with the security agencies and the Executive to provide whatever is necessarily needed to end the mayhem across Nigeria, and to provide support and funding through appropriation to be able to deal with this challenge that is a serious threat to all Nigerians.

    The Speaker also called for wider consultations and coordinated efforts to restore peace.

    Governor Simon Lalong, in his remarks, thanked members of the National Assembly for their concern regarding the insecurity in the state. He lamented the resurgence of violence following more than three years of uninterrupted peace and pledged the commitment of his administration to restoring harmony.

    The speaker and his entourage  later  paid a condolence visit to the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba and also visited victims of the violence who are receiving treatment at the University  of Jos Teaching Hospital.

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