There seems to be no end in sight to the orgy of violence and senseless human carnage on the plateau. Virtually on a daily basis, the blood of innocent citizens is spilled in a most […]
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plateau killingsThere seems to be no end in sight to the orgy of violence and senseless human carnage on the plateau. Virtually on a daily basis, the blood of innocent citizens is spilled in a most horrendous debauchery that has seemingly defied all the proffered solutions. The government seems to have yielded the monopoly of violence to violent non-state actors. If the primary essence of government is the protection of lives and properties, then there is palpable governance failure in Plateau State.  Jol village in Riyom Local Government Area was reportedly attacked by Fulani herdsmen on Tuesday September 2. They killed 13 persons, injured scores of people and razed many houses. The bereaved in Jol village had yet to bury their dead when another vicious attack was reported in Ariri village in Bassa Local Government Area the following day. The assault on Ariri village allegedly claimed the lives of 19 persons who were murdered in their sleep.

It will be recalled that a retired Major-General, Idris Alkali, has disappeared since September 3 in the state while reportedly travelling to Bauchi State. The car in which the General was travelling was recovered by soldiers few days ago from a mining pond in the Dura-Du area of Jos South Local Government Area. More vehicles have been allegedly recovered from the pond, an indication that it was being put to ill use by some criminals to conceal the atrocities they perpetrated. The University of Jos was even invaded and some students killed in the renewed killings in the state that has virtually become a nest of murderers.  This has been the trend in recent times after the transient calm in the state was callously breached by some criminals.

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Sadly, it would appear that the stakeholders in Plateau State are pressing on unfazed.  The political leadership in the state and at the centre seems to have other priorities. The politics of primary elections and the attendant cacophonies in the different political parties seems to have drowned the feeble protests over the violence and the patently avoidable loss of lives in the state. And perhaps for reasons that border on political expediency, the Plateau State government has not been speaking forcefully against the killings, quite unlike the Benue State government has in its own domain.  Yet there can be no overemphasising the fact that Plateau State is currently in turmoil security-wise. Politics seems to be more important than human life.

Ironically, at the height of Benue State’s travails allegedly at the hands of killer herdsmen, the governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, claimed that he had counselled his Benue counterpart against the Benue State anti-grazing law which he believed was the cause of  the mayhem in  that state. But there is no law against open grazing in Plateau State, yet mass killing has continued to fester in the state. Unfortunately, in what smacks of governmental ineptitude, the security agencies have been unable to take effective measures to arrest the needless killings.  The entire panacea put forward to rein in the debauchery has consistently proved to be sub-optimal. This is rather curious because the Plateau crisis is a protracted one that has its origins both in the mutual mistrust between herders and farmers and the more fundamental indigenes/settlers issue with some colouration of religious intolerance, all of which are well known to the security agencies. But the cruel reality is that no workable solution has been crafted to address the killings. This is a shame and, more importantly, an eloquent testimony of official incompetence. It is really lamentable that the incessant killings are fast approaching what could be construed as genocide even by dispassionate observers.

To be sure, there is mutual hatred between the ethnic extraction of the aggressors and that of their victims and the truth is that the roles are reversed quite often, culminating in an unending spate of deadly reprisals. The sordid state of affairs  has continued to be fueled by nepotism, incompetence, bigotry and brazen injustice, all of which make recourse to self-help a veritable option.  Regrettably, the real victims on both sides are the hapless villagers who are murdered in their sleep or herders whose cattle are rustled or killed, and who are sometimes killed along with their herds. There have even been reported cases of vehicles being allegedly waylaid on the highways in Plateau State and people of certain ethnic extractions being dragged out of the vehicles and murdered in cold blood. The situation is as bad as that.

The barbarous conduct of some unscrupulous persons in Plateau State as well as in several other flashpoints across the land is not something that a country that lays claim to a modicum of decency and law and order should condone. One way to arrest the senseless killings is for the government to swiftly return to effective governance and work assiduously towards solving the seemingly daunting national issue with the full understanding that it does not have the luxury of making a recourse to platitudes and explaining away failures.

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Source:Tribune