By Suleiman Umaru
There have been a conflicting reports on the number of people killed in the recent attacks in Bassa and Riyom Local government Areas, described as hotspotbed of crisis in the north central state of Plateau state. The victims who were travelling from Buchi enroute Jos to Ikare in Ondo state were said to have been ambushed and attacked along Rukuba Road, in Jos, amidst wide condemnation from both religious-divide throughout the country, including President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General.
Edward Egbuka, the Plateau state Commissioner of Police, based on report from his men deployed to Gada-Abiyu along the Jos-Zaria road in Jos North Local government Area on Saturday, the scene of the attack , on Saturday, August 8, 2021, had said on Monday, August 10, 2021, that 17 people were killed while another report has it that 23 people killed were during the attack by the suspected gunmen. Note that the initial figure released as the number of number that were killed by the gunmen along the Rukuba road in the Jos North Local government Area were 25 persons
The north central state of Plateau, Commissioner of Police may have painted side of the attack when disclosed that 85 buildings were raised down but the Leadership of the Iregwe Development Association, IDA, has contradicted him byclaiming that 250 houses were burnt. The houses were said to have been burnt in Zanrwa, Nche-Tahu, Rikwe-Rishe A and B, Ri-Dogo, Nchu-Nzhwa , all in Jebu-Miango Communities of Miango Chiefdom .
. The Army have stepped into the crisis in the All Progressive Congress, APC, controlled state to restore normalcy . Indeed, Troops of Operation Safe Haven , a military Task Force set up to restore peace in the Late Solomon Lar, home state were said to have arrested 12 persons in connection with the attack along the Rukuba road of Jos.
That much was confirmed by Ishiaku Takwa, a Major, in the Nigerian Amy and spokesperson of the Operation Safe Haven in the state. The soldiers may have acted swiftly to make the arrests as Samuel Lalong, the state governor was said to have read the ‘’riot act’’, to the military Task Force, to move out and ensure that within the next two weeks all those who had perpetrated the attacks were brought to book. The governor was said to the soldiers andother security operatives in the state that ‘’this could be done’’.
He may have known that the security operatives could fish out the Criminal elements if they want to do their work. This may have informed why he had said that ‘’this could be done’’. The soldiersSpecial Report and the other security agencies may have known that they cannot afford to fail ,the Lalong, the Plateau governor, has the ears of the Katsina state bon Nigerian President.
Lalong, the APC, governor of Plateau state , who is not happy that there are people in the state who are out to turn the it into another north west geo-political region state of Zamfara, described as home state of Bandits, Kaduna, Katsina, the President home state, including the north central states of Niger, former military President Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and Benue, another north central state.
The aggrieved Plateau state governor who do not want the Rukuba attack to repeat itself in the state in the future was said to have asked residents ‘’to monitor strange persons among them and hold such persons accountable in a bid to curb the infiltration of Criminals into the state’’. He was said to have also declared a curfew in three Local government Areas of the state: Jos North, Jos South and Bassa, as a prelude to ending the attack in the affected Local government Areas.
Recall that between July 30, 2021 and August 2, 2021, herdsmen had attacked some Communities , in Miango, Irigwe Chiefdom in Bassa Local Government Area. The attack was said to resulted in the death of five persons and several others seriously injured in the Area.
Also, last April, eight persons were attacked and killed in a mining site in Kuru, where the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies was located in Jos. The Kuru minind site atatck may have sent a signal to the people that the state is gradually slipping back to what it used to be known over the last two decades: a crisis ridden. The situation was so bad in the state that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in 2004, dissolved the Plateau state House of Assembly and appointed Chris Ali, a retired Army General, to take over the mantle of Leadership in the state from Joshua Dariye, over alleged incompetence, to stem the persistent Communal clash in the state.
But Buhari, the Nigerian President may not seen the declaration of a state of Emergency as the best approach in addressing the high level of insecurity in the volatile states, which are mostly APC, controlled states as it would affect its political fortunes in the 2023, general elections.
This is it would amount to appointing Sole Aministrators to take over from Nasir –El rufai, governor of Kaduna state who was said to have been flown to the United Kingdom, UK, on a Medical -checkup, B Abubakar Sani Bello Niger, Lalong, Plateau, Bello Matawalle, Zamfara, Hope Uzodinma , Imo and Aminu Massari, a former Speaker of House of Representatives and now governor of Katsina state.
He may have also found it necessary Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, who had at different times described him as’’ the President of The Fulani and not the President of Nigeria’’.This may have informed he has resorted to condemning such attacks and killings by suspected gunmen in any of the states whenever it occurs. It is not surprising when he joined other Nigerians to condemn the attack on travellers along the Rukuba Road in Jos North Local government Area of Plateau state last Saturday.
Shehu Garba, Senior Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on Media and Publicity , who had issued a Statement , at the instance of the President , had described the attack as ‘’brazen and wickedly’’. He was said to have ordered the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the Jos attack and bring them to justice as a lesson to others who might want to carry out such attack in the future.
The retired Army General had said that Plateau is ‘’one of the states affected by farmer-herder clashes’’ , which have been curtailed in the recent time following intense peace-building efforts of Lalong, the state governor.
He maintains that the recent attack in the north central state state is not ‘’an agriculturalist and pastoralist confrontation but rather a direct , brazen and wickedly motivated attack on members of a Community’’. According to him, with the evident preparedness of the attackers , ‘’it is clear that it was well- conceived and prearranged assault on a known target, location and religious persuasion of the travelers not an opportunists ambush’’.
Buhari, who could not hide his feelings had told those that cares to listen that ‘’these kinds of attacks on the country’s Citizens are unacceptable, heinous and in Complete Contradiction to the Christianity and Muslim Teachings, the two great Religions o of the country. He gave kudos to Governor Lalong and Sa’ad Abubakar III, a retired Brigadier General and Sultan of Sokoto, as well as Skeikh Dahiry Bauchi, including other notable Christian and Muslim Leaders in the Tin state for their effort ‘’ to calm down the situation’’.
Rotimi Akeredolu, a Lawyer and governor of the south west state of Ondo, may have known that there is trouble ahead over the Jos killing that he has called for calm. Appealing to the residents of the state not to take the Laws into their hands over the attack on the indigenes of the state state at Rukuba village to avoid escalating the crisis, he stressed that the situation is under control as security has been tightened up in the state.
While the dust generated in the Jos North, and South, including Bassa , Local government crisis is yet to settle, the Bandits were said to have struck in the north western states of Kaduna and Sokoto agin. Thy were said to have killed an undisclosed number of farmers who were abducted in Buruku and Udaw Communities in Chikun Local government Area of Kaduna state.
The victims who were said to have been slaughtered by the Bandits were kidnapped over a month ago. The villagers may have known that the abducted farmers have been killed when the bodies of some the victims were recovered on Saturday, August, 14, 2021. Jalige, a resident of one of the Communities had confirmed that at least eight farmers were killed. The affected Communities, located along the Kaduna-Birni Gwari Road, according to informed sources have been a hotbed of Banditry and kidnapping for ranson in Chikun Local government Area of the state over the last six years.
In Sokoto, home state of Late President Aliyu Shehu Shagari, the Bandits were said to have killed nine persons in an attack at Bejingo, Dantudu, and Tulutu , villages in Brjin Ward, Goronyo, a riverine Local government Area of the Caliphate state on Saturday, that eight abducted and killed farmers bodies were recovered in Kaduna state.
The Bandits who had attacked the Goronyo Local government Area , villages, were said to have raided the houses to bring out the victims who were killed. The Bandits, who were said to be wielding sophisticated weapons and equally blocked the Road leading to Sokoto city, before Launching the attack to avoid military counter-offensive. Note that the Bandits had kidnapped 60 travellers along the Sokoto-Gusau highway last July. Even, last May, the gunmen had killed 12 people in Ilella Amarawa , Ilella Local government Area of the state.
The Bandits style of attack in the north may be different from the south east states of Abia, Anambra, Eboyi, Enugu and Imo, where their target burning had been police Stations and killing security Operatives. Between May and now, over twelve Police Stations were said to have been attacked and arms carted away in different parts of the south east states.
The most recent is the attack on the a Police Station in the region was at Oguta Local government Area of Imo, Senator Rochas Okorocha, home state. Michael Abattam, a Superintendent of Police, and the Imo state state Police Command spokesperson, had confirmed that two policemen and three gunmen lost their lives in the Friday, August 13, 2021, attack.
The Imo state Police Command spokesperson believes that the suspected assailants would be arrested if the people of the state, particular, residents of Izombe Community, where the Police Station is located, are ready to volunteer information to assist the policenmen do their work.
Even Hospitals in the Community where the attack was carried oout were said to have been asked ‘’to report anyone with bullet wounds seeking for attention in their Hospitals for immediate arrest and questioning.