Connect with us

News

Plateau massacre claims 150, over 10,000 displaced, Tinubu orders killers’ arrest

Published

on

Plateau massacre claims 150, over 10,000 displaced, Tinubu orders killers' arrest
• Scenes of herdsmen attacks in Bokkos and Barkin Laid Local Government Areas of Plateau State on Monday. Photos: Facebook/Jonathan Benjoe.

• I lost my father, 10 other family members to attack, Jos photographer laments

•  CAN, northern govs, elders, Saraki condemn attacks

There was outrage on Tuesday over Christmas Eve attacks on communities in three local government areas of Plateau State.

President Bola Tinubu, in a statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, condemned the attacks and ordered a manhunt for the killers.

While condoling with the government and the people of Plateau State, Tinubu assured Nigerians that “these envoys of death, pain, and sorrow will not escape justice.”

As the President ordered the arrest of the killers, the Chairman of Community Peace Observers in the Bokkos Local Government Area, Kefas Mallai, told one of our correspondents that over 150 were killed by the gunmen.

Mallai also said information indicated that the gunmen were still attacking some villages, adding that over 10,000 people were displaced by the attacks, which had attracted strong condemnation by prominent groups and individuals including northern governors and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas.

On Sunday, gunmen stormed Ndun, Ngyong, Murfet, Makundary, Tamiso, Chiang, Tahore, Gawarba, Dares, Meyenga, Darwat, and Butura Kampani villages in the Barkin Ladi, Mangu and Bokkos areas of the state burning houses and shooting residents.

On Tuesday, the Chairman of Community Peace Observers in the Bokkos Local Government Area, Mallai, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “Over 150 people were killed in the attacks. In Bokkos town alone, more than 10,000 people are taking refuge in churches, mosques, schools, and private residences.”

Although our reporter could not get eyewitnesses to verify the death toll supplied by Mallai, the state government said over 100 people were killed, while the police put the death toll at 96.

Advertisement

‘Gory Christmas’

In an interview on Channels television on Tuesday, state Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, stated, “This has indeed been a very gory Christmas for us. We have had to celebrate with a heavy heart. Just when people had finished preparing for Christmas celebrations, unprovoked attacks were unleashed on several of our communities.

“As I’m talking to you, in Mangun Local Government alone, we buried at least 15 people. So far this morning in the Bokkos Local Government, we were counting not less than 100 corpses. I have yet to take stock of that of Barki-Ladi. Most of the communities affected in Barki-Ladi share a border with the Bokkos Local Government. ‘’

He further disclosed that no fewer than 64 communities in the state had been displaced by terrorists who were occupying schools in the local government area.

He said, “When people are dislocated from their villages and they have to run for shelter, now we are struggling to provide shelter for these people that have been displaced and dislocated from their communities.

“If they stay away from those communities for a sustained period, the terrorists would come in. As I am talking to you today (Tuesday), in the Riyom Local Government and in Barkin Ladi Local Government, schools have been occupied by these terrorists for almost a number of years now. We have not less than 64 communities that have been displaced and their lands have been taken over by these terrorists.”

“Under the last regime, the feeling among people in Plateau State particularly the victims of these terrorist attacks is that it looks as if the terrorists were given official government backing to be able to terrorise them because little or nothing was done to repel these attacks.

“I can tell you these schools that are being occupied, it didn’t just start now, some of those schools have been occupied in the last three, four, five years.

Advertisement

“Children therefore in those schools have not been able to go to school. They have to relocate. We even have primary health care centres abandoned because of these terrorists which means that our health care system is put in jeopardy; what do we need to do? I think this is where the President needs to come in,” he added.

SEE ALSO:  Edo lawmakers sack deputy gov, Shaibu

Security architecture

The governor noted the flaws in the state’s security architecture, which he said required some tinkering.

He added, “The reason we have enjoyed relative peace up until this moment is because of the kind of arrangements we put in place. But obviously, it shows that those arrangements are not adequate. What we have had to do is motivate the security agencies on the ground to make sure that they perform optimally.

“And I would say to some extent that I give credit to the Nigerian Army, other security agencies, and the mobile police that have been deployed to the conflict areas. Sometimes, when you think you are achieving the target, you probably relax a little bit, because, for me, security is not the presence of security personnel; it is the absence of conflict. Unfortunately, we have had to also engage in a lot of non-kinetic methods.

“We have had engagements with community leaders to identify potential areas of conflict and nip them in the bud. We have been trying to build communal harmony, and to a large extent, we have succeeded. But, with the breach that we have experienced in the last few days, it means that some people are not happy with the progress we have made.’’

The governor expressed sadness over the breakdown of the peace pact signed by the indigenous communities and Fulani leaders.

He disclosed that the attacks were well coordinated and executed with heavy weaponry even as he admitted that unravelling the masterminds was beyond him.

Advertisement

On its the Plateau State Police Command on Tuesday disclosed that a total of 96 persons were killed while 221 houses were set ablaze during the attacks.

The state Commissioner of Police  Okoro Alawari, disclosed this in a statement signed by the Command’s spokesman, Alfred Alabo.

Apprehend culprits – Tinubu

The President on his part, condemned the heinous crime and directed security agencies to scout for and apprehend the culprits.

Describing the incident as a “primitive and heinous” attack, Tinubu said, “These envoys of death, pain, and sorrow will not escape justice.”

He also deployed a high-power delegation of well-armed operational forces to the troubled areas to prevent further attacks.

The President in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ngelale, ordered the immediate mobilisation of relief resources for the surviving victims of the cruel attacks as well as medical treatment for the wounded.

The statement read, “President Tinubu directs security agencies to immediately move in, scour every stretch of the zone, and apprehend the culprits.

Advertisement

“The President also directs immediate mobilisation of relief resources for surviving victims of the primitive and cruel attacks as well as a medical treatment for the wounded.”

The statement is titled ‘President Tinubu condemns heinous attacks in Plateau, directs immediate apprehension of culprits.’

While condoling with the government and the people of Plateau State, Tinubu assured Nigerians that “these envoys of death, pain, and sorrow will not escape justice.”

The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 election, Peter Obi, also condemned the attack.

He reacted in a statement on X while commending the contributions of various security agencies in combating insurgency and other acts of terror.

Obi said “After my sympathy visit to the Regent of Oba Community in Anambra State for the recent horrific killing of people in a nightclub in that community; plus the mindless act of terrorism that occurred on Christmas Day in Plateau State, where the death toll is now reportedly more than 100 with over 300 injured; with the saddening acts of violence that have occurred in Zamfara and Katsina States where farmers were killed and several others kidnapped, and the many other violent attacks in many parts of the country, which may go unreported; my thoughts went to our overstretched security operatives. The men and women of our armed and security services come to mind.”

SEE ALSO:  EFCC threatens to involve military in arresting Yahaya Bello

Similarly, a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, appealed to the government to carry out thorough investigations to fish out the perpetrators of the attack.

“The audacity of the assailants and the sheer scale of the carnage are reminders of the deep-seated challenges that continue to plague our nation and the urgent need for decisive action to address the root causes of these conflicts.”

Advertisement

“I urge the Federal Government to launch an immediate and thorough investigation into this heinous act. No stone must be left unturned, and no perpetrator is allowed to go free. All the affected communities should receive justice. All well-meaning Nigerians want answers.”

An ex-federal lawmaker, Shehu Sani, demanded justice for the victims, calling for an end to killings in the name of ethnic sentiments.

The Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum and Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Yahaya, has described as reprehensible and heinous, the attack on communities within Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi Local Government Areas of Plateau State.

Yahaya, on behalf of the 19 Northern Governors, expressed his deepest condolences to the affected families and communities as well as the government and people of Plateau State in a statement signed by the Director-General, Press Affairs, Ismaila Misilli, on Tuesday.

The statement read, “It is reprehensible and disheartening to hear of the loss of over 100 lives and destruction of properties that occurred during these attacks, especially during a time when residents were preparing to celebrate the festive season.

“Such acts of violence are not only cowardly but also run counter to the spirit of unity and coexistence that our region upholds.

“We must all prioritise peace and harmonious living in our communities. Now, more than ever, we must reaffirm our commitment to peaceful coexistence and solidarity regardless of our differences.

“We must unite in our commitment to peace and security, and stand firm against all forms of violence and division.”

Advertisement

The NSGF chairman commended Governor Mutfwang for his leadership and responsible handling of the situation in the aftermath of the attacks, assuring him that the forum stands united in solidarity with him in the face of adversity and will work together towards ensuring peace in Plateau State.

Meanwhile, the Northern Senators Forum has also condemned the recent killings in Plateau State.

The northern senators in a statement by their spokesperson, Senator Suleiman Sumaila, urged the authorities to commence an investigation into the mayhem and bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to book.

Sumaila said that the Senators had expressed their deepest condolences to the affected families, loved ones, the people, and the Government of Plateau State over the killings.

“Their immense loss is a collective grief, and we stand united in our determination to seek justice. In our legislative role, we strongly condemn this reprehensible act and call upon the authorities to promptly initiate a comprehensive investigation.

CAN mourns

The Christian Association of Nigeria similarly condemned the attacks on the Plateau communities.

In a statement on Tuesday, the CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, condoled with the bereaved communities, and described the attacks as “a direct assault on our shared values of peace, unity and mutual respect.”

Advertisement

While commending the quick intervention of the military and the state governor, Okoh urged security to intensify intelligence gathering, to pre-empt and forestall future attacks, adding that they must move from reactive to preventive measures.

SEE ALSO:  Military buries 17 personnel killed in Delta

Part of the statement read, “We mourn with the families, friends, and communities who tragically lost their loved ones in the villages of Ruku, Hurum, Darwat, Mai Yanga Sabo, NTV, and Lisham Kwahasnat community in Wase LGA. We stand with you at this time of grief, and our prayers go out to you for comfort and strength.

“We condemn these acts of violence in the strongest possible terms. The burning down of houses, and worship centres, and the destruction of properties worth millions of naira is not only a criminal act but also a direct assault on our shared values of peace, unity, and mutual respect. Such acts have no place in our society and must not be allowed to prevail.

“We commend the swift intervention of the military and the deployment of a joint police and military task force to restore peace and prevent further lawlessness in the affected communities.

“However, while appreciating these immediate responses, we urge the security agencies to intensify their efforts in intelligence gathering and proactive interventions to pre-empt and forestall these types of dastardly acts in the future. Our people deserve to live in peace, and it is high time we moved from reactive to preventive measures.”

The CAN President also urged Nigerians to remember the victims’ families and reach out to them in the spirit of the festive season, while calling on citizens to shun all forms of violence and embrace peace and unity.

Expressing pains over the attack, the Northern Elders Forum condemned the attacks on the plateau communities in the latest in a series of coordinated attacks, rampant killings, and mass displacements that have plagued the northern region.

In a statement signed by the NEF Convener, Prof Ango Abdullahi on Tuesday, the forum stated that it had reasons to suspect the government’s operational methods, while raising concerns over the inability of the military to prevent the killings, despite claiming to have received 36 distress calls from different locations in the state.

Advertisement

The group stated, “NEF strongly condemns this devastating act and expresses its heartfelt condolences to the families affected by this heinous crime. It is deeply distressing to witness the continuous deterioration of security in the conflict-affected areas of the North, which has led to countless lives being lost and a pervasive sense of fear and instability amongst the communities.

“Moreover, NEF expresses concern over the inability of the military to prevent the Christmas Eve killings, despite claiming to have promptly responded to 36 distress calls from different locations in Plateau State in the 48 hours leading up to Christmas.

“This highlights the Forum’s growing suspicions regarding the efficacy and sufficiency of the government’s operational methods. NEF questions whether the strategies employed by the government are flawed or grossly inadequate, given the audacious regularity and ease with which the attackers operate across the northern region.’’

While also raising concerns over the loss of lives of two persons, and the kidnap of 25 others, including the wife of the head of Ruwan Dorawa village in Zamfara State, Abdullahi demanded an investigation into the security lapses that resulted in the kidnap, adding that the report must be made public, while those responsible are held accountable.

“NEF is also deeply concerned about the recent security incident in Ruwan Dorawa village, Zamfara State. The tragic event that unfolded on the same Christmas Eve resulted in the loss of two innocent lives and the abduction of over 25 individuals, predominantly children, and women, including the wife of the village head,’’ the forum noted.

PUNCH

Advertisements
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

CBN injects fresh Dollars into BDCs at N1,021/$1

Published

on

CBN injects fresh Dollars into BDCs at N1,021/$1
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the sale of $10,000 to each licensed Bureau De Change (BDC) operator nationwide.

This marks the second such intervention this month by the apex bank.

In a circular addressed to the president of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators (ABCON), the CBN outlined the details of the intervention.

BDCs will be able to purchase dollars at the rate of N1,021 per dollar.

They are, therefore, authorized to sell this forex to eligible end users at a maximum spread of 1.5 percent above the purchase price, translating to a maximum selling price of N1,036.15 per dollar.

On the 8th of April 2024, the CBN sold $10,000 FX to each of the 1,588 participating BDCs at a fixed rate of N1101 per US dollar at a spread capped at 1.5 percent above the purchase price from the CBN (approximately N1,116.15 per dollar). This limited the potential profit BDCs could make on each transaction

The latest circular has instructed all eligible BDCs to commence immediate payment of the Naira equivalent for their allocated $10,000 into designated CBN Naira Deposit Accounts.

This deposit must be accompanied by the submission of necessary documentation to facilitate the disbursement of forex at respective CBN branches.

Advertisement

The latest intervention by the CBN is likely to be met with cautious optimism by market participants. The continued injection of US dollars into the BDC segment aims to improve access to forex for legitimate transactions, potentially alleviating some pressure on the parallel market.

However, the effectiveness of this strategy hinges on several factors: the extent to which the allocated amount meets the current demand for forex remains to be seen; strict adherence to the stipulated maximum selling price by BDCs is crucial for ensuring transparency and preventing market distortions; and while stop-gap measures like these can provide temporary relief, addressing the underlying causes of FX scarcity is essential for achieving long-term market stability.

SEE ALSO:  Masterminds of Kogi killings arrested , Gov Ododo reveals

The CBN’s recent actions since February 2024 highlight its ongoing efforts to manage forex liquidity and ensure the smooth functioning of the foreign exchange market.

The success of this strategy will depend on continued monitoring, adjustments as needed, and fostering a more market-driven approach to FX allocation in the long run.(NATION)

Advertisements
Continue Reading

News

JUST IN: Emefiele printed N684.5m with N18.9bn, says EFCC in fresh charge

Published

on

JUST IN: Emefiele printed N684.5m with N18.9bn, says EFCC in fresh charge
Emefiele

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed a fresh charge at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory against the embattled former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

EFCC in the charge accused Emefiele of approving the printing of N684,590,000 at the rate of N18.96 billion.

In the charge sighted by PUNCH Online on Tuesday, EFCC alleged that Emefiele broke the law with intent to harm the public during his implementation of the naira swap policy of the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The anti-graft agency also accused Emefiele of unlawfully approving the withdrawal of N124.8 billion from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

The document dated April 2, 2024, and marked Suit No: CR/264/2024, was filed by EFCC’s top prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN revealed that Emefiele will be arraigned on a new four-count charge before Justice Hamza Muazu bordering on disobeying the law to punish Nigerians, iilegal printing of money, abuse of office, among others.

Counts one to four of the charge, read, “STATEMENT OF OFFENCE: Public Servant disobeying direction of law with intent to cause injury to the public contrary to and punishable under Section 123 of the Penal Code Law, Cap. 89 Laws of the Federation, 1990.

“PARTICULARS OF THE OFFENCE: That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of N375,520,000.00 pieces of colour swapped N1, 000, at the total cost of N11,052, 068,062 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

“COUNT 3: “That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of 137,070,000 pieces of colour swapped N200 (Two Hundred Naira) Note, at the total cost of N3, 441, 005, 280 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

Advertisement

“COUNT 4: “That you, GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE, on or about the 7th day of October 2020, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 80 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), by approving the withdrawal of the total sum of N124, 860, 227, 865.16 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation in a manner not prescribed by the National Assembly, which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

SEE ALSO:  Land dispute: Enugu-based journalist, Agbo, four others escape death

Recall that Emefiele was on November 18, 2023, arraigned before the court on six counts of procurement fraud, in what is the most high-profile corruption case under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He was also accused of abusing his office by approving a contract for the acquisition of 43 vehicles totalling N1.2 billion from 2018 to 2020.

On Monday, April 8, 2024, the EFCC arraigned the former banker alongside one Henry Omoile before Justice R.A. Oshodi of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos for an alleged $4.5bn and N2.8bn fraud. (PUNCH)

Advertisements
Continue Reading

News

Remove ‘Wanted’ from Yahaya Bello’s name – Kogi Assembly tells EFCC

Published

on

Remove ‘Wanted’ from Yahaya Bello’s name - Kogi Assembly tells EFCC
• Embattled former Kogi Gov, Yahaya Bello
Kogi House of Assembly has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to vacate the ‘wanted’ tag it placed on the name and picture of the immediate past Governor Yahaya Bello.

This forms part of the resolutions during the House plenary on Tuesday and follows a matter of urgent public importance presented on the floor of the House by the member representing Ajaokuta Constituency, Hon Jibrin Abu.

Their resolutions made available to newsmen on Tuesday read: “The EFCC, IGP, Immigration, NSA and other agencies conscripted into this melodrama be so informed and involved to act accordingly. The Commission should not allow itself to become a tool of political vendetta, blackmail, or intimidation against any individual through personal grudges, persecution, and campaign of calumny to tarnish the image of personalities from Kogi State, especially Alh Yahaya Bello or any perceived political enemy of the characters hiding behind their executive powers to unleash allegations through media for public consumption and sympathy.

“The House condemns in its entirety a statement by legal practitioner suggesting a request that the military be involved in the case that does not constitute a threat to internal security or treasonable felony.”

Earlier in his motion, titled,: “A call to end all false, frivolous, fictitious, and far from the truth smear campaign against the former Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello,” Abu lamented the anti-graft agency had been allegedly witch-hunting the former Governor for a long time.

“The recent reports on the print, electronic and social media had featured various debasing forms of address against the former Governor of Kogi State. Recall that the whole narrative was principally sparked off by the blithe actions, without respect to due legal process by Nigeria’s anti- graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

SEE ALSO:  It’s criminal obstructing our operations, EFCC blows hot over Yahaya Bello's escape

“The consequence of this has deeply affected the minds, emotions, and impressions of Kogi citizens, and by extension, Nigerians. Kogi State, over the years, has witnessed a worrisome trend and torrent of witch-hunt by the anti-graft agency, unrepentantly striving to force corruption claims on the State Government and officials.

“This is not forgetting the plight of late Prince Abubakar Audu in the hands of the same agency, albeit, giving his dog a bad name for the kill.

“The Commission started with claims that it discovered a non-existent fund in an alleged Fixed Deposit Account. By its statutory responsibility and while appreciating EFCC’s efforts in the fight against corruption, every right thinking individual would hold it a duty to support it in no small measure to succeed in its primary responsibilities. It is also possible as touted all around for those very wary of certain actions outside legal process by the EFCC to caution against allowing the Commission to become a tool for political vendetta.

Advertisement

“It is pertinent for House to further note that the new objectives assured by the leadership of EFCC upon assumption of duty and in his fight against crimes and corruption under President Ahmed Bola Tinubu are to fight financial crimes with due diligence and legal process. These objectives are being eroded by certain selfish group of political individuals with access to media and investigations in the commission.

“The 7th Legislative Assembly of Kogi State in August and September 2021 berated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission upon the completion of its investigation over the allegation of N20b Bailout diversion against the former Governor of Kogi State, Alh. Yahaya Bello through a fixed deposit account at Sterling Bank, Lokoja.

SEE ALSO:  Eid-el-Fitr: FG declares Tuesday, Wednesday public holiday

“The EFCC has continued the trajectory of persecuting the former Governor against all known legal decencies and now likened, by most, to personal vendetta. But the question is why?

“A point of reference for the House to take cognizance of is the submission, that having wasted taxpayers’ money, the time of the honourable court and Nigerians, one Kemi Pinheiro SAN, acting on behalf of EFCC and other Legal luminaries, discovered that the case of N20b against the State Government lacked substance and that it was aimed at disrespecting the rule of law. The case was accordingly withdrawn citing 6 reasons. These reasons were in line with findings of 7 Legislative Assembly and for berating the EFCC.

“The Rt. Hon. Speaker, distinguished honourable members, this was not without a fight by the then Governor, revealing to Nigerians the impotent drive
by the Commission and its sudden acceptance of duties not enshrined in the law establishing the same.

“Kogi State, by allocation standard, is not rich so much so that N80.4b will be missing that the State will not be shaken to its foundation. This claim by the EFCC should be sanctioned and taken as laughable. Innocent Nigerians and Kogi State citizens that bought into the lies should by their personal volition withdraw their support,” he stated.

In his submissions, the member representing Kabba-Bunu State Constituency Hon. Oluwaseyi Bello berated EFCC for allegedly disobeying a subsisting court order in the State.

Former Deputy Speaker Hon. Enema Paul told the anti graft agency to respect the rule of law.

Advertisement

He said: “Why is EFCC in a haste? Nigeria is not a banana republic. I was surprised to hear a senior lawyer to EFCC inviting the military in a Civil case. Has the Police, DSS failed?

SEE ALSO:  Abure re-elected as LP National Chairman

“I think EFCC should look at their lawyer and see if he is really qualified. The Man they declared wanted is in Appeal Court with them. Declaring him wanted, I think EFCC has a lot of questions to answer. We don’t want military to rule this Country and some body is dragging us back to the olden days.”

Speaker Aliyu Umar Yusuf admonished the anti-graft agency not to act contrary to the law of the country.

“This House is not against the EFCC doing their job but they should do it within the ambit of the law and not in a gestapo way.

“The country belongs to all of us, so we must respect the law and work with it. The EFCC engaging in media trial and working in a gestapo way is unacceptable. If Yahaya Bello has a case to answer, it should be done within the rule of law,” he stated.

Advertisements
Continue Reading

Trending