Victims Feel As If Terrorists Were Given Official Government Backing To Attack Them — Mutfwang.
Governor Caleb Mutfwang has criticised what he described as the “lack of political will” by the Federal Government to flush out marauding terrorists on the Plateau.
Mutfwang asserted that insurgents had occupied schools in the Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area of the state for five years without facing any dislodgment.
During his appearance on Tuesday’s Sunrise Daily program on Channels Television, Mutfwang pointed out that the escalation of the crisis on the Plateau is due to the lack of arrests made by security agents.
Mutfwang, still mourning, characterised the Christmas Eve simultaneous assaults on over 15 communities in the Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi Local Government Areas of the state as “unprovoked.”
These recent attacks have resulted in over 115 fatalities, numerous injuries, and the destruction of hundreds of houses.
“We must stop this carnage,” the governor said matter-of-factly, adding that security agents “cannot continue with this reactionary strategy but be proactive“.
“As I am talking to you today, in Barkin-Ladi Local Government, schools have been occupied by these terrorists for some years now. Not less than 64 communities have been displaced, and the lands have been taken over by these marauding terrorists,” he added.
The governor further noted that he would approach President Bola Tinubu to give security agents clear instructions to protect the people on the Plateau against their land-grabbing attackers.
He said, “I will be talking to Mr President on this. We need to summon the political will to give instructions to security agencies to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria and even the internal integrity of our land boundaries.”
Mutfwang asserted that the continuous assaults on the Plateau’s inhabitants are linked to land issues, emphasising that non-indigenous residents can acquire land on the Plateau but not through the use of violence.
There are ways of acquiring lands, not through violence, and we must be able to resort to constitutionalism in dealing with these issues.
“People who want land on the Plateau are free to approach the communities, negotiate and settle in those communities. I don’t think people will refuse, but where they resort to violence to take over those lands, you will be sure that this is a time bomb because it will reach a time when people react, and we are going to have a large-scale conflict. I pray we don’t get to that point.”
Mutfwang lamented over the situation on the Plateau, highlighting that a significant part of the problem stems from the lack of arrests or prosecutions in connection with the heinous attacks that have occurred over the years.
He said, “Part of the problem we have is that so far, there have been no arrests, no prosecution, and as far as we do not confront this issue headline, some people feel their attackers are being protected.”
“Under the last regime, the feeling of the 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 that these schools that are being occupied didn’t start now; some of those schools have been occupied for the last three to five years. Children in those schools have had to relocate, and primary healthcare centres have been abandoned.”