1,801 Persons Killed in Plateau Attacks

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Governor Simon Lalong

• Loss of lives won’t go in vain, Lalong assures victims

Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

No fewer than 1,801 persons have been confirmed dead and 50,212 others displaced in recent attacks in Plateau State.

The Committee on Resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), set up by the state government, made the confirmation yesterday.

This development is coming as the Governor of the state, Simon Lalong, has assured the people of the state that the deaths and loss of properties won’t go in vain, as it is the responsibility of government to exhibit the duty of care towards them as well as all citizens.

The Chairman of the committee, Air Vice Marshall Bala Danbaba (rtd), presented his report to Lalong in Jos.

Danbaba said the committee identified 115 communities cutting across Jos North, Jos South, Bassa, Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Bokkos Local Government Areas, that were affected by the crises.

He said the committee, whose one month period was later increased to two months, received 55 memoranda and visited 27 camps where the IDPs were quartered.

“The only IDPs camp we did not visit was the one at Lere, in the Dorowa area of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area. We could not go there because of security reasons.

“The committee also visited all the affected communities for an on-the-spot assessment,” he stated.

He said the committee had recommended that the IDPs be returned to their ancestral homes, saying the exercise should be carried out in four phases.

“The committee also emphasised the provision of adequate security in the affected areas,” he said, adding that the IDPs were willing and anxious to return to their homes, if security was guaranteed.

Danbaba suggested that a victim support programme be initiated to reduce their sufferings.

The committee also called for the establishment of temporary camps within the victims’ communities, for them to live in, while their houses were being reconstructed.

Lalong, who received the report, commended the committee for carrying out a good job, and announced that the seven-man committee would be responsible for its implementation.

Lalong assured the people of the state that the deaths and loss of properties of all victims in the various crises in the state won’t go in vain, as it is the responsibility of government to exhibit the duty of care towards them as well as all citizens.

He added that having attracted the establishment of the 205 Combat/Rescue Units in Kerang and Mobile Police Squadron in Shendam, and with the recent approval to establish Mobile Police barracks in troubled Gashish district of Barkin Ladi, where herders/farmers clashes had repeatedly occurred, IDPs from the area would soon be re-settled back to their homes.

Lalong stated that it was in the spirit of restoring peace in the state that “on assumption of duty in May 2015, we made it a priority that security, peace and good governance must take the centre stage for any meaningful and sustainable development to take place. This led to the establishment of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee that met and made far-reaching recommendations for the government to implement.”

Among these recommendations, according to Lalong, the Plateau Peace

Building Agency, the first of its kind in the country, and doing a good job of advocacy, pro-activeness in conflict management among others were also established. “Another far-reaching recommendation which the government embraced was tackling the issue of IDPs,” he added.

While commending the efforts of the IDP Resettlement Committee, the governor said the patriotic zeal they exhibited in the course of carrying out the assignment can be seen from the pains taken to take stock of lives and property affected; recommendations made on what to be done, and strategies for implementation towards lasting solution to the unfortunate incidences.