•As army parade suspects in Plateau killings
By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday consulted with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, behind closed doors on the latest crisis in Jos, Plateau State.
Buhari hinted the lawmakers of steps he had resolved to take to tackle insecurity across the country.
According to the Speaker Dogara, who spokes to the State House correspondents after the meeting, the President told them about his planned re-organization of the security architecture in the country.
Scores were reportedly killed by suspected herdsmen in an alleged reprisals on some villagers accused of rustling their cows and killing the owners in Plateau State last Saturday.
Already, security agencies have deployed men to the affected areas to restore the peace.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting which held at the President’s residence on what transpired at the meeting, Senate President Bukola Saraki said, “We met with the President to first of all commiserate with him and get a briefing from him. Part of the briefing, he explained how steps are being taken to forestall reoccurrence and restore sanity; because this is of concern to him and to us – and also to see what can be done with NEMA and security agencies.
“We will all work towards it. Nobody is happy with it; and we will all come together to ensure that we restore sanity.
“We commiserate with all families. It is our own intention to also go and pay our own condolence visit to the people of Plateau.
“Our general appeal at the end of the day is that we all live together in peace and harmony; and we will continue to do our best to see that this kind of thing does not happen again.”
Dogara, on his own said, “We are here to condole with Mr. President, the government and people of Plateau State over this very unfortunate incident.
“He has briefed us on what he saw firsthand when he visited Plateau yesterday and measures he is putting in place to ensure that we do not have a relapse or a recurrence.
“These are very sober moments for all of us, in a situation where people in hundreds are continued to be killed; and we can no longer tolerate this kind of situation as a government. Whatever it is, we must not lose the fight against violence – because we can’t lose that fight and still keep our civilization.
“If you go to the North-East, you can see the level of devastation caused by Boko Haram; everything resembling progress, from schools to hospitals to government institutions, everything has been pulled down. And we don’t want a replication of this all over the country.
“The president has taken enough steps. These are security issues, they are not matters that you can discuss. But he has told us what he is doing, the reorganization that he plans to put in place to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.
My advice to our people not just Plateau State, Benue, Zamfara, Taraba – virtually some communities faced with this situation, especially in the North, I think the issue of securing our communities, living in peace must be taken as a project. It is something each and everyone of us must invest in, whether as traditional rulers, as community leaders, councilors and chairmen. All strata of society must invest in peace building. That is the only way we can live in a secure community and ensure that we progress as a country.”
Meanwhile, the Special Military Task Force, “Operation Save Haven’’ yesterday paraded three suspects in connection with the latest killings in Plateau State that sparked national outrage.
The three men were said to have been arrested at Gashish District in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau.
The suspects were paraded in Jos alongside 14 others, who were arrested over the killings of over 86 people, mainly locals and farmers on June 24.
The 14 persons were arrested for what the military called recent “civil unrest” in the state. But the STF did not give the names of the arrested suspects.
Eleven villages in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area and its environs were affected in the onslaught in which property worth billions of naira were also destroyed.
Parading the suspects, the spokesman of the STF, Umar Adams, told reporters that the suspects were arrested, clutching sophisticated rifles.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Adams said two of the suspects were Fulani herdsmen and one Berom – one of the ethnic groups in Plateau — currently at odds with Fulani herdsmen over grazing rights.
Mr. Adams said the suspects were arrested in the course of the attacks.
“We all know that some days back, some villages in Barkin Ladi were attacked and these three suspects were arrested in connection with that.
“As our men were repelling the attacks in those areas, we arrested these suspects with four rifles, three locally made guns and one AK47.
“The other 14 people were arrested in connection with civil unrest recently experienced in the state.”
According to NAN, Adams said the suspects were still being investigated and that more arrests would be made in the course of time.