By Ralph Madugu
The Plateau Initiative for Development and Advancement of the Natives (PIDAN) has expressed concern that recent attacks in Irigwe and Afizere lands as well as the November 28 attack on Jos Correctional Services Centre in the state are clear indications of the ineffectiveness of the security measures put in place to prevent their occurrence hence the “dire need of serious and urgent overhaul.”
In a statement, PIDAN condemned the recent attacks and killings in Irigwe and Afizere lands of Bassa and Jos-East where not less than 12 persons lost their lives in addition to wanton destruction of properties.
It read in part “We wish to identify with our people in these communities once again, sympathise with them at these difficult times and pray that God almighty grant the souls of the departed eternal rest and the communities the fortitude to bear the untimely separation from their loved ones.”
PIDAN called on the state government to provide assistance especially with respect to medical bills ofw those who sustained injuries and were receiving medical treatment.
Said PIDAN “We are deeply perturbed that despite the social media pre-attacks information that some parts of Plateau especially Jos will be attacked, the security agencies could not institute adequate measures to avert the attack on the Jos Correctional Services Centre.
“While we note the Controller of Corrections’ statement that some of the attackers were apprehended and some killed, our past experience with some federal-government security agencies’ handling and reporting on such matters gives us cause for concern. This concern is further supported by the social media information that not less than 250 inmates escaped from the Centre.
“The fact that the attackers have not been named and their pictures not shown to the public strongly suggests that the attackers did escape with those they came to release.
“Only time shall tell whether our suspicion is correct, however, what is critical now for citizens of the State is to take additional measures to improve on the security of their families, settlements and communities so as to contain with the anticipated increase in criminal activities that would emanate from such a large number of prisoners.”
While urging Plateau citizens to be on the alert and prepare to defend themselves from more attacks and criminal activities, given the current rumours about planned activities of Boko Haram, Fulani militia and killer herdsmen, PIDAN appealed to religious leaders, their adherents and all citizens to modify their approach to the celebration of the Christmas season by avoiding “large-crowd ceremonies, worshipping houses night vigils, last minute long stay in market places and maintain stringent vigilance measures in churches, mosques and settlements as we approach and celebrate the Christmas.”
PIDAN, while acknowledging the fact that the State Government lacked the power to give orders to the federal-controlled security agencies in the state, said that it had the resources to strengthen the Operation Rainbow by providing it with the enabling environment and logistics to strengthen community-level security arrangements and provide ‘Amotekun-like services’ to curb kidnapping activities in the state.
It also called on the state government to strengthen its information gathering and processing system to allow for early warning and timely liaison with the security agencies to shorten the information to-intervention interval and reduce the number and intensity of attacks and destruction of lives and property.
On the emergence of COVID-19 Omicron variant, PIDAN advised “citizens not to lay off their guard” and cautioned against treating the preventive measures of social distancing, face mask use, hands washing and respiratory hygiene with levity.
It also urged citizens to take advantage of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination in the state by availing themselves to be immunized free of charge in government health facilities. “We wish the Plateau Citizens Merry Christmas as we enter the last month of the year 2021 and a Prosperous New Year.”