Plateau carnage: Death toll hits 150, over 10,000 displaced as Tinubu orders arrest of attackers

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

•President orders killers’ arrest, 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.

‘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.

“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.

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.

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.

“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.”

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.”

“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.”

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.”

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.

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.

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)

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Kogi, Lagos, Rivers most expensive states in Nigeria as inflation rises to 28% – NBS

Kogi, Lagos, and Rivers are the most expensive states in Nigeria, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

NBS’s November latest Consumer Price Index disclosed that the All-Items Inflation rate is the highest in the three states.

Accordingly, the report stated that Kogi (33.28 per cent), Lagos (32.30 per cent), and Rivers (32.25 per cent) states recorded the prices on a year-on-year basis.

Meanwhile, Borno (22.47 per cent), Katsina (24.91 per cent), and Plateau (25.53 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in Headline inflation on a Year-on-Year basis.

On a month-on-month basis, however, November 2023 recorded the highest increases in Kano (3.55 per cent), Kebbi (3.34 per cent), Borno (3.24 per cent), while Taraba (0.74 per cent), Anambra (1.00 per cent) and Enugu (1.18 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in Month-on-Month inflation.

Narrowing the analysis to food inflation in November 2023, on a Year-on-Year basis, Kogi was highest (41.29 per cent), Kwara (40.72 per cent) and Rivers (40.22 per cent), while Bauchi (26.14 per cent), Borno (27.34 per cent) and Jigawa
(27.63 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in food inflation on a Year-on-Year basis.

On a Month-on-Month basis, however, in November 2023, food inflation was highest in Cross River (4.37 per cent), Edo (3.95 per cent) and Rivers (3.91 per cent), while Anambra (0.63 per cent), Oyo (0.91 per cent) and Bauchi (1.00 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in inflation on a Month-on-Month basis.

DAILY POST reports that Nigeria’s inflation in November rose to 28.20 per cent.

(Daily Post)

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Nigerian Dailies: 10 talking points this Monday

Good morning! Here is today’s summary from Nigerian Newspapers:

1. Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has said Emirates Airline will recommence flight operations in Nigeria very soon. Keyamo, disclosing this via his X account on Sunday, said he met some top officials of the United Arab Emirates’ flag carrier, adding that they will reveal the exact date to begin operations.

2. The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has nullified the election of Governor Caleb Muftwang of Plateau State. A three-member panel, in a unanimous decision on Sunday, held that Muftwang was not validly sponsored by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as provided by Section 285(2) of the Nigerian Constitution.

3. Seven years after he escaped from prison custody following his conviction for drug dealing, a notorious major distributor of illicit substances within the FCT, Abuja, Ibrahim Momoh, popularly known as Ibrahim Bendel, has been re-arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) during a raid of his hideout at Filin Dabo, Dei-Dei area of the FCT.

4. The Petroleum Tanker Drivers arm of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, on Sunday, threatened to pull out of NUPENG. PTD declared that it would pull out of the oil union if NUPENG’s National President, Williams Akporeha, and its General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi, failed to resign from their positions.

5. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, weekend, said the ruling All Progressives Congress in Benue State would not allow anyone to run away with the party’s mandate again. Akume stated this at the party’s stakeholders meeting held at Government House, Makurdi. The SGF, who was represented by one of the elders of the party, Simon Shango, said the party was determined to ensure peace and unity in its ranks.

6. About one-third of those who applied to join the police in the ongoing recruitment process have been rejected. The Police Service Commission (PSC) said yesterday that 190,741 of the 547,774 applicants were dropped for failure to meet conditions such as age, inappropriate credentials and inadequate physical fitness.

7. Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu yesterday dared his boss, Governor Godwin Obaseki, by unfolding his ambition to succeed him next year on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Explaining why he threw his hat into the ring, he said “Edo needs a practical leader.”

8. A faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) led by Ugochukwu Ofoegbu in Imo State has directed its members and pensioners who have not been paid their salaries to forward their details. The information will be passed on to the National Security Adviser (NSA) Nuhu Ribadu, who is intervening in the Labour-state government face-off.

9. President Bola Tinubu on Sunday landed in Berlin, Germany to attend the G20 Compact with Africa Conference scheduled for Monday. The President’s official plane, the Nigeria Air Force 1 touched down at the Willy Brandt Berlin Brandenburg International Airport in Berlin at about 1.17 am on Sunday.

10. The father of the Vice Chairman of Kwali Area Council of the FCT, Alhaji Mohammed Yakubu, a pregnant woman and five others have been abducted by gunmen in Yewuti village of the council. It was learnt that a villager, Hussaini Kure, was shot dead during the attack.

(Daily Post)

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