The Plateau Peace Practitioners Network (PPPN) has said it is saddened by the resurgence of violence attacks that affected Communities in Mangu, Bokkos, Barkin Ladi, Riyom and Jos South LGA of Plateau State which claimed many lives in the past days.
In a statement jointly signed by the Chairman, Pwakim Jacob CHOJI and Secretary, OJ Afwanks, the network extended its condolences and solidarity to the immediate families of the victims, the State, and humanity as a whole because, a violation of the rights of anyone is a violation of all people and prayed for the souls of the deceased to find peace.
The full text reads:
April 28, 2023.
PPPN IS SADDENED BY THE RESURGENCE OF VIOLENCE IN PARTS OF
The Plateau Peace Practitioners Network (PPPN), a network of local and international NGOs and CSOs whose members are committed to a just and peaceful society where everybody lives in harmony despite political, religious, and ethnic differences for the attainment of sustainable development, is saddened over what appears to be the resurgence of violent attacks in rural communities in Mangu, Bokkos, Riyom, Jos South, and Barkin Ladi local government councils of Plateau state.
We use this medium to extend our condolences and solidarity to the immediate families of the victims, the state, and humanity as a whole because, a violation of the rights of anyone is a violation of all people. May the souls of the deceased find peace, and may their deaths be a reminder of the need for leaders saddled with the mandate to protect and be true to their responsibilities.
There is no doubt that the government, non profit organizations, most members of the network, the donor community, and people of goodwill have made concerted efforts to address the persistence of violent conflicts in Plateau State through diverse approaches and interventions that have reduced the fragility of the state in the past.
Nonetheless, the fragility of the Plateau state has taken on new dimensions. From the usual religious antagonism Plateau state is regrettably known for, where parties to the conflict are identified for dialogue, peace treaties are signed, capacity building of the parties for conflict transformation is enhanced, and other engagements are done to address violent conflicts and build a peaceful Plateau state, Plateau is now faced with major concerns where gun people who have been conveniently called “unknown gunmen” attack citizens of this state without documented evidence of arrest and prosecution. This is worrisome and unacceptable to the network. We wrote to the governor and made the following requests:
- He should address the citizens of the state through a state broadcast on the actions that have been taken or should be taken to address the widespread tension, fear, and anxiety caused by the upsurge in attacks. The address should also provide citizens with hope, knowing that those tasked with protecting them have not abandoned them to their fate.
- We also appealed that the medical needs of the survivors be met by the government, including assurance of security and safety, to avoid the clear case of praying for people to “rest in peace” rather than to “live in peace.”
3.We called on him to make a frantic effort to hand over a state free of heightened insecurity as a legacy to the next government and the Plateau people. This should be done by directing the Plateau Peace Building Agency to collaborate with the Peace Practitioners Network and other critical stakeholders to avoid the escalation of these attacks while charging security to deal with this resurgence as a major threat to life and property, particularly during this transition period when conflict marchants may seek to exploit the state.
While we have requested proactiveness on the part of the government and the state agencies to take responsibility for the enforcement of law and order, we have the following appeal for the citizens:
- Community members should activate early warning and early response mechanisms in their communities in collaboration with state agencies. Where early warning is shared with state authorities without satisfactory action, communities can reach out to the National Human Rights Commission at Plot 12677, Laminga/Liberty Dam Road, Rikkos Village, Jos, and also report to any credible civil society organization. Let’s put it straight, the state security agencies have also made commitments to the peace of the state, but they may not be devoid of bad elements who decided to act unprofessionally, thereby denting the good image of the agencies.
- Communities must avoid isolated movements, especially as the farming season is fast approaching. They must think of safety and security first.
- As legitimate as community protests and demands for safety and security are, people must avoid situations in which road users are inconvenienced as they draw attention to their plights. People must be more diplomatic and use less vulnerable methods of seeking enforcement, no matter how difficult it is. Communities are put at greater risk as a result of jungle justice due to these protests being taken advantage of.
While we hope for a peaceful Plateau and Nigeria, we are confident that by working together, these attacks will one day be a thing of the past. Dear citizens of Plateau State, PEACE is a goal; let’s pursue it, grab it, and live it. Live and let’s live…
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