Barr. Caleb Mutfwang, the governor of Plateau State, has issued a dire warning: if significant action is not taken to stop the wave of murders and other violent crimes, the nation would end up like Somalia.
The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogora, led some current and former House members on a condolence visit to the state on Saturday after terrorists recently massacred about 200 people in the local government areas of Bokkos, Mangu, and Barkin Ladi. The governor made his remarks in Jos, the state capital.
Mutfwang thanked the former Speaker for consistently standing up for the state and urged him to continue advocating for the interests of the people rather than becoming silent.
“There is a deliberate orchestrated plan to cause mayhem to discomfort us. We may be knocked down, but we are not knocked out. Our spirits are not broken. God has placed us where we are, and He will preserve us.”
In addition to expressing remorse that the killings on the Plateau had gone unchecked for so long, the governor warned Nigeria that if its security issues are not resolved, it could end up like Somalia.
“It is unfortunate that this circle has continued for years. We are praying that as a nation we will get it right so that we toe the path of justice that we don’t allow people to slip into self-help because once we allow the people to go into self-help, we will become another Somalia.
“There is an economy that has been built around this insecurity. We need to know who the financiers are and who paid for the hundreds of AK47 rifles. Where did they get them from,” Mutfwang queried.
Dogara had before attacked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the way he was handling the nation’s security crisis and counselled him against following in the shameful footsteps of his predecessors.
Dogara said Tinubu’s predecessors only mourned victims of killings in press statements, thereby reducing themselves to mourners-in-chief instead of taking responsibility as commanders-in-chief.
He asked the President to step up, find the nation’s violent offenders and sponsors, and bring them to justice by using all the coercive tools at his disposal.
Dogara insisted that people who were behind the genocide and outbreak of violence were trying to destroy Nigerian culture and that they needed to be stopped.
In related news, a coalition of Plateau State’s indigenous youth groups and ethnic nationalities has demanded an investigation into claims that Sector 5 of Operation Safe Haven colluded with the Fulani terror groups to attack the communities of Barkin Ladi, Mangu, and Bokkos, resulting in multiple fatalities and the destruction of property valued at millions of naira.
Paul Dekete, the coalition’s state chairman, made the announcement on Saturday during a press conference in Jos.
Terrorists slaughtered around 100 people on Christmas Eve in 25 towns in Bokkos LGA alone.
Following the attacks that resulted in the displacement of over 10,000 individuals, the military authorities redeployed Lt Col T.T. Pave, the Sector Commander of Operation Safe overseeing Bokkos LGA, and selected a new Commander for the Council Area.
It was discovered that on January 3, 2024, the coalition of ethnic nations from the 17 LGs in the state convened in Mangu LG to discuss the deaths and to assess the state’s security conditions.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday in Jos, the alliance of ethnic nationalities demanded that the Federal Government look into the former Sector Commander’s actions and denounced his role in the attacks on the communities.
Speaking, Paul Dekete criticised the state’s local government chairmen’s lack of commitment to security-related issues and demanded that the state government require all local government councils to establish and finance local security outfits/vigilante groups right away as early warning and early response mechanisms to stop the wave of killing across the state pending the requisite response from the Federal Security agents.
The chairman said, “The coalition observes with deep concern the actions of military personnel on the Plateau based on their actions and responses during distress situations. The youth has lost trust and confidence in the personnel especially personnel of Sector 5 in Bokkos LG.
“The attention of the coalition has been drawn to the harsh molestation of our people in Bokkos by personnel deployed for peace restoration in the area, after the massacre, such personnel should be called to order.
“The coalition also observed that there is a deliberate attempt by the Fulani militias to prevent victims from returning to their ancestral land/homes by looting their property and food items. The coalition is calling on the government to take necessary action aimed at stopping the looting of property of victims/displaced persons.
“So far, statistics show that more than 200 locals were killed in Bokkos alone, with over three 300, 1,290, 81 burnt, 19,995 persons displaced, now taking refuge at the mini stadium in Bokkos, apart from those who had fled to relatives in other parts of the state and country.
“While displaced persons from various villages are taking refuge in Bokkos town, information at the coalition disposal indicates that some armed Fulani are been hosted at Maling (Angwan Hausawa). We are calling on security agents to search and disarm them to avoid future attacks and killing of innocent citizens.”
Attempts to obtain a response from Maj. Gen. Buba Edward, Director of Defence Media Operations, were unsuccessful.
As of the time this complaint was filed, he had not responded to a message left on the subject, despite multiple calls to his number indicating that it was unreachable.