A chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and former presidential aspirant in the 2023 election, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim on Wednesday recommended “rapid security reform measures” explaining that such would permanently arrest the unending waves of bloodletting at the local levels.
He was reacting to the Christmas Eve attack in some communities in Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi Local Government Areas of Plateau State by suspected Fulani militia leading to the death of over 100 persons.
While stating that the Plateau killings have defied several measures by past administrations, he said the efforts of the military “did not stop the killers from their bloodthirsty quest”, even though they claimed to have responded to 36 distress calls from different locations in the last 48 hours.
Olawepo-Hashim, presidential candidate of the Trust Party (TP) in the 2019 election in a statement, lamented the recurring armed conflict in several parts of Nigeria and called for rapid security reform measures to permanently arrest the trend.
He said, “The cowardly killing of peaceful villagers in Barkin-Ladi and Bokos, some in their sleep on Christmas day shows there is no limit to the barbarism of some people who live amongst us. Same Christmas day, a medical doctor helping to provide community health services was kidnapped and killed in Oloru area in Moro Local Government Area of Kwara state.
“How many lives need to be lost before rapid security reform measure that would permanently arrest the unending orgy of bloodletting at the local levels come into effect?
“As most Nigerians looked forward to the joy and happiness of Christmas Day, murderers on Sunday cowardly crept into different communities in two Local Government of Plateau State and slaughtered about 72 persons in cold blood.
“Even though the military said they responded to 36 distress calls from different locations in the last 48 hours, their efforts did not stop the killers from their bloodthirsty quest. A provisional toll by the local Red Cross reported 104 deaths in 18 villages in the Bokkos region.
“Episodes of mass killing and destruction have occurred in Jos in 2001, 2002, 2008 and 2010. The violence has also affected other parts of the State, especially in rural areas outside of Jos when hundreds of people were killed in villages, in their fields, or while tending cattle.
“The situation has defied several measures by past administrations to halt the trend. Many have blamed the crisis on many factors including disagreement over indigeneship, Jos ownership, politics, ignorance, religion, unemployment and sheer wickedness.”
To break break the cycle of killings, Olawepo-Hashim counseled the government, at all levels, to address the root causes of the violence, which is being watered by an unhealthy tendency of inter-communal conflicts, disputes over land and resources and deep-seated ethnic tensions.
He also maintained that perpetrators of these heinous crimes must be identified, apprehended, prosecuted swiftly and transparently, regardless of their affiliations or backgrounds to send a strong message that justice is sacrosanct and impunity will not be tolerated.