21st OCTOBER, 2017.
BEING PRESS RELEASE BY PLATEAU YOUTH G-17 PEACE AND PROGRESSIVE FORUM ON THE CALL FOR THE ENACTMENT OF THE ANTI – OPEN GRAZING LAW IN PLATEAU STATE TO ADDRESS THE SYSTEMATIC ANNIHILATION OF RURAL FARMING COMMUNITIES BY MARAUDING HERDSMEN
Good Day Ladies and gentlemen of the Press,
It is with sadness and grief in our hearts that we address you today. A time when a murderous terror group, seemingly above the law, is carrying out a systematic and strategic plan to decimate and displace rural farming communities through the brutal murder and wanton destruction of lives and property across the north central geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Plateau State has no doubt been worst hit by this pogrom carried out by invading bands of herdsmen.
Let’s all rise to observe a minute silence for the souls of all those killed in this acts of violence and murder in Bassa, Riyom, Barkin Ladi, Bokkos, Mangu, Wase, Langtang North/South, Shendam all other parts of Plateau State and Nigeria in general.
May the souls of the faithfuls who died as a result of violent attacks rest in peace and wishing those fatally injured speedy recovery.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is indeed a dark period in our history and a loud indictment on our security agencies, whose primary duty is the protection of our territorial integrity as well as the lives, freedoms and liberty of all Nigerians. We continue to witness as scores of innocent citizens are helplessly hacked to death by a free ranging band of Fulani militias with no arrest and even complicit silence on the whereabouts of this murderous terror group. All federal and state government institutions whose cardinal mandate is to ensure the protection of lives and property as well as ensure that citizens’ rights to life are adequately guaranteed and protected seem to have been overwhelmed by the activities of the terror group in Plateau State as they run unchecked, causing havoc, destruction of Lives and property as well as threatening the fragile and relative peace in the State.
It is no longer news that Plateau State has lost illustrious sons and daughters to the violent attacks being meted on them. The unprovoked attacks across the State is a clear indication that no part of Plateau State is safe and free of the attacks. It is therefore, on account of the unabated killings that we are calling on the security agencies to beef up security to curb the attacks while putting all measures on ground to ensure the arrest of the killers and their subsequent prosecution to serve as deterrent to others.
A situation where security personnel stationed to protect citizens become passive observers and or, willing collaborators in the massacre of those they swore to defend is objectionable in the least. As citizens watch helplessly this gruesome and callous acts of terror go on while being feed daily, with the official lame excuse of “unknown gunmen”, the human cost is daily getting too high to bare. So many unanswered questions continue to agitate the mind as it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand why the federal government lacks the political will to decisively tackle this menace. Those who give ethnic and religious connotations to the killings based on the helplessness of law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice should not therefore be viewed as inciting the public against government.
We wish to call on all Lovers of Plateau and of humanity to rise in one accord to demand that President Muhammadu Buhari, the police and military authorities as well as the Plateau State government act decisively and without delay in bringing this vicious cycle of violence to an end by ensuring that the killers are apprehended and made to face the full weight of the law.
We know the place of peace in our hearts, homes, State, nation and the world. Without peace, no meaningful development can be recorded rather what will be obtainable will be retrogression, suspicion and mistrust which will all last a long time.
At this point, we stand to say we are for peace and for peace we stand.
1. We therefore demand that the Government of Plateau State borrow a leaf from Benue, Taraba and all other States and courageously put in place mechanism for the enactment and full implementation of the anti-open grazing law in the State. In this case, those rearing livestock should imbibe the modern culture of cattle ranching by getting secure ranches close to their residence to avoid cases of cattle rustling and encroachment on farmlands to minimize clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
2. The Operation Safe Haven should beef up security at flash-points, be more proactive and professional in dealing with this murderous terror group in line with their sworn oath of defending the nation’s territorial integrity and our collective rights to life, liberty and property. Mechanism should be in place to deal decisively with officers and men found to be complacent in their assigned duties.
3. A panel of inquiry be immediately set up to investigate the alleged complicity of men of the Operation Save Haven in the recent attack on a community in Bassa local government area, where it was gathered men of the OPSH, advised the villagers to hide in a school supposedly to protect them but about 27 people ended up being murdered under their watchful eyes despite the curfew in the community. Those found culpable should be penalized accordingly. There should be rapid response and intervention when attacks are being launched by the marauders.
4. Government through SEMA and NEMA as well as other NGOs and well spirited individuals should provide rapid relief interventions to the affected communities to bring succor to them.
5. Government should engage on practical reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the displaced persons in order for them to go back to their economic, agricultural, social, religious and political activities.
6. Government must show political will towards curbing the insecurity and ensure that the perpetuators are brought to book.
7. Government needs to demonstrate empathy towards the people to gain back their trust and confidence.
We will continue to support all legitimate ways that will restore enduring peace to the State.
May God deliver our State, expose the killers and their sponsors.
As our brothers keeper, all we want is PEACE
Thank you very much for listening and God bless you all.
God bless Plateau State and Federal Republic of Nigeria
Dachung Musa Bagos
Convener, Plateau Youth G-17 Peace and Progressive Forum.
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