Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, has declared a week of mourning from January 1st to January 8th, 2024, in memory of those slain in the Christmas Eve attacks across villages in the state’s Bokkos, Mangu, and Barkin-Ladi LGAs.
In a state-wide broadcast on Monday, the governor also ordered that flags be flown at half-mast, urged citizens to engage in intense prayers for divine intervention in the state, and asked Muslim and Christian clerics to set aside Friday, January 5th, and Sunday, January 7th, 2024, for special prayers in worship centres, respectively.
The governor, who described the attacks as “premeditated and coordinated acts of criminality, insurgency, and terrorism,” emphasised that the narrative of Farmer-Herder clashes is wrong as the true situation is genocide.
His words: “I welcome you to 2024, our year of hope amid conflict, our year of deliverance, restoration, and progress. We indeed ended the year 2023 on a sad note because of the many precious lives we lost, including, but not limited to, over 400 between April and June 2023, as well as over 160 in the recent Christmas genocide.
“These unprovoked and simultaneous attacks in different villages were premeditated and coordinated. These series of attacks on our people are a clear case of criminality, insurgency, and terrorism and must be seen and handled in that manner if we are to succeed in halting this wanton destruction of lives and property.
“For the avoidance of doubt, it is a misrepresentation of facts to describe these needless and unprovoked attacks on our people as a farmer-herder clash, as has always been the traditional narrative. Let us call a spade a spade; this is simple genocide! I commiserate with my dear Plateau people on these monumental killings, especially the affected communities and the families of the deceased.
“We will not rest on our oars but will tirelessly collaborate with the Federal Government to bring an end to these tragedies and bring succour to affected persons and communities.”
He added, “As a mark of honour for the memory of the deceased, I wish to declare a week of mourning from January 1st to January 8th, 2024. During this period of mourning, flags will fly at half-mast. I urge all citizens to use these days for intense prayers to seek the intervention of the Almighty God in defending our territories and against wicked men who have risen against us.
“I wish to plead with our Muslim clerics to dedicate Friday, January 5th, 2024, and our Christian clerics to use Sunday, January 7th, 2024, as a special prayer day for lasting peace to return to the Plateau. Monday, January 8, 2024, will be observed as our official state day of mourning.
“It is gratifying that, despite these onslaughts, our spirits are not broken. Our resolve to defend our land and prosper therein has remained unshakeable. I am therefore confident that 2024 will reveal our inner strength and resilience in the face of these tribulations.”
The Governor further highlighted some of his administration’s achievements, including efforts to revamp security, clear salary backlogs, and payments of gratuity, death benefits, and pension arrears, and announced a fuel subsidy of N10,000 per month for workers from September 2023 to March 2024, pending a federal wage review.