Plateau massacre: Politicians behind killings - Buhari

Plateau massacre: Politicians behind killings – Buhari

…No, arrest perpetrators, prosecute them, says PDP
…CAN: FG needs to review security machinery
…IGP deploys DIG, others to restore peace in troubled LGAs
President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the latest massacre of no fewer than 100 persons in nine communities of Plateau State, saying politicians ‘‘are taking advantage of the situation’’ which he described as ‘‘incredibly unfortunate.”

Buhari, who stated this in a statement made available by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Monday, also noted that a number of geographical and economic factors are contributing to the longstanding herdsmen/farmers clashes.

The President urged “Nigerians affected by the herdsmen/farmers clashes to always allow the due process of the law to take its course rather than taking matters into their own hands.

The statement reads in part, “According to information available to the Presidency, about 100 cattle had been rustled by a community in Plateau State, and some herdsmen were killed in the process.

The state Governor, Simon Lalong, had invited the aggrieved groups and pleaded against further action while the law enforcement agents looked into the matter. Less than 24 hours later, violence broke out.

“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 (APC) Convention in Abuja, the state governor had to dismantle a number of illegal road blocks set up by these thugs. There were also a number of dead bodies thugs had killed, lying along the road.”

For its part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) decried the gruesome killing of innocent Nigerians in the affected communities on Saturday.

The party expressed regrets that if President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC had adhered to wise counsel by the PDP and Nigerians, such killings would have been averted.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party insisted that the President’s failure to address and bring to book, the perpetrators of killings and bloodletting in various parts of the country is emboldening insurgents and marauders to further attack and murder defenseless Nigerians.

“It is most disheartening that compatriots are being killed daily because those saddled with the responsibility of safeguarding lives, care less about the wellbeing and safety of the people, as they focus only on their ill-fated 2019 re-election bid.

“Even when the Zamfara State Governor, Abdul-aziz Yari cried out that he was overwhelmed by the spate of insecurity and killings, the Federal Government gave him an ineffectual response laced with their trite blame game.

“We urge Nigerians to note that since the escalation of killings and bloodletting in various parts of the country, particularly in Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Adamawa, Yobe, Borno, Zamfara, Kaduna and other states, no concrete steps have been taken by the APC administration to strengthen and fortify the security architecture in the troubled areas.

“Instead, what we are witnessing are inactions, impotent assurances and blame games that have continued to compromise security in the areas thereby creating opening for marauders to continue to ravage our people”, he said.

The PDP insisted that if the over 7,000 security personnel, police surveillance helicopters and Armoured Personnel Carriers were not withdrawn from their primary security duties and drafted to be part of the APC national convention, the marauders would not have had a field day in this Plateau attack.

Besides, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has also expressed disappointment and shock at the spate of killings that was unleashed on three local government areas of Plateau State by herdsmen.

The CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, in a statement on Monday said: “We are alarmed that no fewer than 86 lives, as confirmed by the police, have been lost, including defenceless women and children.

We are sad that despite assurances and promises by President Buhari that his government is committed to safety of lives and property, these coordinated and premeditated attacks on Plateau towns were not only horrendous but also unprecedented.”

Ayokunle, stated that the organisation was at a loss how scores of people can be killed without any form of resistance by soldiers deployed to contain the security challenge.

“How could dare devil criminals assault communities without resistance by security agencies to stop these 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 the Nigeria’s security system has been compromised.

From all indications, these attacks on the Plateau clearly show that the Federal Government needs to review its security machinery in a bid to make it effective”.

The Association called on the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations and the African Union, amongst others, to assist the Nigerian government to protect citizens against the killer herdsmen.

In a related development, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris, on Monday, directed the relocation of Deputy Inspector General of Police, Force Department of Operations to Plateau State to restore peace in three local government areas where over 86 persons were killed at te weekend.

Also, two Helicopters, five APCs, three PMF Units, two CTU Cells and Police Intelligence Unit were deployed to the trouble spots.

Police Special investigation Team, comprising IRT, STS and TIU led by Commissioner of Police, IGP Monitoring Unit deployed to Plateau State on Sunday have since commenced investigation into the ugly incident.

A statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer, Ag. DCP Jimoh Moshood, expressed deep concern over the recent killings of innocent people in Barkin-Ladi (Gashishi), Riyom, Jos South LGAs and other flash points in the state.

Idris, the statement added, is concerned about the attendant disturbance of public peace, clashes and mayhem that engulfed the affected areas in Plateau State on June 23 and 24, 2018 which resulted in the loss of several innocent lives, burning of houses and vehicles, and destruction of property in Barkin-Ladi, Riyom, Jos South LGA and other flash points in the state.

The police further urged members of the public in the affected areas, other flash points or in any other location in the state in distress or with information to the Police Special Intervention Force and the investigation team can call the following numbers: 07059473022, 08038907662, 08075391844, and 09053872296 for assistance.

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Chuka Francis

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