The Federal Government has been accused of deliberately underplaying the degree of insecurity in Plateau State, North Central Nigeria following incessant killings resulting from unending clashes among ethnic communities in the state.
The assertion was made by the spokesperson for the Lagos State House of Assembly and Chairman, House Committee on Information, Strategy, Security and Publicity representing Epe Constituency II, Hon Segun Olulade while reacting to Monday’s killing of 30 people and burning of about 25 houses by gunmen in a fresh attack at the Bachit District of Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Olulade who alleged that even now that it has become crystal clear to the whole world that Governor Jonah Jang has failed at ensuring security of lives and properties in the state for his inability to bring the ugly situation under control of his government, the Federal Government is still very sentimental and adamant at reviewing security situation in the state and considering larger options possible to forestall peace in Plateau State.
While referring to recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports published 12th December 2013 which alleged that government is “Turning a Blind Eye to Mass Killings” in the State, Olulade said the attacks being carried out in affected areas of Plateau are not too different from that of Boko Haram insurgent. “Gunmen often troop into villages, numbering hundreds and start shooting sporadically in commando-like manner, mostly while innocent people were asleep or have gone to farm, leaving hundreds of people dead and their houses burnt to ashes”.
“The security situation in Plateau State has gone beyond what Governor Jang can handle, therefore, the Federal Government should drop its long-nurtured sentiment and intervene to protect lives and properties of innocent citizens, just like it’s doing in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States”, he said.
Olulade recalled that the situation in Plateau has been so tensed and unchecked that an open attack once claimed the life of a serving Senator at a public mass burial, with many other high profile citizens dead in previous attacks.
According to HRW investigations into Plateau crisis released by UN agency, Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN), the Nigerian authorities have failed to break the cycle of violence and have rarely brought the perpetrators to justice. The violence, which has continued for years, precedes the Boko Haram violence in North-Eastern Nigeria, and the situation in the state has further been fuelled by Boko Haram also claiming responsibility for few of the attacks.
“In a situation where aggrieved communities frequently take the law into their own hands and carry out brutal revenge killings against members of other communities in retaliatory cycles of violence, leaving people dead with the State government unable to curb it over time, Mr. President needs to rise to the task, drop party affinity with Mr. Jonah Jang and initiate process for larger option in Plateau State”, he stressed.