The moderate peace that Plateau State has enjoyed in recent years now appears to be frittering away with resumed escalation of attacks on agrarian communities around Jos by brigands locals suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
Victims and witnesses tell Peoples Gazette that Governor Simon Lalong has failed to prioritise the security of residents and the perennial disaffection between traditional settlers and nomadic herders could yet again heighten sectarian tension among residents of “The Home of Peace and Tourism.”
Witnesses said the close proximity to the Nigerian Army 3rd Armoured Division, Rukuba Barracks, Jos, should have made it more difficult for people around Bassa Local Government Area to be attacked by rampaging herders.
But following renewed attacks on farmlands that initially lasted weeks, the crisis worsened since July 27 when scores were left killed in attacks believed to be linked to herders seeking to take control of rich farming communities across the local government area.
No fewer than 63 people have been killed and over 500 houses burnt, Justice Chinge Dogo, former President of Irigwe Youth Movement who has been monitoring the crisis, told Peoples Gazette.
Whereas Mr Lalong has given an order to security personnel in the state to ensure peace is restored to affected areas, residents said they were not confident in his assurances as another village Kpara was attacked on August 4.
During a security meeting held recently at the Government House in Jos, Plateau police commissioner Edward Egbuka told journalists that the governor has given the police two weeks to quell the situation, News Agency of Nigeria said.
As victims continue to mount pressure on Mr Lalong and scold him for his laxity in handling the relentless attacks on several villages in Bassa and Riyom, The Gazette interviewed victims and witnesses of the gruesome carnage unleashed by suspected herdsmen just over the past week.
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