In a powerful display of solidarity, citizens of Plateau came together in large numbers for a candlelight vigil to mourn and honor the resilient spirit of their fellow brethren who fell victim to the recent massacre in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi during the Christmas Eve Attacks.
The Plateau Youth G17 Peace and Progressive Forum led the community in a solemn program at Secretariat Junction on Sunday, January 7, 2024. The gathering provided a flickering glow of unity, strength, comfort, and a shared determination to forge a future marked by collective efforts towards enduring peace. The event featured various tributes, encouraging songs, and poignant poems.
Plateau State Governor Caleb Mutfwang addressed the solemn assembly, acknowledging the trying time faced by the Plateau State Government. He assured the citizens that the government would not betray them and reaffirmed its commitment to the mandate of securing the people.
Governor Mutfwang, represented by Plateau State Commissioner for Information, Hon. Musa Ibrahim Ashoms, stated, “Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning.” He called for the implementation of state policing, citing the vast territories that have challenged the control of federal security forces and provided a haven for terrorists.
Addressing the recent statement by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), which alleged over 300 deaths days before the Christmas Eve attacks, Governor Mutfwang labeled it as misleading and malicious. He cautioned against the spread of false rumors and clarified that the state government had not declared a public holiday but encouraged citizens to dress in black as the week-long mourning period concluded.
Governor Mutfwang urged for continued prayers, solidarity, and support for the government’s efforts in ensuring peace and security for all.
Rev. Joshua Sati, Leader of Plateau G17, expressed dismay at the manner in which individuals were killed, emphasizing the heart-wrenching realization that these innocent lives were no more. He called for a change in the nation’s security architecture, advocating for the decentralization of security to local communities through community policing.
“When will Enough be Enough? It is time to change the security architecture of this nation, It is time for us to bring down security to the grassroots, through community policing; we are calling on the Government to do the needful,” he asserted.
Rev. Sati appreciated the presence of those gathered, including members of the state executive council and the support of Hon. Dachung Musa Bagos. While acknowledging the federal government’s response, he urged the president to rise to the occasion and address the issue permanently.
The poignant highlight of the event was the collective lighting of candles in honor of the over 150 individuals massacred across 23 villages in Bokkos and Barkin Local Government Areas of Plateau State.