Insecurity: The Road Taken by Governor Mutfwang

By Gyang Bere                         

There is no denying the fact that there has been no let on the strangle hold on Plateau communities by enemies of the state for about 22 years running. Whatever view one holds as to the reasons for the attacks, one thing resonates: The blood spilled and wastages incurred are lamentable and unacceptable.

Since 2001 when Jos, the state capital, witnessed a violent clash, every successive government has had to deal with one form of crisis or another.

From the administration of Governors Joshua Chibi Dariye, Jonah David Jang, Simon Bako Lalong and, now, Barr Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang, what has been witnessed can be described as planned and orchestrated to annihilate the people of the state.

If this is not genocide, as rightly described by Governor Caleb Mutfwang, pray, what better tag can be given to acts perpetrated by the attackers after an invasion? Their uncharitable crudities are well documented to those who have followed their activities over the years as they are condemnable by men and women of goodwill.

What the people of Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos and Riyom cannot forget in a hurry is how their ancestral lands were taken over by bandits that attacked communities in these areas. Land grabbing by the attacking forces easily became normal and intensified with thicker consistency, as they tried to obliterate the memories of the owners of the lands.

Gov. Mutfwang during His Visit to the Chief of Defence Staff-Gen. Chris Musa

It is reason why scattered in many local government areas in the state are internally displaced persons, even as the humanitarian challenges have continually made headlines. These have certainly been some of the major planks of worry for the owners of the lands as well as government.

Since becoming Governor of Plateau State about 53 days ago, apart from ensuring that the state is put on the path of recovery on several fronts, Barr Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang has remained an unrepentant advocate of the need for the state to remain peaceful, which will enable his government pursue the course of the much needed development.

You may recall that even before his inauguration on May 29, 2023, bandits had attacked several communities in Mangu, the governor’s local government area of birth in April 2023, leaving in their trail about 300 deaths or even more of the locals. The conflagration is the most unfortunate development on a people.

Apart from the harvest of deaths, the quantum of property lost can only be imagined; just as it is painful that most farmers are not able to access their farms. In an economy where the mainstay of the people is mainly subsistence farming, is it not painful that each year they live on the mercies of government, organizations and people whose rations barely sustain them?

Unfortunately, no one has been apprehended to face the law, even as the prevalence of attacks has increased in some other communities in the area as well as in Bokkos, Barkin Ladi, Riyom and Jos South. The sad but almost daily occurrence has left much to be desired, even as the cry is for the security to bring the madness to an end.

Gov. Caleb Mutfwang in a Group Photograph with some Senior Military Officers

Every sane man or woman desires an end to the attacks. The humanitarian crisis being faced in Mangu and other local government areas of the state where marauding bandits have attacked is beyond comprehension. The state is sadly at the tipping point, which, in many respects, has aggravated more of Plateau citizens; just as government is desirous of bringing it to conclusion.

It is in the desire of Governor Mutfwang to get to the root of the insecurity in the state that his efforts can be perfectly situated and appreciated.

From day one, he made no pretence about what he needed to do in order to end the dastardly attacks on communities in the state. The search for solutions, are in themselves, a reflection of the seriousness by the governor to put the pains behind the state.

Apart from receiving briefs from security chiefs in the state, he did what many governors had not thought of immediately when a situation like this occurs: He visited internally displaced persons in Riyom and Mangu to give them his government’s shoulders to lean on.

How pro-active could the governor have been by also visiting the Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Habib Ahmed; where he called for support from the agency in aid of victims who have been made to go through the unfortunate humanitarian crisis.

If receiving the briefs meant anything, meeting the President was, in many respects, symbolic of a governor that is dedicated to redesigning the security architecture of the state for good. We may not be privy to knowing what was on the agenda for the visit to Aso Rock; but it cannot be unconnected for him to solicit the cooperation of the Presidency in restoring peace to the beleaguered state.

The President gave matching orders on the insecurity situation in Plateau State to the security chiefs to bring to book all those involved in the carnage. The orders, without any iota of doubt, brought security forces on their toes, as the tension in Mangu remains palpable, and the challenges remain the major concern of the government and of the communities.

While some may have wrongly accused him of not working to set the agenda for peace, little did they know of the governor’s strategic but deft moves to get on board those who can plan for him how security can be utilized for a workable architecture. The appointment of Brig-General Gakji Shipi rtd as Security Adviser was applauded by those who know his worth in such matters.

That done, Governor  Mutfwang could not have rested on his oars as he took time to visit the Defence Headquarters to parley with the new Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Christopher Musa, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Taoreed Lagbaja and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall, Hassan B. Abubakar with the need to strengthen the resolve to end the killings in the state.

He has also taken time to visit Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Gorge Akume, where he solicited for strategic collaboration to deliver the dividends of democracy to Plateau citizens and the people of North Central Nigeria.

Coming shortly after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu directed security forces to bring to book those responsible for the continued attacks in the state; the renewed efforts to tackle insecurity challenges in the state remain on the front burner of curbing the attacks in more ways than one. What Governor Mutfwang returned home with are revealing and reassuring to the people of Plateau State. The COAS told the governor to be rest assured that he came to the right place to seek for solution on the security challenges.

“We have taken some measures and we believe those measures will yield the desired results quickly.

“We are looking at other areas of intervention that can bring lasting peace to the troubled local governments and even the entire Plateau. We will stop at nothing in providing the combat enablers and other interventions that are required to bring lasting peace to the state.’’

Gov. Caleb Mutfwang during his Recenet Visit to the COAS- Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja

It is gratifying to note that in each of the office of the security chief visited, a large retinue of officials, including members of the National Assembly, accompanied him. This was to show their buy-in for the efforts to recreate a peaceful state.

The Governor is working round-the-clock to convene an expanded stakeholders’ meeting where issues would be discussed to address the carnage and foster unity in the state. He has always believed that he cannot jettison the views of others, as they will help proffer solutions arising from such a meeting. Such persons will include traditional rulers, clergymen; and critical opinion moulders in the communities who are able to jaw-jaw towards finding lasting solutions to the debacle.

All are aware that the state-controlled security outfit, code named, Operation Rainbow, has remained moribund for years. The need to streamline its activities and make it functional is to avoid working at cross purposes in the overall interest of the state.

Governor Mutfwang is aware and has not hidden the fact that Plateau at the moment is at a very challenging junction and we know that we will not be able to get out of the woods without the adequate support and involvement of the armed forces.

Continuing, the governor told the Chief of Army Staff, ‘Plateau, as you all know, is known to be the Home of Peace and Tourism and we are determined to ensure that that status is not lost’.

More importantly, and as always, ‘we want to ensure that Plateau remains home to every Nigerian and a compelling destination where every Nigerian that wants to find a place of refuge and a place of rest will go’ there.

How better said, for there is no doubt in Governor Caleb Mutfwang’s determination to return Plateau to its former status. While he is on the trail, what the citizens must do is to offer their support and encouragement in the best possible ways they can. This is all for the good of the state and its development. The Time is Now for us to put aside our differences and unite for peace and development of our State.

Gyang Bere is Director of Press and Public Affairs to Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang

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