Days after the massacre and mass burial of over 106 victims of a terrorist attack in Kanam and Wase Local Government Areas (LGAs), a sad looking Governor of the state, Barrister Simon Lalong has called on the Federal Government to deploy more troops to the border communities of the state.
His sadness is replicated in another north-central state of Benue, where Governor Samuel Ortom said his people are an endangered specie and has advised them to defend themselves against marauding herdsmen. Not less than 25 were killed in three separate LGAs.
Lalong, accompanied by his Deputy Prof. Sonni Tyoden and heads of security agencies including the General Officer Commanding 3 Armoured Division and Commander Operation Safe Haven, Commissioner of Police, said he was devastated by the senseless massacre of innocent villagers in the affected areas.
At the palace of the Emir of Kanam, Alhaji Muhammdu Babangida Muazu, the traditional ruler said his people have been devastated over the mass killings adding the carnage were unprovoked and unjustifiable because his people are peace loving and only pursuing their livelihoods of farming and trading.
Lalong urged the government to do more by deploying security forces to the affected areas on a permanent basis as well as see to it that intelligence given to the security agencies is acted upon expeditiously.
Recall that the House of Representatives member for part of the affected areas, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi had lamented the federal government’s negligence in providing security to Plateau communities, despite intelligence reports by the Department of State Services, of the influx of bandits fleeing to Plateau and other neighbouring states over nine months before this attack took place.
According to him, the federal government, which has exclusive control of security apparatus in the country, has woefully failed in its primary responsibility of protecting lives and property of Nigerians.
Lalong later visited injured survivors receiving treatment at the Kanam General Hospital, Dengi where he sympathised with them and directed that all their medical expenses be settled by the Government.
Later at an interactive session with stakeholders at the Kanam Townhall Dengi, the Governor said he was in the area to get further briefing on the attacks and ascertain the situation of survivors.
He described the incident as regrettable and unfortunate, urging the people not to be dismayed as the Government is doing everything possible to arrest those behind the attacks and ensure that the sad incident does not occur again.
He said “those who committed this heinous crime may think that they have escaped but I can assure you that we will never allow them to go free no matter how long it takes. I am sure that God will also not allow them to go unpunished for taking the precious lives of others without reason”.
Samuel Ortom, on Tuesday, said the incessant killings of the people of the state by suspected herders had turned him and the people into endangered species.
According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, the Governor directed his people to rise up to defend themselves forthwith.
His words: “It is becoming increasingly glaring everyday that my people are now endangered species and so we can no longer wait for help. My people will have to rise to the occasion to defend themselves and their heritage against the Fulani army of occupation.
“We are law-abiding citizens. We have cried for help against these invaders but nothing is forthcoming. We are left alone and it looks like it is a deliberate strategy. Now, we have only one option; to defend ourselves or be extinct. This is a case for our survival.
“We have been accommodating other people in our land, but our hospitality is misconstrued as weakness. We are not a conquered people. We will never be. We are free-born citizens of Nigeria.”
He called on security operatives to do more in crime prevention and the protection of lives and property in the state, just as he urged the people to cooperate with security agencies to flush out the undesirable elements in the society.