LEAGUE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS JOS, NIGERIA

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WHEN THE ARMY WENT TO SLEEP AND THE POEPLE WERE MASSACRED


10th March 2010

National Advisory Council: Dr. Bala Takaya, Prof. Sam Egwu. Trustees: Hauwa Shekarau, Rev. Mathias Ndian, Dr. Ayodele Jegede.

Christine Olaniyan, Director: Shamaki Gad Peter

Press Release

WHEN THE ARMY WENT TO SLEEP THE PEOPLE WERE MASSACRED

First, they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me--- Rev. martin Niemoller

The recent attack on four (4) Berom villages (Ratsat, Zot, Shen and Dogo Nahawa) by Fulani Herdsmen for whatever reason, to say the least is barbaric, uncalled for and the worst act of man’s inhumanity to man and simply condemnable. The killing of innocent women and children shows the complete debasement of the human mind and that our quest for peace on the Plateau is far from being achieved. This pattern of attacks and killings were similar to those that took place in Yelwa Shendam in 2004 that led to the declaration of a State of Emergency and we hope that this will not also be the case.

Since the January 17th crisis in Jos, there has been allegations of lopsidedness on the part of security personnel from several quarters and this has made people to call for the restructuring of the security personnel not only in the state but across the country giving the fact that several assurance of professionalism form the top echelon has not played out in their statutory duties of protection of lives and properties.

When Communities put their hope in the hands of Security Forces and the same security men turn the other way when the people are been killed, to say the least is a betrayal of trust. How can we fathom the rational behind the fact that people run to seek for help from those deployed to provide security and they are told either there is no fuel or simply they have not been instructed to act. The usual delay associated with quick security response calls to question the intentions that inform such delays from the high commands.

People are gradually losing confidence in the presence of security personnel because they no longer believe that it will bring peace and stability and this is to say the least a dangerous development for a nation at the precipice. The main presence of security cannot guarantee peace; it can only come from a heart that has peace and from a peace enforcer that is loyal and committed to his duty. More disturbing is the huge resources used in the maintenance and sustenance of these troops who now let the people down; the same troops who instead of guarding the streets at night engage themselves in idle pass times when the streets go quite, to the detriment of their statutory duties. Giving the fact that the assurances of the military high command has not paid off as the death toll continue to increase and the GOC’s inability to provide stable security and practical solution to the Plateau crisis within the immediacy of time, we therefore call for the removal of the GOC 3rd Amoured Division. His troops are slow in response to distress calls, clear lines of command compromise the necessity for quick response, professional conduct as to civil engagement leaves much to be desired and even military intelligence information gathering seems lacking. Plateau state at this point and any other state in conflict needs a GOC with fresh ideas, that thinks outside the box, is proactive and one with mobile and professional troops.

The Questions we ask after each attack in these communities are:

Ø How do the attackers move from point ‘A to B’ without being noticed, especially with the state under security alert?

Ø Who and what aid their movements?

Ø Where are the attackers camped and mobilized?

Ø When do they do their reconnaissance and map out their engagement strategy?

Ø Those that are arrested, what usually happens to them?

Ø Where are those taken to Abuja?

Ø If the attacks were as a result of retaliation, how can one justify the killing of vulnerable women and children?

We need peace in Plateau State and in order to have peace, there must be fairness and justice without which there can be no meaningful development. Dialogue is good but it won’t work when people can kill and go unchecked and unpunished by law so the security personnel must step up their game to nip in the bud these attacks by staying loyal and committed to their line of duty. In conclusion, we hereby demand that:

Ø Those arrested should be interrogated and prosecuted in Jos to check impunity.

Ø Government should discourage any act of hate preaching, hate speeches and hate journalism.

Ø We also call for a review of the security arrangement and we strongly commend the actions of the Acting President on the removal of the former National Security Adviser who seem to have been overwhelmed and lacking in capacity to synergize information and other security agencies who have not performed in the last 2 to 3 years, looking at the spade and spread of violent conflicts around the country.

Ø Government should investigate activities of neighboring states from where these mercenaries are said to sneak into Plateau state.

Ø The Federal Government, State Government and Local Government should have the political will to do the right thing by prosecuting those found wanting and putting in place security measures to check uprisings.

Ø Arrest and prosecute Journalists that consciously incite violence through their reportage of crises.

Ø No committee again. ACTION TIME!

Shamaki Gad Peter

Director

POSTED BY: KHALID KASSIM

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