The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has condemned the killing of 23 passengers on Rukuba road, Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State, saying it is an outrageous and dastardly act.
The group added that apathy by security operatives has encouraged heinous crimes in the region leading to destruction of lives and properties.
A statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr Isuwa Dogo, on Tuesday and made available to BBNAIJA ONLINE” lamented that many communities in the state have come under never-ending attacks by killer herdsmen in the past, especially in the last few days, stating that it is on record that no fewer than 65 villages and towns in the state have been sacked and till today, there is no genuine effort deployed to chase away invaders that are presently occupying these sacked communities.
It further observed that before now, several communities in Irigwe land have come under assaults, leading to the killing of no fewer than 70 people, while hundreds of houses and large swathes of farmlands destroyed.
“Strangely, even after these vicious attacks that have turned these communities into killing fields, the security forces have remained awfully silent and inactive in bringing these criminals to justice,” the group said.
The forum noted that considering the circumstances surrounding the weekend killings involving travellers that were said to be returning to Ekiti and Ondo states after attending an Islamic function in Bauchi, adding that there is the need for the security agencies to investigate the incident with a view to establishing the real identities of these slain travellers and those behind these killings.
The MBF condemned the quick identification of victims and the alleged perpetrators of these crimes, saying that with the Irigwe Development Association (IDA) disassociating itself from the attack, it is imperative that searchlights be beamed on other areas in order to unearth the truth.
It called on the security agencies to find out where these travellers were coming from, explaining that initially, the police had disclosed that the slain travellers hailed from Ekiti and Ondo State, but later discovered that they were Fulani, with not a single Yoruba man.
The forum asked, “Was one of the vehicles in the convoy carrying a large cache of arms? Where were the travellers headed for and from where were they coming from? How could the Irigwe youths, as claimed by the Police, could be engaged in mourning and burying the dead and at the same time perpetrating bedlam against travellers?”
The forum condemned the weekend killings in Jos and called on relevant security agencies in the country to embark on a thorough enquiry of the incident with a view to identifying the perpetrators of this heinous attack.
It added that it is is unfortunate that a Bauchi-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, called on the government to do something or risk a reaction, noting that unfortunately, the Sheikh’s remarks must be seen as a veiled threat that has the capacity to inflame passion which could lead to something more tragic than the one witnessed on Saturday.
It enjoined all security agencies in the country to pay close attention to such threats and hold the Islamic cleric responsible in case there is breach of security.
It admitted that there is no denying the fact that the government has demonstrated worrisome hiatuses leading to the tragic weekend event, pointing out that a government determined to maintain law and order should have worked round the clock to give these monsters a bloody nose and stave off further mayhem being unleashed on communities on the Plateau.
The forum noted that as men, women and children were massacred by these killer herdsmen, the ominous silence by security forces clearly pointed out a lackluster disposition by the government in combating terror attacks on vulnerable people.
It urged the Federal Government to do everything within its power to unearth the real perpetrators of the carnage, stressing that Nigeria is cascading into a fearsome valley of uncertainties and not a few Nigerians are thinking that the security forces are only interested in protecting only a particular group to the detriment of others.
It emphasized that the time has come for the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to rise up and halt these slaughters tearing the country apart, adding that with the level of bloodshed so far seen in this country, the government must wake up and decisively deal with the matter before it is too late.
“Our security agencies cannot achieve the objective of tackling insecurity ripping through their country without synergising with attacked communities for the attainment of safety for all,” the forum advised.