Following the Christmas Eve attacks on many Plateau State towns, which resulted in the loss of many lives and livelihoods, the Plateau State Indigenous Youths/Ethnic Nationalities Coalition has revealed that 19,995 individuals have been displaced.
The group has also demanded for a public investigation into the alleged involvement of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) Sector 5 Commander in Bokkos LGA, Lt Col T.T Pave, and his men in the attacks. According to the group, undertaking the aforementioned probe will restore residents’ trust in OPSH’s ability to keep the state at peace.
This was said in a statement released following the coalition’s emergency meeting over the recent deaths and the rise in insecurity in the state, which was held in Mangu LGA.
The communiqué was read to journalists in Jos, the state capital, and signed by Chairman Paul J. Dekete and Secretary Duwam Bosco.
The communique stated, “The coalition observes with deep concern the actions of military personnel on the Plateau, based on their actions and responses during distress situations.”
“The youths have lost trust and confidence in the personnel, especially personnel of sector 5 in Bokkos LGA; as the sector Commander Lt Col T.T Pave was accused by an eyewitness among the affected communities of giving cover and aiding the killing by the Fulani militias, on the claim that the military operation is to protect the minority as claimed by him.”
According to the coalition, “Eyewitnesses from affected communities also alleged that men under Lt Col T.T Pave’s command do arrest and kill locals, as seen in the case of the late Mr. Samuel Longleng, who was confronted and fired at will by men under his command at Garah–kawel, of Mushere district of Bokkos LGA, among other cases, while arrested Fulani are released within the shortest possible time.”
“We are calling for his public probing and possible discipline to serve as a deterrent and restore confidence in the Military Operation within the State,” the group maintained.
“The attention of the Coalition has been drawn to the harsh molestation of our people in Bokkos LGA by personnel deployed for peace restoration in the area, after the massacre; such personnel should be called to order,” the coalition advised.
The Coalition also raised concerns about the destruction of farms and houses of victims/displaced persons. “We also observed that there is a deliberate attempt by the Fulani militias to prevent victims from returning to their ancestral land/homes by looting their properties and food items. The Coalition is calling on the Government to take necessary action aimed at stopping the looting of properties of victims/displaced persons.”
According to the group, “So far, statistics show that more than 200 locals were killed in Bokkos alone, with over 300 houses, 1,290 cars burnt, 19,995 people displaced, now taking refuge at the mini-stadium in Bokkos, apart from those who had fled to relatives in other parts of the State and Country.”
“While displaced persons from various villages are taking refuge in Bokkos town, information at the coalition’s disposal indicates that some armed Fulani are being hosted at Maling (Angwan Hausawa). We are calling on security agents to search and disarm them, to avoid future attacks and the killing of innocent citizens.”
This coalition also demands the creation of the North Central Development Commission in order to lessen the suffering of those who have been attacked in the area.
“In view of the wanton destruction of lives and properties in Plateau state and across the North Central region of the Country, we are calling on the Federal Government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the establishment of the commission to cater to the millions of people displaced and living as internally displaced persons camps in their ancestral land, as done in the North-East region of the country.”
According to the group, “Establishing the commission will make the people have confidence in this administration and also fast track speedy development and restoration of normalcy.”
The coalition also honours the valiant work of Sector 4 Commander Col. U.S. Abdulsalam for his quick action in stopping the invasion from intensifying and damaging a portion of Barkin Ladi LGA.