The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Kingsley Chinda, has urged the National Assembly to commence investigations into the ongoing killings in Plateau State.
This is just as the member representing Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, Rivers State, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party condemned last week’s invasion of five communities in the state by yet-to-be-identified gunmen, which led to the deaths of over 100 persons.
PUNCH Metro had reported that the killings occurred on Saturday and Sunday in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas when residents were in a preparatory mood to celebrate this year’s Christmas.
The gunmen reportedly invaded some communities in the two LGAs, set fire to residential buildings and looted property, particularly in Mushu village.
Reacting to the incidents, Chinda, in a statement titled “Murder on the Plateau: Time to end the killings,” issued on Thursday, flayed security agencies for always failing to act on intelligence reports which often precede deadly attacks.
The statement read in part, “We urge the National Assembly Security Committees to draw strength from Sections 4, 88 and 89 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended, to commence a proper and detailed investigation into the persistent murders and proffer legislative solutions to end same.
“The invasion of five communities and the killings of over 70 persons by unknown gunmen in Gashish and Ropp Districts of Barkin Ladi and Bokkos LGAs of Plateau State on Christmas eve have raised national and global concerns about the security of persons in Nigeria, particularly the North Central region of Nigeria and murders that have gone for too long on the Plateau.
“These murders, which have become the cyclical outcomes of inter-communal violence in Plateau State, show how grievances between communities can be turned into organised violence by unidentified groups and persons who use violent methods to address perceived differences.
“When Jos was turned into an infernal theatre and a killing field in which 1,000 people lost their lives in 2001, many thought that the violent expressions of differences had reached the zenith; but, unfortunately, more attacks followed in Jos, Wase, Langtang North, Langtang South, Shendam, Mikang, Qua’an Pan, Barkin Ladi, and Riyom, resulting in many deaths and the destruction of properties.”
He noted that the reasons adduced by observers for the sad state of affairs ranged from internecine fights between indigenes and settlers for natural resources to inter-ethnic rivalry ensuing between ethnic groups “no longer appear plausible in view of the increasing rates of attacks, sophistication of invasions of communities, and the anonymity of the perpetrators of the attacks. There is something about this anonymity which makes the murders of the Plateau sinister.”
“What is more sinister is that warnings of impending attacks are unheeded by security agencies, coupled with the apparent unwillingness of the political leadership to arrest perpetrators and nip the violence in Plateau State in the bud. If the accounts of witnesses are to be believed, what stands clear is the act of collusion and conspiracy in the bloodletting.
“The murders on the Plateau have gone on for too long and must be stopped now!
“We extend our condolences to the Government and People of Plateau State over the murders.
“While we appreciate the efforts and sacrifices of our military and other security agencies thus far, we call on and encourage them to commit more and be unrelenting in tackling the crisis until victory is assured for all,” he added.