By Taye Obateru, Emeka Mamah, Kingsley Omonobi & Emmanuel Aziken
JOS â€”NOT less than 1,500 internally displaced persons have taken refuge at the NationalÂ Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, regional academy in Jos, following another round of violent crisis that erupted in the Nasarawa Gwom district of Jos, Plateau State capital, weekend.Â
They are facing food crisis except they return home soon. Security forces have cordoned off the affected area to prevent a spill to other parts of the city
Meanwhile the Police Affairs minister, Dr. Ibrahim Yakubu Lame and the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, have condemned the clashes saying Nigerians have had enough of senseless killings, while Plateau senators demanded the release of white papers arising from commissions of enquiry into past episodes of violence in the State regretting that repeated outbursts of violence were giving credence to the enlistment of Nigerians on the terror list by the United States. Police and troops were deployed in the area yesterday.
NDLEA facility houses victims
The NDLEA Commander in Plateau, Mr. Ralph Igwe, told newsmen in Jos that many of the victims complained that their houses had been burnt. He said: â€œThose whose houses were not burnt are afraid of molestation by hoodlums.
They are feeding themselves. We are constrained by the lack of fund to provide their immediate needs, because we didnâ€™t anticipate the crisis.â€
Igwe said there might be food crisis in the camp, except normalcy returned, noting that the displaced persons had exhausted their foods. He said the state governmentâ€™s delegation and officials of the Red Cross Society had visited the camp, but had yet to supply any relief materials.
â€œMany of the children who slept outside, yesterday, in the cold, were coughing this morning,â€ he added, and called for humanitarian assistance from well-meaning organizations. Most of the affected persons alleged that those who attacked them in the Rikkos area of the city, were people they had lived peacefully with for several years. They appealed for the supply of water and food items by well meaning Nigerians and organizations.
A correspondent who visited Murna Hospital in the Nasarawa area, reported that scores of injured victims were currently on admission. The Resident Doctor, Ibrahim Izam, told newsmen that he had treated and discharged more than 20 injured victims.
Security personnel on patrol
Normalcy is gradually returning to the city, with armed security personnel patrolling the major streets, while business activities were yet to pick up. Police and troops were deployed in the area on Monday and a dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed after the clashes.
According to the residents, security forces searched cars and people on the streets for weapons.
Plateau State police spokesman, Mohammed Lerema told Vanguard:â€Security personnel have succeeded in quelling the unrest and restoring calm in the affected area of the city. We have cordoned the Nasarawa Gwom district as a strategy to prevent the violence from spilling over to other parts of the city.â€
ACF condemns action
In condemning the crisis, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), argued that Nigerians have had enough of senseless violence leading to loss of lives and property. The forum, however, commended both the Plateau State government and the security agencies for bringing the violence under control promptly and called on the authorities to ensure adequate punishment of the perpetrators of the crises to serve as deterrent to others.
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Anthony Sani, in Kaduna,Â yesterday said: â€œFollowing yet another report of violent clashes in the precinct of NasarawaGwom, Jos town of Plateau State, ACF wishes to state that enough is enough of this senseless violenceâ€™s leading to loss of lives.
â€œThis is because violence, be it political, religious or ethnic differences, is not acceptable to God or Allah as well as to the peace loving people of Nigeria and to the atmosphere needed for the socio-economic development. Surely, no society can thrive on the basis of its factions but by tolerant accommodation of one another.
â€œReligious, political and community leaders must brace up and inspire cultural renaissance by working hard to overcome differences that divide the people. And this should be based on core values of humanity. Our leaders must also think and work harder to come up with policies and programmes that would pre-occupy our youths in productive ventures.
â€œMeanwhile, the ACF commends the security agents and the Plateau State government for bringing the situation under immediate, effective control. The government should also go further and investigate the incidences with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.â€
Minister proffers solution
In his reaction, the Police Affairs Minister noted that it was high time the Inspector General of Police and other security chiefs in the country came together and deliberate on a way forward following the persistent sectarian violence in some states in the north.
Speaking while commissioning some heavy duty trucks and patrol motorcycles scheduled to be used for providing prompt response to any reported case of criminal or violent activities in the chosen states, Dr. Lame said; â€œit is so sad that this kind of violence is coming up again after the Borno and Bauchi crises.
â€œLet us, IG and relevant security chiefs put our heads together to make sure that the root cause of these problems are permanently solved because killing ourselves at the slightest provocation instead of going through the legal processes is not allowed.â€
Describing the outbreak of the violence as spontaneous, the minister, however, said there was need to improve police intelligence gathering so that the causes of this violence can be nipped on time. â€œThis can only work if age old traditions in which leaders of communities got information of impending problems and made it known to the policeâ€, he said
Plateau senatorsâ€™ demand
Meanwhile, Plateau senators have demanded the release of white papers arising from commissions of enquiry into past episodes of violence in the State.
Speaking at the end of an assessment visit to Jos, the senators regretted that repeated outbursts of violence in the State were giving credence to the enlistment of Nigerians on the terror list by the United States.
Senator Gyang Dantong, PDP, Plateau North, and Satty Gogwin, PDP, Plateau Central, made a joint visit to Jos following the latest eruption of sectarian violence on the Plateau.
Senator Dantong who spoke on behalf of the duo in a telephone interview while on his way back to Abuja also commended Governor Jonah Jang for moving quickly to restore law and order after the break out of violence on Sunday.
He said:â€œSenator Gogwin and myself have assessed the situation in Jos and we are happy with the response of the security in Plateau State and the situation is calm and I will call on our people to remain calm and be law abiding citizens.
It is quite unfortunate that this thing has happened again especially at this time that Nigeria is being listed as one of the nations on the terrorism watch list. It is quite unfortunate and I feel that the white paper into the other commissions that have been set up should be out and the culprits should be fished out.
â€œIt is quite unfortunate that people in church who go to worship should be attacked, it is unfair, completely unfair and they are making Plateau State appear as if it is a place where nobody can stay. It is a friendly place and I am sure if things are sorted out everything will be ok.â€
The third Senator from the State, Senator John Shagaya could not be reached as at press time.