The destruction that has been seen in the communities in the Mangu local government area of Plateau State has angered the state’s governor, Caleb Mutfwang. He claims that the situation was made worse by drug-addled misguided individuals.
In order to assess the extent of the damage and pledge to intensify the effort to eradicate illicit drugs in the state, he visited Kwashlalek, a community where 27 people were burned alive in a house, as well as other local government areas in Mangu and Bokkos.
The governor appealed to citizens to look out for people bent on causing division and faulted those packaging the acts of terrorism in the state as a quarrel between brothers, as he insisted it was a deliberate act to cripple the economy of Mangu and, by extension, the entire state.
Mutfwang went round on Friday to console the survivors before visiting the palace of the Mishkaham Mwaghavul (the Paramount Ruler of the Mwaghavul tribe), HRH John Hirse asked those giving support to criminals to have a rethink as his administration will do all he can to “ensure that external aggressors are kept out” and those within are dealt with.
His words: “I can’t imagine the loss of humanity; I couldn’t believe human beings could be this callous; I imagine the pain of the 27 persons burnt to death by the wicked people. I sympathise with the families of those who lost their loved ones. The way the merchants of conflict have tried to package the carnage as a quarrel between brothers is unfortunate. These people are deliberately bent on destroying the economy of Mangu.
“Today is market day, and Mangu Market is an international market. Imagine the losses from the looting and burning of foodstuffs. It means that we are facing a potential shortage of food before the next farming season. I appeal that people look out for people bent on dividing us; the youths should desist from taking laws into their own hands. Imagine what it will take to recover from this. It is time to love your brother more than a friend who is a criminal.
“When we look into the remote and immediate causes of this crisis, it was needless, and therefore, it underscores the imperative of living together in peace, and what we’ll be doing in the days ahead is promoting the culture of dialogue amongst our people, because I believe that if there had been sufficient dialogue, this kind of carnage would have been averted. We want to, therefore, appeal to community leaders to rise to the occasion.
“Of course, that was the involvement of drugs. This is something we must tackle to be able to address the issues of the drug menace in our society. This is why we use this medium to tell those in the drug business that their time on the plateau is up and we will not tolerate it any longer. We will come after them. And if they have anywhere they want to do their business, Plateau is certainly not the place.”
However, the Mishkaham Mwaghavul, HRH John Hirse, commended the governor for coming to sympathise with the people, saying that shows the quality of a leader, as he urged the governor to remain focused in spite of the deliberate attempt to distract him.
According to him, “In the past four days, we could not sleep; you have seen the massive destruction; there was no cause for it. A disagreement between two people now engulfs the whole local government. It is better to sit down and dialogue than to take laws into your hands. We have been living in peace and doing businesses together; we don’t know what brought about this. We have destroyed ourselves because we listened to outside forces; there is nothing more important than peace.”
He appealed to the governor to help the people return home and continue with their businesses because that will foster a speedy recovery.
He said, “The people have nothing now; help them return home, and the economy will recover quickly. Don’t be distracted; this is meant to distract you from your focus on bringing good governance to the people. I have been badly affected by the gunpowder; thank God we survived it.”
The governor, however, sympathised with the people over the difficulty caused by the ongoing curfew and promised that once the security review gives a nod, the curfew will be lifted.
After visiting the internally displaced people who had survived the recent attacks in the area, the governor met with a few stakeholders in the Bokkos local government area and gave them hope that he was working hard to get them back to their homes.
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