By Taye Obateru
Jos â€” A House of Representatives member from Plateau State, Mr. Bitrus Kaze, has called for the trial of soldiers alleged to have engaged in extra-judicial killings in the aftermath of the recent crisis in the state.
He made the call, weekend, alleging that the manner some of them conducted themselves tended to erode public confidence in the security forces.
According to him, an unarmed citizen was shot to death by a soldier around Tina Junction in Jos on January 18, while another â€œdefenceless youthâ€ was shot in Tudun Wada area by another soldier for allegedly breaching the curfew hours.
â€œUnder the Rule of Law, offenders are prosecuted in the courts and are sentenced appropriately upon conviction.
â€œWho authorised the army, drafted to protect lives and properties, to summarily execute citizens suspected of breaching curfew hours?
â€œWere this a country where the Rule of Law truly thrives, some trigger-happy soldiers would have faced trial for extra-judicial killings,â€ Kaze said.
He blamed the recurrent crises in the state on the failure to punish culprits of past violence, recalling how some of those arrested over the 2008 crisis were taken to Abuja, but eventually released without trial.
He described the reported transfer of about 135 of those arrested in connection with the recent crisis to Abuja as a dangerous signal â€œwhich gives credence to the allegations that crises in Jos is sponsored by forces outside Plateau and that perpetrators of these heinous acts have godfathers in official circles.â€
The lawmaker also faulted the transfer of the former Police Commissioner in the state, Mr. Greg Anyting, as clumsy and â€œperceived to be punitive and intended to serve the purpose of certain powerful forces who are
working frantically (albeit unsuccessfully) to mystify the real cause of the crisis.â€