Gyang Bere, Jos
Residents of Plateau State have been placed on red alert over alleged massive influx of suspected killer herdsmen and kidnappers from the North Central states into some rural communities of Barkin-Ladi, Riyom, Bassa and Bokkos local government areas, respectively.
The warning was contained in a communiqué signed by Chairman of Catholic Bishop of Nigeria and Archbishop of Jos, Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, representative of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Alh. Yususf Sarumi, representatives of Fulani Community, Alh. Haruna Baro, among others during a meeting of Religious and Ethnic/Community Leaders in conjunction with Security agencies at the Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace (DREP) Centre, Jos, Plateau State.
The communiqué read in parts: “We observed that there is mass movement influx of herdsmen from other states into Plateau. This has has the capacity to spark conflicts with e natives. We appeal to our native Fulani herdsmen with whom we have coexisted peacefully to help in fishing out strange elements who invade our communities to cause trouble.
“We condemned in strong terms the growing spate of crime such as kidnapping, pick pocketing and armed robbery among others in the state. We also observed that most communities are becoming militarised as possession of illegal firearms is rising.
“Armed proliferation can only endanger our communities and expose us to more risks. We called on citizens to cooperate with security agencies to protect us rather than take the laws into our hands.”
Rev. Kaigama also encouraged citizens of Plateau and neighbouring states to be open to security agencies and cooperate with them by reporting suspicious movement and gathering by strange persons in rural communities.
He commended security agencies for their efforts in combating crime within Jos and caution parents against lack of cooperation with security agencies particularly when their children are involved in criminal activities.
According to the clergyman, “We observed that parent and relatives whose children are hoodlums are not cooperating our security agencies especially agent their children and wards involved in crime. They don’t only block access to their suspected children, but also make efforts to bail them out when they are arrested.”
Director General of Plateau State Peace Building Agency, Joseph Lengmang, confirmed the influx of suspected herdsmen into the state and said government has taken proactive measures to avert killings of innocent people.
In the words of Lengmang, “The threat is parts of the reasons that led to the postponement of Local Government Elections in the state, there are reports to that effects and when there is danger, the only option is to avert it. We have received reports not just in Plateau but across the North Central geopolitical zone.
” are a lot of movement and we are all aware of what happen in Benue which has ripple effect and calls for different reactions, we are alert in Plateau and Government has taken necessary measures to stop it.
Lengmang condemned the growing spate of fresh criminal acts perpetuating in Jos by hoodlums which includes stabbing with knives, stealing, raping and violence carried out by boys in their teenage aged.