Recently, during a Peace Parley in Plateau State organised by the European Union, EU, the Management Committee Chairman of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, Bulus Doro, expressed reservation over the large number of heavy and light ammunition in the state.
He was worried that the state is sitting on a keg of gunpowder, especially the northern senatorial zone and wondered why citizens that had lived together happily for years would suddenly become suspicious of one another.
Speculations are rife that Barkin Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas have enough caches of weapons, both locally made and conventional, to fuel a civil war.
Recently, the House of Assembly blamed the prevailing security challenges in the state on the illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions by the warring factions and directed the state government to empower security agencies to mop up illegal arms.
Prior to the call, Friday Magazine noted that the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, had called on northern state governments to expedite action against excessive arms in the hands of people on the streets, stressing that the region was fast becoming a haven of arms and ammunition.
Chairman, Special Committee on Peace and Security, and Deputy Speaker of the House, Yusuf Gagdi, said on Tuesday while presenting a report of the peace committee to members at the Assembly Complex, Jos, that there was need for security operatives to mop up arms in the hands of persons not authorised to possess them.
The committee advised the state government to empower security agencies including the Department of State Services, DSS, with the tools to gather intelligence and undertake the mop up of arms and ammunition in identified communities. The House said if the government fails to do this, it would have indirectly encouraged the acquisition of arms and ammunition.
According to the House, the government should ensure that whatever is the cause of the present crises in Plateau State is dispensed with, stressing that rather than play politics, the government should tackle it and bring to book those escalating and encouraging it.
“The setting up of a special committee that would dialogue with relevant parties at all levels including the leadership of cattle breeders, local farmers and security agencies, for the peaceful acquisition of grazing reserves and cattle routes will help in resolving the clash between herdsmen and farmers in the state.”
It also recommended the enactment of laws to regulate cattle rearing and ensure that a framework is developed immediately to review the enforcement of the amended laws on cattle breeding in Nigeria as applicable to Plateau State. The House said without a definite policy on grazing zone and other such laws, the problem between herdsmen and farmers will continue.
It equally identified criminal elements as those fuelling the crises and called on the government to identify and deal ruthlessly with those found culpable to serve as a deterrent to others.
The committee also recommended that government should put in place a technical committee to reappraise the recommendations of previous commissions and panels of inquiry such as the 1994 Investigation Panel Report on Jos crisis and the Solomon Lar Federal Government Investigation Panel with the aim of implementing some of the recommendations relating to the Berom, Hausa, Fulani and other ethnic groups in the affected local government areas.
The House said if the recommendations are implemented, it will contribute immensely to the resolution of crises, reduce discontentment in respect to boundary adjustment, land ownership and use, compensation and monetisation, title of land and ownership certificates among others.
Also, the newly elected Chairman of Tiv community in Jos South, Tyonongu Godobi, has corroborated the call, stressing that security operatives should be mobilised to mop up arms from the general public.
Godobi equally called on the host community to respect non-indigenes so that they would continue to contribute their quota to nation building, adding that so long as arms and ammunition are in the hands of unauthorised persons, crisis will continue.
Similarly, the Commissioner of Police, Adekunle Oladunjoye, called on aggrieved communities to embrace peace and work collectively towards the overall development of the state.
Oladunjoye stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Plateau State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ.
The CP, who was a secretary at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, before his redeployment to Plateau, stressed that his tenure will be guided by the policy thrust of the Inspector-General of Police where partnership with communities is a topmost priority in order to provide effective security for Plateau people.
He noted that his call to the NUJ was in respect to the crucial role that journalists play in maintaining peace in the country.
“I know so much about Plateau State today because of the way and manner in which journalists in the state exercised their function. I have heard and read so much about the state through your publication and that is why I am here to solicit your support in moving the state forward.”
He added that “we will dwell more on community policing, zero tolerance to corruption and training of personnel for efficient and professional conduct. It is my desire that Plateau State maintains its place as “Home of Peace and Tourism.”
However, the NUJ Chairman, Mr Yakubu Taddy, urged the new commissioner to consolidate on the robust relationship between journalists and the police in the state and called on the federal government to provide basic working facilities for effective and efficient policing.
He said the state has experienced relative peace in the last few months and urged him to work tirelessly to maintain the existing peace.
Taddy assured him of the cooperation of journalists in the state and called on him to take advantage of their professional conduct to excel in his area of primary assignment.
Meanwhile, the Plateau State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, has appealed to the people of Plateau to embrace peace.
Executive Secretary of SEMA, Alhaji Alhassan Barde, stated this in reaction to the directive of the House.
“The agency recently distributed relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in Barkin Ladi and Mangu Local Government Areas. This was as a result of communal clashes and violent attacks experienced in some communities.”
”Government is aware of the suffering of the people and that was what prompted the intervention, as people were forcefully pushed out of their domain and some relocated to as far as Bauchi and Taraba States.”
He enjoined the people to be patient, peaceful and law abiding.

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