…visits gov, begs residents to stay, deploys tactical teams to hunt attackers, secure communities
Some overzealous security agents turn victims into suspects, governor tells Egbetokun
The Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, on Friday visited Plateau State following attacks on 25 communities by gunmen on Christmas Eve, which left over 150 persons dead.
However, the visit did little to reassure residents of the affected communities and neighbouring communities, who deserted the areas for fear of further attacks.
The IG, who expressed shock over the killings, said he had ordered the commencement of a special operation to stem the tide of attacks and killings in the state.
Egbetokun, who visited Governor Caleb Mutfwang in his office in Jos, also disclosed that the Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 4, Haladu Musa, had been directed to temporarily relocate his office to Plateau State to ensure an effective operation.
He said, “We have commenced a special operation in this state, and I have directed the DIG in charge of Zone 4 to relocate to Plateau.
“We are committed to ending this circle of violence in Plateau, and we call on communities not to be collaborators in this evil act.
“Citizens should rather cooperate with the police and other security agencies so that we can deal with these criminals once and for all.
“President Bola Tinubu has ordered that the perpetrators of this heinous act be fished out and face the full wrath of the law. I commiserate with the people of Plateau and assure you of the full support of the police in tackling this menace.
“The President has also directed the police to work closely with the military to solve problems in the communities. I appeal to the people of Plateau to join in the fight against these criminal acts and not against a particular tribe or religion.
“Plateau citizens should cooperate with security personnel; criminals have declared war on citizens so we need to join forces to fight the war against criminals. This war should not be seen as a war against a particular tribe, but against criminals.”
The governor commended the IG and his men for their efforts in tackling insecurity but called for improved intelligence sharing among security agencies.
Mutfwang said, “Nigerians trust you and expect so much from you to change the narrative of policing in the country. We are happy to receive you and your team; the last couple of days have been very traumatic.
“In the pursuit of criminals, some overzealous security agents turn victims into suspects. This could be very traumatising to communities. If we share intelligence adequately, it will help the situation.
“This is not about ethnic profiling; let’s demonstrate to Nigerians that this monster can be tamed and don’t just go after the perpetrators, their sponsors too should be unmasked to bring the problems to a closure.”
The IG later visited the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Buba, and proceeded to Bokkos to meet with the survivors of the attacks.
Residents Flee Communities
There was tension in the Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State on Friday over rumours of another attack by suspected assailants.
It was learnt that following the rumour, many residents of Bokkos town fled the area to Jos and other communities they considered safe.
It was further gathered that following the mass exodus of people, transport operators took advantage of the situation to hike the fare from N1,500 to N3,000.
Helicopters were seen hovering over Bokkos town and surrounding villages, which suffered devastating attacks from terrorists.
The Chairman of the Community Peace Observers in the Bokkos Local Government Area, Kefas Mallai, who confirmed the situation in Jos on Friday said, “We are still living in fear. Many of the people from the communities in Bokkos that were attacked have moved out of those places. Even now, people are moving out of Bokkos town because, after the visit of Vice-President Kashim Shettima and other top military officers as well as the Inspector-General of Police, there has been a rumour that Bokkos town will be attacked before New Year’s Eve and a good proportion of the population – residents and IDPs, farmers and herders – are packing out with their families out of Bokkos LGA.
“There’s a rumour that Bokkos town, where thousands of IDPs settled for the meantime, will be attacked heavily in one of the nights before the New Year.
“One of the farmers, who is also an IDP, told me that a herder met her and gave her the warning early on Thursday. The same rumour is making the rounds in the IDP camps that farmers were planning to attack them.
“The rumour has forced many IDPs from both sides and other residents to move to other places outside Bokkos LGA. As I’m talking to you, because of the rumour, transport fare from Bokkos to Jos has now increased from the regular N1,500 to between N3,000 and N4,000 as drivers complain that they only take passengers to Jos and come back empty as people are scared of coming to Bokkos.
“In light of the above, Bokkos town needs proper security cover, especially between now and the New Year’s Day.”
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