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Trace whereabouts of 17,000 missing persons, Reps charge FG

The House of Representatives on Thursday challenged the federal government and relevant security agencies to exhaust all lawful means in tracing the whereabouts of all missing persons estimated at 17, 000 with 7, 000 being children.

The call is consequent upon the adoption of the motion sponsored by Representative Edward Pwajok, seeking the investigation of the crises in the northern parts of Plateau state as well as an end to the indiscriminate arrest of civilians by the army.

Pwajok in his lead debate said that the recent escalation of the crisis in the northern parts of Plateau state is worrisome and expressed concern that the unending violence has assumed an alarming dimension with violent attacks on communities which has led to the loss of lives and property, forceful occupation of ancestral lands and displacement of thousands of citizens.

He added that even security personnel are also casualties of these attacks, stating that many have been gruesomely killed through acts of terrorism.

According to him, there are reports of mass arrest of residents of Du area extending up to Rayfield, the breaking into houses of citizens without search warrants, stoppage and mishandling of motorists on the road by soldiers.

“There are reports that many of the people, including pregnant women and the aged were and are being arrested and taken to Rukuba Barracks of the 3rd Armoured Division of the Nigeria Army for interrogation with some of them spending many days there,” the lawmaker said.

Pwajok maintained that the fear and tension pervading some communities in Jos South Local Government has led to citizens fleeing their homes due to reports of army brutality, a development he said jeopardizes efforts at gathering intelligence required to find missing persons and exposing criminals.

He posited that ethnic profiling and labelling of some ethnic groups as terrorists defeats the intent and purpose of crime fighting and stressed the need for security agencies and the government to act within the law and respect the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights of citizens.

Adopting the motion, the House condemned the attacks in Plateau state and called on the federal government to put a stop to the killings, attacks and kidnapping in the state.

It also urged the government, community/religious leaders and citizens to be genuinely committed to the reconciliation and peace process just as it mandated its committees on army, defence, police and human rights to ensure compliance and report back within two weeks.

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