Assembly moves to unmask masterminds of Plateau attacks
The Plateau House of Assembly is to constitute an ad hoc committee to unravel the perpetrators of the continued killings in Bassa, Bokkos, Jos North council areas and other communities in the state. The three councils had recently had a fair share of attacks by suspected herdsmen.
The House yesterday took the decision in Jos after an extensive deliberation on the issue brought under matter of urgent public importance by the member representing Rukuba/Irigwe constituency, Simon Kudu.
In his submission, the lawmaker said it had been two months since scores of his constituents were killed and their valuable destroyed, regretting that the menace has remained unabated amid the presence of security personnel in the affected areas.
The Assembly, however, held that the nation’s security architecture needs overhaul, adding that of Plateau especially deserves urgent review, citing the alleged one-sided attacks.
A particular legislator noted that it was only in a country like Nigeria that semantics come to play in a matter of security.
He said: “Like unknown gunmen. Today, it is herdsmen. If you want to define who is a herdsman, you find out that the definition is unlimited. Who are the unknown gunmen? You can’t even see them. And that is why these attacks have repeatedly been going on and there is no single arrest.”
Another member said that the motion was timely, alleging that the so-called herdsmen were taking away the people’s ancestral land and as representatives of the people, they could not afford to sit back without proffering lasting solutions.
Others were of the view that the situation needed redefinition and review of strategy by all for a panacea.
Consequently, the Speaker, Peter Azi, condemned the development.
Meanwhile, a veteran of the nation’s civil war, Col. Paul Ogbebor (rtd), has cautioned against a repeat of the ugly situation, noting that the killings in parts of the federation were potent to stir strife.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Benin City, the Edo State capital, he harped on the use of retired military and police personnel to execute anti-insurgency fight in the North East, just as he described the call by elder statesman and former Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, asking Nigerians to defend themselves against herdsmen’ attacks as an invitation to anarchy.
He noted that personnel who retired in the least 10 years should be mobilised for task of providing security in the troubled region.
Owing to the incidence of the herders’ activities in neighbouring West African nations, including Ghana, Sierra Leone and Cote D’Ivoire, Ogbebor called on ECOWAS Heads of State and government to tackle the menace headlong.
His words: “Herdsmen’s killings are not good for the country. If we leave them like this, they can provoke a civil war that Nigeria would not be able to contain. The issue is on the front burner and my commander, General T.Y. Danjuma (rtd), has made a statement. And many people have been reacting to it.
“I want to say here that Danjuma is a highly respected army general. He has contributed so much to the building of the country.
“For my former GOC to have blamed the military and ask Nigerians to take up arms, I think it is a disappointment taken too far.”
“First of all, the duty of internal security is in the hands of the police, not the army. The military is supposed to safeguard the country against external invasion.”
Ogbebor lamented that personnel were inadequate to provide effective security for Nigerians.