Photo: Gov Simon Lalong of Plateau State
A group, Plateau Our Heritage (POH), a sociocultural organisation, says the Plateau State government has not demonstrated enough responsibility with regards to the continuous killing of its innocent citizens by unknown gunmen and must step up efforts to stem the tide of such bloodbath in the state.
Reacting to the recent attacks on some communities in Bassa and Riyom local governments, where no fewer than 17 people were killed and a deluge of unripe crops completely cut down, the group on Thursday said that such impunity would only occur where government failed in its primary responsibility of securing lives and property.
“We in the Plateau Our Heritage group, POH, are totally disappointed with the body language of the government at all levels on the war that has been declared on our people with no form of attempts to halt it.
“Governments at all levels are instituded for the primary responsibility of protecting its citizens, whereas in this instance, government has incompetently failed its people.
“It has been witnessed in recent times, that apart from the daily kidnappings and killings in Jos city and other Plateau lands, the enemies have deviced another plot by engaging in the decimation of unripe farm crops with the government at local and state levels paying irrelevant lip service as usual.
“We are further worried over the unabated attacks which point to the fact that the government and its agencies are either overwhelmed or are in support of the ongoing carnage in the communities.
“This is especially in Miango, Bassa, Riyom, Barkin Ladi, Jos South and Bokkos LGAs axis, where no arrests of any sort have been made, even when victims have said it times without number; that their tormentors are sponsored and fully armed herdsmen.
“The sophistication that the attackers employed during the attacks are indeed, something to worry about but since government is in place to provide solutions to these security challenges, the people have remained calm with the hope that the government is on ground to its responsibilities.
“The attacks on irigwe village which is bordering the Nigerian Army’s 3rd Armored Division, Rukuba Barracks, started around 7pm and lasted for over four hours unhindered and undistracted, with over 250 houses razed down from the villages of Zanwra to Kpatenvie (Jebbu-Miango).
“The villages set ablaze are Zanwra, Nche-Tahu, Rikwe-Rishe A and B, Ri-Dogo, Nchu-Nzhwa all under Kpatenvie (Jebbu-Miango) of Kpachudu Community.
‘’This is a very disturbing moment for the Irigwe chiefdom, which has continued to bear the brunt alone with the governments it also voted for turning a blind eye to their cry and sufferings.
“This aggression is a clear violation of the universal protocol and can also be classified as a genocide against the minority tribes on the Plateau; who have a right to live and participate in all forms of legitimate pursuits and this is not acceptable to the POH and the good people of Plateau State.
“A situation where over 40 hectres of farmlands with variety of crops completely destroyed beyond resurrection and growth; is a delicate matter that is delibrately employed to not only impoverish the state and starve its citizens; but also to intimidate and or exterminate them through hunger and violence,” the group said in a statement signed by its chairman, Hon Alex Kwapnoe.
The group therefore called on the state government to rise to its cardinal responsibility by doing the needful to save the situation by getting the attackers arrested and brought to justice. It also urged government to urgently take an inventory of the destruction of both human and farm resources and send relief materials to the victims.