Lalong Condemns Plateau Killings, Orders Arrest Of Attackers

A graphical illustration of gunmen.

 

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has condemned the Tuesday night attack on Maikatako community in Butura District of the Bokkos Local Government Area (LGA) which led to 11 deaths and injury to eight persons.

In a statement issued by the Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Machan, Lalong asked the security forces in the state to fish out the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

The governor, who sympathised with the families of the victims, reiterated that his administration would not allow terrorists and bandits to take a foothold in any part of the state as all security agencies had been directed to be firm on any person or group behind the attack.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill 11, Injure Eight In Plateau Attack

According to him, the rising incidence of attacks and destruction of farm crops, livestock, and other properties within Bokkos LGA is becoming worrisome and must be checked immediately.

Suspected herdsmen had stormed the community around 11 pm on Tuesday, burnt down four houses in the attack, and started shooting indiscriminately after overwhelming the vigilantes on patrol.

Nine of the victims were said to have been burnt beyond recognition in a compound that was razed completely, while the others were found early on Wednesday morning in their burnt houses after being shot.

A member of the community recalled that the unprovoked attack started after the weekly Monday market with a boy being shot at Hilltop, a community about a kilometre from Maikatako.

The shooting incident reportedly led to tension around the community on Tuesday even as vigilantes made efforts to repel the attackers after observing strange movements and calling the security agents.

Confirming the incident, the spokesman of the Plateau State Police Command, Alfred Alabo, said he had yet to get the details of the incident.

However, the Commander of Operation Safe Haven, Major-General Ibrahim Ali, noted that the security outfit mandated to oversee the security situation in Plateau, as well as parts of Bauchi and Kaduna states, was on ground to assess the situation.

VIDEO: ‘Arbitrary’ Arrest Of Hikers In Jos, Families Beg Govt To Intervene

 

On Saturday, August 13th, 2022, a group of young hikers took a trip to a mountain within Down Base/ECWA Staff Area Of Faringada, Jos North Local Government Area Of Plateau State, where their hiking exercise was to take place. 

However, what should have been a very exciting experience for the 13 hill-walkers, soon turned into a nightmare, as men of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and local vigilantes soon arrived the area and whisked the individuals away.

When asked why the sudden sweep and what the crime of the individuals were, the police said they were apprehended for criminal conspiracy, assembling for purpose Of committing brigandage and unlawful society practices.

Shortly after their arrest, the police charged and arraigned the young persons to court and afterwards they were remanded in the Nigerian Correctional Facility.

The incident soon garnered wild reactions all over social media and within the community, with friends, family members and other citizens calling on the authorities to quickly look into what the situation which has now been described as an ‘arbitrary’ arrest which infringes on the rights of the individuals arrested.



An arbitrary arrest?

Preliminary investigations by Channels Television suggest that the arrest of the group which consists of twelve males and a female, may not be unconnected with the series of kidnapping and cult activities recorded in recent times around the ECWA Staff Area.

However, the area has continued to be used for both religious and recreational activities, and there has been no law banning people from using the mountain around in the community for leisure purposes.

Digging deeper into the issue, Channels TV spoke to some with relatives of some of the youths who were arrested.

Disturbed by the arrest of his brother who was part of the group picked up on Saturday the 13th, Mr Tony Brown Ndukwe said it is strange that vigilantes in the community would help the police in apprehending the young persons, because the vigilantes have a good knowledge and rapport of those apprehended.

Mr Ndukwe who is the caretaker of a compound within the Down Base community where most of the hikers reside, argued that the hiking area which the police has now termed a blackspot, is a popular venue for hiking in the area.

“My younger brother is among those who were arrested, I was even supposed to be a part of the hikers, but I had something to do in town,” Ndukwe narrated.

He stressed that the hikers are part of the community, adding that when asked if anything illegal was found on the young individuals, the police affirmed that they were clean.

“Nothing at all was found on them, in fact, they brought them back to the house and searched the house and nothing was found,” Ndukwe maintained.

A collage of Ndukwe and Victoria whose siblings are part of the hikers that were arrested.
A collage of Ndukwe and Victoria whose siblings are part of the hikers that were arrested.

 

In a similar vein, Victoria Alagi whose elder brother was also arrested, said the police have not been able to concretely establish any offence committed by her sibling or any other individual within the group.

Ms Victoria who disclosed that her family has been going to the station every day following the arrest, asserted that the police officers they have met say the arrested hikers committed no crime and nothing incriminating was found on them.

Based on the premise that the individuals have committed no crime, the Alagi’s family asked the police authorities why the hikers are still in custody and were informed by an officer that the Commissioner was informed before the arrest and as such the Commissioner needs also to be briefed before they can be released.

To the family’s dismay, just when they thought there was the possibility of a bail for their loved one, they got to the police station last Monday, only to find out that the hikers had been charged to court.

“We got lawyers and that particular Monday, the bail was denied and they were remanded to prison, the Jos prison,” Ms Victoria explained.

She further noted that the family has been applying for bail, adding that earlier the case was adjourned to the 19th of September, but with the intervention of the lawyers, a new hearing date was fixed to Wednesday, the 24th of August.

In the hope that justice will prevail, Victoria insisted that her brother has nothing to do with any of the charges for which he and his fellow hikers have been arrested for.

“My brother is not a kidnapper neither is he a cultist. They just simply went hiking,” she declared.

Wrong timing?

Perhaps for the hikers, this is just another case of being at the wrong place at the right time.

Victoria explains that a few days prior to her brother’s arrest, there was a kidnap incident within the area. A resident was kidnapped on Thursday, August 11, and two days after, the hikers were arrested at the hill around ECWA staff school, Jos.

According to residents, it must have been the incident on Thursday that prompted the police and vigilante collaboration. However, the police have not been able to point out any of the hikers who would have partaken of the kidnapping.

When reached for comments regarding the incident, spokesman for the Plateau State police command, DSP Alfred Alabo, said the case is already in court and as such, he would not be able to speak on the matter.

The case against the hikers is before Hon. Hisent of the Central Area Court in Jos, the next hearing comes up by Wednesday, August 24, 2022, and relatives of the hikers are asking human rights activists and all Nigerians including the government to come to their aid, even as they pray that justice prevails and their loved ones are set free.

Plateau Withdraws License Of All Private Primary, Secondary Schools

Plateau is the twelfth-largest state in Nigeria.
Plateau is the twelfth-largest state in Nigeria.

 

The Plateau Government on Thursday revoked the licenses of all nursery, primary, and secondary schools in the state.

Commissioner of Education, Elizabeth Wampum, disclosed this at a press conference.

Wampum said the decision was taken after it was discovered that 5,000 private schools were operating without a license.

READ ALSO: Niger Republic Confers National Honour On Dangote, Five Other Nigerians

The commissioner noted that about 90 per cent of the schools do not adhere to government policies and mandates.

“This is to inform the general public that the operating license of all private Nursery/Pre-primary, Primary, Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary Schools in the State will have to revalidate their certification,” Wampum said.

Alleged N6.2bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Jonah Jang’s Trial for Judgment

File photo of former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang

 

 

A Plateau State High Court in Jos has adjourned the trial of a former governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah David Jang, and a former cashier in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Yusuf Pam, for judgment.

Justice C.L Dabup adjourned the trial on Thursday, July 14, 2022, after the adoption of final written addresses by both the prosecution and defence counsel.

Jang and Pam are facing trial for alleged criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of Plateau State funds to the tune of N6.3 billion.

READ ALSO: N18.8bn Investment Fraud: Court Orders Ajetunmobi Couple To Pay 27 Scammed Investors

At the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday,   counsel to the first defendant (Jang),   Mike Ozekhome, SAN adopted his final written address and urged the court to discharge and acquit his client.

Ozekhome, who also informed the court that the first defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him, said the case lacked merit and that the prosecution did not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Similarly,  counsel to the second defendant (Yusuf Pam), S.G. Odey, while adopting his final written address, urged the court to discharge and acquit his client on all charges levelled against him.

Prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, however, urged the court to consider the evidence of all the fourteen (14) witnesses before it, especially the evidence of Prosecution Witness 5, which supported the confessional statement of the second defendant.

Jacobs submitted that the required proof is not “proof beyond all shadow of doubt”.

He informed the court of two pending motions seeking leave to appeal the two rulings on trial within trial and urged the court to allow the adoption of the two pending motions.

Ozekhome did not object to the two applications but Odey indicated opposed the applications. The court thereafter directed that the final addresses be adopted.

The prosecution adopted the written address and urged the court to convict the first and second defendants. Ozekhome adopted his written address and prayed the court to discharge and acquit his client.
Odey also adopted his written address and urged the court to discharge and acquit Pam.

Justice Dabup thereafter informed all the counsel that the High Court of Plateau State will be going on vacation and all the counsel consented that the judge could deliver judgment in the matter during the vacation period. The judge thereafter adjourned the case for judgment to a date that will be communicated to the parties.

PDP Governorship Candidate Promises To End Insecurity In Plateau

Plateau PDP governorship candidate, Caleb Mutfwang, speaks during a meeting in Kaduna State on July 13, 2022.

 

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State, Caleb Mutfwang, has promised to end rising insecurity and rebuild the state’s ailing economy if elected into office.

At an interactive session with Plateau indigenes living in Kaduna State on Wednesday, Mutfwang sought their support for his governorship ambition.

READ ALSO: 2023: Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim Ticket Is ‘A Disastrous Error, Dead On Arrival’ – Babachir Lawal

Explaining that bad governance and lack of vision are responsible for the deteriorating security situation and rising poverty in Plateau State, he said the state needed a transparent and visionary leader to regain its lost glory.

The PDP candidate also decried Plateau’s rising debt profile, saying it is currently indebted to the tune of N220 billion due to the misgovernance of the ruling APC administration.

He pledged to address the socio-economic challenges confronting the state for the overall benefit of the people.

“I want you to know that Plateau is in trouble,” he said. “Just this week, one of our sons told me from Central Bank that as of today, Plateau has a debt burden of N220 billion.

“We will turn around the situation. We are not coming in to enjoy, we are coming in to work and work we will do. We are coming in to lay a foundation for a future Plateau, a Plateau that will be a land of promise and peace for generations to come.

“We want to make sure that the ugly story of Plateau in several years is turned around. That is our desire and passion. By the grace of God, when I become governor, I will not be governor of burial ceremony.”

Lawmaker Escapes Gunmen Attack In Plateau

A file photo of Rep Musa Agah Avia
A file photo of Rep Musa Agah Avia

 

Newly elected member representing Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Musa Agah Avia escaped an ambush by gunmen on Tuesday night.

In a statement signed by the National Secretary of Irigwe Development Association, Danjuma Dickson Auta, the lawmaker alongside his wife and children as well as his personal assistant and driver were ambushed along twin hill in Miango chiefdom of Bassa local government area of Plateau State.

READ ALSO: Things Are Getting Worse Than In 2015 – Diri

Although they all escaped unhurt the car was battered with gunshot bullets as the driver against all odds bravely manoeuvred the vehicle amidst the sporadic shooting by the attackers.

The statement added that two others who were on a motorcycle and ahead of the lawmaker’s vehicle ran into the ambush and were killed by the attackers.

Security agencies are yet to react to the incident which occurred near the spot where some people were killed recently during a festival ceremony in the chiefdom.

 

Bandits Kill Several In Plateau, Lalong Charges Security Agencies To Go After Murderers

A shallow grave where the victims of the attack in Plateau State were being buried.

 

 

Following the killing of several persons in different communities of Kanam and Wase Local Government Areas of Plateau State North Central, Governor Simon Lalong has directed security forces to dominate the affected areas and go after the fleeing terrorists and ensure that they pay for their crime.

The governor’s directive was given in a statement signed by the Director, Press and Public Affairs, Simon Makut on Tuesday.

An unspecified number of people including children, women and several elderly persons were killed in different communities in the state on Sunday.

Read Also: Inmates Clash In Port Harcourt Maximum Correctional Centre

Reports from the affected areas indicate that bandits invaded no fewer than 10 villages in Garga comprising Kukawa, Gyanbawu, Dungur, Kyaram, Yelwa, Dadda, Wanka, Shuwaka, Gwammadaji and Dadin Kowa which resulted in the death of over 50 persons and several others sustaining injuries with houses burnt and some other persons still missing.

Dead bodies recovered from the scene of attacks were mass-buried in a shallow grave in Kanam while those injured were said to be receiving treatment at different hospitals as security personnel are combing the affected areas in search of missing persons.

Governor Lalong stressed that the state government has already approached the Federal Government for collaboration to deal with terrorists hibernating in the general area once and for all.

Victims Of Plateau Attacks Buried In Mass Grave 

A shallow grave where the victims of the attack in Plateau State were being buried.

 

Scores of persons killed in a recent attack by bandits in Plateau State, have been buried in a shallow grave in the state.

The bandits had attacked different communities in Kanam and Wase Local Government Areas of Plateau State North Central, on Sunday, killing an unspecified number of people including children, women and several elderly persons.

Reports from the affected areas indicate that bandits invaded no fewer than 10 villages in Garga comprising Kukawa, Gyanbawu, Dungur, Kyaram, Yelwa, Dadda, Wanka, Shuwaka, Gwammadaji and Dadin Kowa which resulted in the death of over 50 persons and several others sustaining injuries with houses burnt and some other persons still missing.

Read Also: 23 Locals Killed In Fresh Attacks On Two Benue Communities

Dead bodies recovered from the scene of attacks were mass-buried in a shallow grave in Kanam while those injured were said to be receiving treatment at different hospitals as security personnel are combing the affected areas in search of missing persons.

Following the incident, Governor Simon Lalong has directed security forces to dominate the affected areas and go after the fleeing terrorists and ensure that they pay for their crime.

The governor’s directive was given in a statement signed by the Director, Press and Public Affairs, Simon Makut on Tuesday.

Governor Lalong stressed that the state government has already approached the Federal Government for collaboration to deal with terrorists hibernating in the general area once and for all.

APC Has Failed To Protect Plateau State, PDP Ready To Takeover – Wike

Rivers State Governor Wike with ex-Plateau Governor Jonah Jang and other PDP chieftains at the Plateau State High Court on Wednesday, February 9, 2022.

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has said that the All Progressives Congress (APC) – led administration in Plateau State has failed to tackle the security crisis in the state and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is ready to take over.

Governor Wike said this on Wednesday while responding to questions from journalists within the premises of Plateau State High Court in Jos, where the fraud trial of former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, was heard.

READ ALSO: ‘Get Ready To Accept New Members From Other Parties,’ Tambuwal Tells PDP Members

He told journalists when the court session went on break that it is obvious that the APC and the Federal Government have failed to bring to an end the needless killings in Plateau and other parts of the country.

“It is not about the Muslims, it is not about Christians. It is not about the North. It is not about the South. The killings, the insecurity, the hardship, the poverty is everywhere.

“Look at what is happening in Plateau State. Look at how innocent people are being killed daily and it also applies in other states. Christians are dying here, Muslims are dying there.

“Plateau State is ripe for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to take over because APC has performed woefully as far as Nigeria and this state is concerned. I stand to be challenged by anybody,” he said.

Governor Wike said he has not told anyone about running for an election, but it is important that the PDP remain united.

“Every individual has to focus on how the party will be united to salvage the country and to salvage Plateau State too from APC,” he said.

He explained that his visit to Plateau State was to see to reconcile Jeremiah Useni and Jonah Jang.

He said since his visit coincided with the trial of ex-governor Jang, he felt it was appropriate to attend in solidarity.

“I think for me, this is one of those things you face after you’ve served your fatherland. As a mark of solidarity, I’m here to give him courage, to reassure him that we are behind him. We will do all we can within the ambit of the law to give him the support.”

Buhari Condemns Latest Plateau Killings, Says Irigwe-Fulani Peace Deal Must Not Collapse

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness about the fresh killings in Bassa Local Government of Plateau State.

A statement by his special media aide, Garba Shehu, quotes the president as saying that the recent incident is not in keeping with the principles of the peace agreements reached between the Irigwe and the Fulani in the area.

“My thoughts are with the families of the victims in this time of grief. May their souls rest in peace,” the President said while urging the various communities in the area, and particularly the Plateau State Interreligious Council to do everything possible to commit to the peace agreement and prevent it from falling apart.

READ ALSO: Buhari, Sanwo-Olu Pay Condolence Visit To Ernest Shonekan’s Family

“Every group taking the law into their hands claims to be retaliating. As a society, there is no place for this sort of violence. This is unacceptable,” said the President.

He commended Governor Simon Lalong for the state government’s handling of the incident so far.

Troops Rescue Abducted Polytechnic Students At ‘Abandoned Poultry Farm’

The Military on January 13, 2022, said it had rescued three abducted students of the Plateau State Polytechnic.
The Military on January 13, 2022, said it had rescued three abducted students of the Plateau State Polytechnic.

 

Three Plateau State Polytechnic students abducted on Wednesday have been rescued unhurt by troops of Operation Safe Haven.

The students were kidnapped by gunmen at Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state.

But in a statement on Thursday signed by the military information officer of Operation Safe Haven, Major Ishaku Takwa, the troops deployed at Nding Sesut noticed an unusual movement of persons during patrols and immediately conducted cordon and search in the general area.

READ ALSO: FG Lifts Twitter Suspension After Seven Months

The search, the military spokesman said, led to the rescue of the abducted students at an abandoned poultry farm.

The rescued students have since been reunited with their families while a manhunt is ongoing to apprehend the gunmen behind the kidnapping, the military said.

Channels Television had earlier reported that the students, two females and one male, were abducted from one of the private hostels known as the ‘Plateau Embassy’ in the polytechnic.

Gunmen Kidnap Three Students From Plateau State Polytechnic

Plateau State Polytechnic is a state owned polytechnic in Plateau State, North Central Nigeria.
Plateau State Polytechnic is a state owned polytechnic in Plateau State, North Central Nigeria.

 

Three students from the Plateau State Polytechnic have been kidnapped by gunmen at Bam village in Heipang Area of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state.

The students, who were kidnapped on Wednesday, comprised two females and one male.

The victims were abducted from one of the private hostels known as the ‘Plateau Embassy’ in the polytechnic in the late hours of Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Court Orders Remand Of Two Teenagers Over Alleged Murder Of RCCG Pastor

The incident has however been reported to security agencies by neighbours.

Confirming the incident, the military information officer of Operation Safe Haven, Major Ishaku Takwa said troops have been directed to rescue the victims unhurt.

He stressed the importance of the public in supporting the fight against crimes with credible and prompt information to security agencies and report any suspicious movement in their vicinity for prompt action.