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‘Proscribe Militias As Terrorists’, Plateau Christian Leaders Present 10-Point Demands

Presenting a 10-point agenda to the governor, the leaders urged the AGF, Lateef Fagbemi, to facilitate the proscription of militias allegedly responsible for the continuous killings and destruction on the Plateau.


Christian leaders carry placards in demonstration against Plateau killings in Jos on January 8, 2024.

 

Members of the Christian community in Plateau State staged a rally in Jos, the state capital, on Monday, in a demonstration against the heinous Christmas Eve killings of over 200 persons in the Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi local government areas by blood-thirsty marauders.

The leaders alongside, their placard-bearing followers, marched to the Government House in Rayfield, Jos, where they were received by Governor Caleb Mutfwang.

The leaders of the Christian community described as “unprovoked, wicked, satanic and genocidal”, the killings of innocent and harmless residents in the state by gunmen. They said the recent attacks were targeted at Christians with Christmas as the timing.

The leaders include the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Plateau, Polycarp Lubo; President of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Stephen Panya; President of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), Amos Mohzo; Bishop of Methodist Church, Jos, Nkechi Nwosu; Gideon ParaMallam, among other prominent Christian leaders in the state.

“In the last 22 years of killings, no serious attackers and their sponsors have been apprehended and properly prosecuted and sanctioned to the best of our knowledge,” they said. “Therefore, over the years, the attackers and their sponsors have become more emboldened to continue in their satanic schemes while Christians are left in pain and sorrow.”

 

Sombre-faced members of the Christian community in Plateau State mourn Christmas Eve killings of their loved ones in Jos, the state capital, on Monday, January 8, 2024

 

Presenting a 10-point agenda to the governor, the leaders urged the Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, to facilitate the proscription of militias allegedly responsible for the continuous killings and destruction on the Plateau.

They demanded timely intervention and provision of emergency relief supplies for over 15,000 residents displaced by marauders who burnt their houses.

Other demands include: “We unequivocally and emphatically call for an end to these sustained attacks and killings on the Plateau and in Nigeria. We demand immediate justice for the innocent people of Bokkos, Mangu, Riyom, Bassa, Barkin Ladi and other affected communities.

“We therefore call on security agencies to align with this new mindset and ensure that the criminals responsible for these heinous attacks are apprehended, prosecuted and brought to justice.

 

An aerial view of grief-stricken residents expressing displeasure against Plateau killings in Jos on Monday, January 8, 2024

 

“We unanimously call on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as a matter of urgency, to initiate the process of officially proscribing the armed terrorist militias responsible for these mindless killings. They should be officially designated as terrorists. This will give the military the power to fully engage them as provided in the Terrorism Act of 2022.

“We call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu through the Executive Governor of Plateau State, Barr. Caleb Muftwang, to provide adequate security for the 15,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Bokkos who are today located in various temporary Camps and houses of relatives. All communities destroyed should be rebuilt and the displaced people relocated and resettled back in their ancestral homelands as soon as possible.

“We call for an end to the intentional dispossession of land and the current land grabbing through militarization and the activities of these armed militias and bandits which have gone on for too long now in Plateau State.

“We demand an end to the intentional destruction of farm produce and cattle rustling which have become huge security issues.

“We strongly appeal to the Federal Government to establish the North Central Development Commission (NCDC). This has become necessary following the frequent attacks and wanton destruction of lives and properties across the zone in the last decade.

“We call on the Federal government of Nigeria to direct the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to immediately commence the process of rebuilding the destroyed communities pending the establishment of the North Central Development Commission.

“We call for the release of all those alleged to have been arrested with legitimate self-defence implements such as cutlasses, clubs, and machetes in protecting their communities in the aftermath of the attacks. Where such persons have been arrested as alleged, they should be immediately released because, it amounts to aggravating the pains of the people by security agencies who did not respond on time to protect the communities, to come belatedly and arrest those who are sacrificially and patriotically defending their communities from further attacks.”