Tinubu breaks silence on Plateau, Benue killings

President Bola Tinubu, Tuesday, reacted to the raging insecurity in some parts of the country when he condemned the recent internecine killings in Mangu Council of Plateau State and parts of Benue State, calling for an end to the cycle of violence in the country.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, Dele Alake, President Tinubu charged various socio-cultural and religious bodies in the two states to take steps to halt the carnage.

In particular, he urged community leaders, religious leaders, traditional rulers, socio-cultural organisations as well as the leadership of Arewa Consultative Forum, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to work together to help foster genuine and long-lasting peace while rebuilding trust and restoring harmony to the conflict areas.

Tinubu said he found it very depressing the festering reprisal attacks, needless and avoidable bloodletting among communities in Plateau and Benue.

“It is most unfortunate that in this orgy of violence, an innocent eight-month-old baby in Farin Lamba community of Vwang District, Jos South Local Government, died in a conflict she knew nothing about. A major consequence of perennial conflict is always the tragic loss of innocent lives.

“To build virile, peaceful and prosperous communities demand tolerance and forgiveness for every perceived wrongdoing,” the President said.

While reaffirming his government’s strong determination to stamp out violent crimes and all forms of criminalities everywhere in Nigeria, the President directed security agencies to fish out the masterminds of the dastardly acts to face the full wrath of law.

He also charged the governments of Plateau and Benue states and emergency response agencies to provide support and immediate relief to victims who have been displaced as a result of the conflicts.

As a preventive measure, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has relocated its permanent orientation camp from Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau to Jos, the state capital. Though NYSC did not give specific reasons for the decision, the development is not unconnected to the degenerating security situation in the state, particularly in Mangu.

Head of the Public Relations Unit of NYSC in Plateau, Jennifer Laha, confirmed the relocation. She noted that the 2023 Batch “B” Stream I Orientation Course had been scheduled to hold nationwide from today, July 12 to August 1.”

The House of Representatives also asked National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, to declare a national emergency on killings in Plateau. The lower legislative chamber passed the resolution during plenary session on Tuesday following the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Dachung Bagos, a lawmaker from Plateau.

The rising insecurity in the North-Central state took a new twist in recent weeks as incidents of violent attacks, killings, kidnapping, and arson have been recorded in some parts of the state. Following the incident, Governor Caleb Mutfwang imposed a 24-hour curfew in the LGA.

While moving the motion, Bagos said there has been “an increase in the rate of insecurity and killing of innocent souls within his constituency.

“The attacks have been occurring in some parts of Plateau for some months now with farmlands completely destroyed,” he said.

“Seven miners of my immediate constituency were gruesomely killed in cold blood on July 9 around Farin Lamba of Jos South LGA. Most of my people live in fear of the unknown due to insecurity and can no longer access their farmlands with ease, which is their main source of livelihood.”

The lawmaker, who represents Jos South/North federal constituency, said if the situation is not addressed, citizens will experience food shortages as Plateau is one of the main producers of food crops in the country.

Following the adoption of the motion, the lawmakers asked acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Olukayode Egbetokun, to investigate the killings and ensure culprits are brought to justice.

Earlier on Monday, Bagos had asked his constituents to defend themselves in the face of assault, adding that they have the constitutional right to do so.

Rising from its meeting in Abuja yesterday, governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) charged the Federal Government to take measures to curtail rising insecurity across the country. It specifically expressed worries about security situations in Plateau and Zamfara states.

On Monday, four police officers were killed by bandits on Gusau-Sokoto road in Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfara. The slain officers were at a checkpoint on the highway when the terrorists ambushed and opened fire on them.

In a communiqué read by the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, “the meeting noted the deteriorating security situation in the country. The meeting consequently advised the Federal Government and security agencies to rise to the situation and bring it under control.”

The meeting also advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, and the Federal Government to be neutral in the conduct of off-season elections in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo states.

Those who attended the meeting include Mohammed (Bauchi); Bassey Umo Eno (Akwa Ibom); Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa); Douye Diri (Bayelsa); Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta) and Peter Mbah (Enugu).

Others are Caleb Mutfwang (Plateau); Ademola Adeleke (Osun); Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde (Oyo); Godwin Obaseki (Edo); Kefas Agbu (Taraba) and Dauda Lawal (Zamfara).

Meanwhile, Southeast governors have resolved to meet President Tinubu over insecurity in the region and possible release of detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

The meeting, which was hosted by the Imo State governor, Hope Uzodimma on Monday night in Abuja, attracted top political stakeholders, including executive members of Ohaneze Ndigbo, governors in the region, members of National Assembly, Speakers of Southeast Assemblies and other notable Southeast leaders.

It was gathered that the major discussion centred around security challenges in the region with a view to addressing it. It was further revealed that one of the top agendas of the meeting, which was kept secret, was how to prevail on President Tinubu to consider the release of Kanu as it was identified as one of the factors responsible for insecurity in the zone.

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