Hon Ahmed Idris caused a stir on the floor of the House of Representatives last week. In his contribution to a motion on the recent killings in Plateau in which about 215 persons lost their lives, the lawmaker said he knows those behind the dastardly act, noting that he has documentary evidence to back up his claims.
Idris, who represents Was Federal Constituency of Plateau State, went to say that a few years back, some 300 people were trained in Israel, ostensibly on how to handle fire arms. He stated that presently no one can give account of those people.
According the the Federal legislator, he got to know this when he served as member of the transition committee in the state after the 2015 general election.
In his words : “I want to say this that the security men are not doing their work, they are the remote causes of this matter, whether we like it or not. I want to tell this House and Nigerians that about 300 people were trained in Israel, it’s there in our report, we gave it to the government to work on and find out those sponsoring them.
“Till today, nobody has been traced and these people are the ones who go about killing people. I’m giving you this and I’m willing to surrender this documents.
“A company in Plateau State did importation and about four containers were missing and when we traced as a committee what was in those containers, we were told that the containers were taken to the house of a politician. When we traced the name of the company it was a security company in Israel. They bought arms.
“We do not want to say the truth and this will continue to haunt and bedevil us. The truth of the matter is that there are some politicians behind these killings. I’m from Plateau State and I’m saying those behind this are politicians and I know I’m putting my life on the line by saying this, but I prefer to die and save others. I’m willing to surrender some of these documents.”
Expectedly, the Plateau State Caucus in the National Assembly, has challenged the police to take up the gauntlet and investigate all the allegations made by Hon Idris.
Addressing National Assembly correspondents on behalf of the Plateau caucus, Hon Johnbull Shekarau had that “that 300 persons were trained in Israel from Plateau State with no trace of identification or travel documents is an indictment on Nigeria Immigration Service, DSS and other security agencies”, adding that it was curious that the lawmaker who claimed to have access to the information during the 2015 transition period, waited until now to divulge same.
“We therefore call on the IGP to immediately invite Hon. Idris to provide the proof of the sponsors of the killings on the Plateau….so that Hon. Idris can substantiate his claims. Since he made the allegations public, the IGP should also inform the public of the outcome of the investigation.”
For me, there is more to Hon Idris’ claim than meets the eyes. By his account, he got to know about those troubling Plateau State, in 2015. The question is what has he done about that information in the past three years? Why does he have to wait until the recent killings before speaking out?
I agree totally with the Plateau State NASS caucus that as part efforts to unravel those behind the Plateau killings, which the House have declared a genocide, the police should immediately interview Hon Idris. That certainly will give a clue to the sponsors and perpetrators of the Plateau massacre. The lawmaker should be tell the police all he knows about the security challenges confronting the state, as that would help in no small measure in getting to the root of the matter.
It is good that the House has already adopted a resolution mandating the security agencies to provide him with adequate security, so that he can serve as state witness in the trial of those behind the gruesome killings in Plateau.
From revelations coming out from Plateau, it is obvious that the state in a deeper mess than we ever imagine. Hon Istafinus Gyang, in a motion on the Plateau killings had informed the Green chamber that 52 of the villages and communities attacked are currently under” illegal and forced” occupation by the armed herdsmen. The affected villages and communities are located in Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Bassa and Mangu local government areas of the state.
It is unimaginable that some villages and communities would be forcefully occupied by “killer herdsmen”, while the inhabitants of those villages are now refugees in different Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the state. Yet, there is governor in that state.
It is imperative for Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong to speak out on the issues that have arisen from the recent killings in the state. The governor should as a matter of urgency tell the world what he has done about the forceful occupation of a part of the state, and training of some 300 people in Isreal. If it is true, that was part of the report presented to him by his transition committee, what did he do about this piece of information. It is not enough to go about grandstanding.
You see, at the height of Benue State tribulations in the hands of killer herdsmen, Lalong had attributed the killings in Benue to the Anti-open Grazing law enacted by the state House of Assembly, stating that he warned Governor Samuel Ortom against it. But little did the world that the Plateau people were living in bondage, as it were ; even though an Anti-Open Grazing law is not in place in Plateau. Now, the wind has blown and the rump of the fowl is open for all to see.
It is good that the Green chamber has taken far reaching resolutions on how to address the security situation in Plateau and by extension other parts of the country. However, it is incumbent on Governor Lalong, the Plateau State House of Assembly, the state caucus in the National Assembly, as well as well meaning citizens of the state to insist on the full implementation of the House resolutions. The leaders of the state, irrespective of political affiliations, must speak with one voice. This is not the time to play unnecessary politics.
Particularly, the Plateau State House of Assembly must look inward to evolve urgent legislative solutions to the security challenges in the state, while they wait for the federal government to implement the House resolutions.