By Taye Obateru
JOSâ€”THERE was pandemonium at the Police Staff College, yesterday, as members of the joint task force maintaining security in the state capital shot two persons who were trying to arrest some fleeing attackers said to have run into the college.
One of them, identified as Mr. Gyang, died instantly while the injured man was rushed to hospital and is being treated for gunshot wounds.
This was even as some women in Vwang district protested alleged extra-judicial killings by security men following Mondayâ€™s killing of a young man in Bukuru. The women who wore all black attires lamented that those sent to defend them were now killing them.
There was a near showdown between the police guards at the Police Staff College and the military men who were said to have gone to the college in two armed personnel carriers, APCs, with number NA 25-950322 and NA 25-95032333 and two Hilux trucks with number FGN 373A0/3 and PL274101.
The military men led by a captain reportedly asked to be allowed into the premises to arrest the Fulani men alleged to have sneaked into the premises via a collapsed fence but the policemen sought to obtain permission from their superiors before allowing them in.
This infuriated the military men who reportedly forced their way into the premises and in the ensuing commotion opened fire on a crowd that had gathered within the premises leading to the death.
The military men eventually arrested and left with four attackers.
Attempts to get official reaction to the development from military authorities failed as those contacted said only the General Officer Commanding 3 Armoured Division, General Saleh Maina could speak on the operation.
However, an officer who spoke under condition of anonymity dismissed insinuations of extra-judicial killings against the military men saying their acts would always be dictated by circumstances. He said:â€œYou do not expect a soldier to see something wrong and not act.â€
Allegations of lopsidedness
Meanwhile, a civil group, the League for Human Rights, has warned that the people were gradually losing confidence in the ability of the military to offer them protection following allegations of lopsidedness on the part of security personnel.
Speaking to journalists yesterday, the Leagueâ€™s Director, Peter Shamaki said people were also worried that the killings have continued despite the security alert in the state.
The group said: â€œPeople are gradually losing confidence in the presence of security personnel because they no longer believe that they will bring peace and stability and this is, to say the least, a dangerous development for a nation at the precipice.
The mere 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.
â€œWe need peace in Plateau State and to have peace, there must be fairness and justice without which there can be no meaningful development. Dialogue is good but it wonâ€™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.â€
Police beef up security in Zamfara
The Zamfara Police Command has taken necessary measures to forestall any breach of peace and order in the state in the wake of a fresh outbreak of violence in Plateau.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Longinus Ibe, said in Gusau that â€œthe command is not taking chances in the effort to stem any spread of the crisis to any part of Zamfara.â€
He said the command had drafted its mobile units andÂ policemen to carry out regular patrol of every part of the state, especially Gusau metropolis, stressing that the measure was to reassure the public of adequate security of lives and property in the state.
Ibe advised the public not to panic at the sight of the heavy presence of policemen, but to go about their lawful engagements.
AC blames violence on govtâ€™s insincerity
The Action Congress, AC, has accused the Federal Government of hypocrisy in its reaction to the latest violence in Jos, saying concrete action to stop the cycle of impunity, rather than crocodile tears, will end the violence.
The party said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Lagos, that nothing short of arresting and bringing perpetrators of the heinous killings to justice and ensuring respect for human rights will end the recurring violence that has claimed 5,000 lives in Jos since 2001, according to official figures.
The statement said perpetrators of the killings knew that once the government and all concerned made all the usual noises, the whole issue would die down until the next round of violence, adding: â€˜â€™This is what has emboldened them to continue to kill and maim innocent people.â€™â€™
The AC said: â€œWith the mass burial of the victims, the issue is buried until the violence flares up again. That is why the perpetrators are encouraged to continue their dastardly act. Of course a few scallywags will be arrested and paraded, only to be let off the hook a few days later.
â€œThe government is the problem. It has the power of arrest and prosecution. It has the ability and resources to gather intelligence. If it (government) were hunting the opposition now, it will be more efficient. They know what to do to stop the violence but will not do it.
â€œThat is why we have always said the killings are more political than religious. A few security agencies may be involved in shooting some innocent people, but the real perpetrators are far away, pulling the strings. At the end, only the common man dies, either the low and poor Christians or the low and poor Muslims.â€™â€™
The party warned that unless something urgent was done to stop the cycle of violence in the country, it might assume a more dangerous dimension if it triggers reprisal attacks which can set the nation on fire.