By Lateef Ibrahim, Samuel Ogidan, Emmanuel Ulayi, Moses Gbande & Bassey Anthony, Uyo
• Renewed violence claims more lives
• 60 houses razed
• Police boss, commissioner in verbal war
• Army to Jang: You are a blackmailer
• Killers must be arrested immediately, says Sultan
While the residents are apprehensive over the new development, a group – Movement for the Survival of the Plateau People (MSPP) – yesterday alleged that some “unscrupulous” Christians and Muslims in Jos metropolis are stockpiling the arms and ammunition for another round of anarchy in the state.
A dawn attack by suspected Hausa/Fulani nomads on a community in the state on Sunday led to the death of over 500 people, mostly women and children.
And to avert another round of genocide, the group appealed to the Army, the Police and the State Security Service (SSS) to quickly intervene and fish out the culprits.
Making the allegation in a statement in Abuja, MSPP said: “It has come to our attention that arms and ammunition are being stockpiled by some unscrupulous elements within notable churches and mosques in Jos metropolis, Jos North.
“The intention of both sides, we suspect, is to launch attacks on each other in continuation of the bloody clashes that have rocked Plateau State in recent times.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we make bold to disclose our revelations, which indicate that these arms are being stockpiled in Assemblies of God Church and COCIN in Sarkin Mangu area.”
Continuing, the statement signed by the Chairman, Nandam Kum, and the Co-chairman, Dana’ an, added: “We also have it on good authority that some Muslim elements have piled their arms at the Jos Central Mosque, Fibre Factory Mosque and Bukuru Central Mosque, all in Jos City.
“In view of the following, we hereby call on the Army, the Police and the SSS to quickly intervene and fish out the culprits in this latest development.”
Meanwhile, days after the massacre at Dogo Nahawa, more casualties are being recorded as the crisis persists in other parts of the state.
The Nigerian Compass learnt that Hausa/Fulani herdsmen and some security agents are carrying out the continued killings of defenceless people.
Yesterday, tension enveloped settlements, such as Gada Biu, Genta Adamu, Tudun Wada and Jenta Mangoro, all in Jos North Local Area.
The tension arose from the text messages some residents said they had received, warning them that some Muslim youths from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, were coming in three trucks preparatory to the launch of another large-scale attack on Jos and its environs.
There was pandemonium when a truck loaded with cows and tomatoes arrived Tudun Wada yesterday, as some vigilante youths accosted the driver to know the contents of the vehicle.
Some people in military uniform reportedly emerged from the blues and started firing at the youth, injuring some of them.
It was further learnt that some security agents deployed to maintain peace in the various troubled communities were aiding a group to attack the other.
Many residents said yesterday that those who carried out last Sunday’s attack have also launched a fresh attack on Dogo Nahawa, another community in Jos South, as well as communities within Mangu and Barkin Ladi Local Government areas where more lives and valuables were reportedly lost.
At the Mangu-Barkin Ladi boundary communities, eyewitnesses told the Nigerian Compass that over 60 houses had been burnt down between Sunday and yesterday.
Scores of people were also said to have been killed.
Meanwhile, the House of Assembly has expressed shock over the mayhem in parts of the state.
The Chairman, House Committee on Information, Mr. Danboyi Jugul, yesterday condemned in strong terms such barbaric act, which, according to him, “has no justification whatsoever”.
He called for the arrest and immediate prosecution of the perpetrators and their sponsors in accordance with the law of the land.
In another development, the acting District Head of Fubur, Izang Abok, and the Fulani leader in Fubur, Sani Mohammedu, have denied police report that 19 Fulani from Fabur and Angware were arrested with dangerous weapons in connection with the attacks.
Meanwhile, fresh revelations emerged yesterday that the residents of Dogo Nahawa, where over 500 were massacred, were told of the attack days before it was carried out.
But our correspondent learnt that the attackers executed the well-planned attack some days after the date reportedly set for it.
It was further revealed that the attention of the youth of the community were diverted to a neighbouring Berom community, which they went to assist their colleagues keep vigil when the nomads struck at Dogo Nahawa.
The damage had already been done when they got wind of the attack.
One of the victims of the incident told our correspondent that even when security operatives at a checkpoint around Yakubu Gowon Dam, Shen, Du District, were alerted while the attack was being carried out, they allegedly ignored the villagers’ distress call.
Also yesterday, the state Acting Police Commissioner, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, pooh-poohed a statement credited to the state government that security report had indicated that there was going to be an attack on the Dogo Nahawa long before it was carried out.
The commissioner also disagreed with the government over the casualty figures, stressing that only 109 people died instead of 500 announced by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Gregory Nyenlong.
Aduba stated this yesterday while briefing newsmen over the violence.
The police boss said that the body count carried out at the mass grave site revealed that 70 were given mass burial, comprising 12 male children, 26 female children, 16 women and 16 men.
Besides, 18 other casualties were buried by their relations at Barki-Ladi in addition to the 12 that were buried at Dogo Nahawa by relations and nine who died at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), while receiving treatment, he added.
The police boss’s denial of any security report, however, contradicted the alarm raised days before the genocide by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, that the police had uncovered plots by some hoodlums, being trained in guerrilla warfare, to attack villages in Plateau State.
Aduba also decried a situation where the military took over the internal security of the state, saying it was becoming increasingly difficult for the police to perform their primary duty of safeguarding lives and properties.
“Prior to my assumption of duty as the Commissioner of Police, and in the wake of the ongoing crisis, the military had already taken over the internal security of the state through a brief ceremony conducted for the purpose, and the implication of this is that the police are playing a supportive role…,” he lamented.
He, however, appealed to the residents of the state to cooperate with security agencies to enable them bring a lasting peace.
Besides, he warned all the Divisional Police Officers (DPO) in the state that they would be held responsible for any breach of peace in their areas of jurisdiction.
Yesterday, the first military administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), also called on Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to be bold enough to sack more top security personnel indicted in the sectarian crises.
Nkanga, who made the call in an interview in Uyo, the state capital, said Jonathan’s sack of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Sarki Muktar (rtd) was not enough, adding that “more heads should roll” over the bloody incident.
In the same vein, the former administrator urged the Acting President to apply punitive measures on top military and security chiefs, whose responsibility it was to checkmate the mayhem.
According to him, the tendency for the Presidency to always absolve security agencies and other agencies of the government from blame whenever religious and ethnic crises occurred in the country was responsible for the lackluster attitude of the agencies over serious security matters.
Nkanga also accused the elite in the North of aiding and abetting religious crises in the zone in order to cause confusion and make the North uninhabitable for other Nigerians.
He urged Jonathan to set up yet another panel to fish out the culprits and punish them to serve as a deterrent to others.
He said: “The sectarian crises that we are having now, the elite are part of it; they are the promoters and if there had been a time that we put a panel to look at it, the report of the panel ought to have been implemented”.
Proffering solutions to the spate of religious and ethnic disturbances in the country, mostly in the North, Nkanga suggested that only qualified security personnel specifically trained to manage challenging security situations should be appointed by the Presidency and drafted to troubled spots.
His words: “The best approach to solving security lapses is to put the right people there. Even within the military, there are people who have specific jobs and are trained for specific things. In the security agencies, there are people trained for such situations. So, the first thing to do is to put the right people there and for the government to take it very seriously.
“We saw how Obama responded to the Abdulmultallab issue and told the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and other security outfits that you didn’t do this, you didn’t do that and he took it very seriously. Our own here, we should take it seriously because there is nobody that is too big. Just because you put a ‘big man’ there in charge of security doesn’t mean that he knows everything and if doesn’t do well, take him out. So, I will like to see statements at that level to show seriousness on the lapses of the security agencies.
“The tendency we have in this country is when something goes wrong, the first people that we try to cover are the agencies of the government. If Obama could come out and say FBI, CIA you didn’t do well and even mentioned names and some people had to resign, I don’t see why we cannot do that here.”
The Nigerian Army yesterday faulted Governor Jonah Jang over his statement accusing it (the army) of complicity in the crisis.
The Army specifically described Jang’s statement as unfortunate, saying it had no hand in the crisis.
The Army, in a statement by its Director of Public Relations, Brig-Gen. Chris Olukolade, said: “Although the Army is briefing appropriate authorities on its operations and believes that appropriate response to Governor Jang’s attack on the Army is forthcoming, it is necessary to reassure Nigerians that the Army is not involved in any complicity as suggested by Governor Jang through his numerous channels for blackmail.
“Coming from a Chief Executive and Chief Security Officer of a state with substantial military background, it is unfortunate that Air Commodore David Jang (rtd) has demonstrated an embarrassing naivety in interpreting the dynamics of land operations.
“The Governor would have spared the nation his unfortunate remarks if only he consulted sufficiently before making his inciting declaration.
“That Gov Jang visited the Defence Headquarters today (yesterday) clearly indicates that he knows the appropriate authority to consult in the event of dissatisfaction with the action of any Army commander. Rather than follow this process, he resorted to inflammatory remarks targetted at rubbishing the army. His allegation insinuating bias is indeed unfortunate.
“It is noteworthy that the Nigerian Army is involved in internal security operations in virtually all states of the federation including Plateau State. The record of the Army’s performance in all these operations has continued to attract commendation and appreciation even in the face of numerous challenges. “Governor Jang’s ceaseless attack on the Army only goes to confirm his extraordinary partisanship to which the Army will not be blackmailed into supporting. It is common knowledge that the Internal Security operation in Jos, Plateau State is a Joint military operation involving the various services and the Nigeria Police Force.
“This situation arose when the Police could not cope at the onset of the Jos crisis in January 2010 and the military was legally drafted to restore law and order in Plateau State. The operation now involves personnel of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Police and the State Security Service, among others.
“It is therefore unfortunate that Governor Jang’s spurious claims were specifically targetted at tarnishing the good image of the Army.
“The Governor may have his political or other intents to achieve, but he should desist from compounding issues, at least in the interest of the people who are endangered by his proposition and disdain for the Army in particular.
“The Army will continue to make its vital inputs into the ongoing joint operations of the Special Task Force as duly mandated by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The Nigerian Army wishes to make it emphatically clear that it has no other interest in the state other than commitment to the operation and restoration of peace.
“The Army high command is working in concert with Defence Headquarters to guide the operations of the Joint Task Force in Plateau State towards achieving government’s intention of ensuring adequate security in the area as quickly as possible.
“The Nigerian Army seizes this opportunity to commiserate with the families who have lost their loved ones in the unfortunate incident of last Sunday and previous skirmishes associated with the crisis in Plateau State.
“The Army therefore appeals for the understanding of the public and stakeholders in particular to support the joint operations and ignore those who engage in all sorts of misinformation, unwarranted and provocative statements with the main vision of rubbishing Army’s record of effectiveness.”
But, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Afffairs (NSCIA) has told the Federal Government to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the crisis immediately in the interest of peace.
A statement signed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sir Sa’ad Abubakar and Dr. Lateef Adegbite reads:
“We are stunned by the latest violent outbursts in Jos, Plateau State, resulting in the destruction of numerous innocent lives. Reports making the rounds are that the savage acts were a reprisal by those who felt aggrieved at the massacre of over 150 persons at a spot during the immediate past Jos disturbances.
“It was a wrong reaction for vengeance belongs to Allah. We must respect the sanity of life in all situations. The seemingly unending cycle of violence in Jos must stop.
“We call on the authorities to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly killings and bring them to book without delay. It is sad that ethnic rivalry in Plateau State has degenerated into deep ethnic hatred. This dangerous trend must be arrested forthwith. The people should learn to live together in harmony, embracing one another for the sake of themselves and to ensure peace and stability without which meaningful progress would be unattainable.
“On its part, the Plateau State Government should seriously review its position and evolve a policy of accommodation that would give every citizen and resident a sense of belonging. The Government must be of and for all, regardless of ethnic origin or belief.”
To proffer a lasting solution to the crisis, the Northern Senators Forum yesterday constituted an Ad Hoc Committee to help find a lasting solution to it.
The term of reference of the Committee, according to the statement signed by Senator Bala Mohammed, is to employ means that will fast track restoration of peace in the troubled state.
The committee is headed by Senator Jibril Aminu. Others members are Senators John Shagaya, Ahmed Rufai Sani, George Akume, Ahmed Makarfi, Nuhu Aliyu, Mohammed Bello, Maina Maji Lawal and Gyang Dantong.
Others include Senators Grace Bent, Patricia Akwashiki, Ibrahim Ida, Abubakar Gada, Mohammed Mana, Nicholas Ugbane and Joseph Akaagerger.
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