Terrorists Have Been Occupying Schools In Barkin-Ladi For Years — Gov. Mutfwang

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Governor Caleb Mutfwang has criticized what he described as the “lack of political will” by the Federal Government to flush out marauding terrorists on the Plateau, saying that insurgents have been occupying schools in the Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area of the state for five years without being dislodged.

Mutfwang, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday, said the crisis on the Plateau has continued to escalate because no arrest has been made so far by security agents.

A grieving Mutfwang described as “unprovoked”, Christmas Eve simultaneous attacks by assailants on over 15 communities in the Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi Local Government Areas of the state. The latest attacks have so far claimed over 115 lives with scores of others injured and hundreds of houses torched.

“We must stop this carnage,” the governor said matter-of-factly, adding that security agents “cannot continue with this reactionary strategy but be proactive”.

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“As I am talking to you today, in Barkin-Ladi Local Government, schools have been occupied by these terrorists for some years now. Not less than 64 communities have been displaced and the lands have been taken over by these marauding terrorists,” he added.

The governor further noted that he would approach President Bola Tinubu to give clear instructions to security agents to protect the people on the Plateau against their land-grabbing attackers.

He said, “I will be talking to Mr President on this. We need to summon the political will to give instructions to security agencies to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria and even the internal integrity of our land boundaries.”

The Quest For Land

Mutfwang said the persistent attacks on the people of the Plateau were not unconnected to land matters, adding that non-aboriginal dwellers can get lands on the Plateau but not through violence.

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“There are ways of acquiring lands, not through violence and we must be able to resort to constitutionalism in dealing with these issues.

“People who want land on the Plateau are free to approach the communities, negotiate and settle in those communities. I don’t think people will refuse but where they resort to violence to take over those lands, you will be sure that this is a time bomb because it will reach a time when people react, and we are going to have a large-scale conflict. I pray we don’t get to that point.”

Attackers Shielded?

Mutfwang lamented that part of the problem on the Plateau was because no arrest or prosecution had been made in connection with the dastard attacks over the years.

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“Part of the problem we have is that so far, there have been no arrests, no prosecution, and as far as we do not confront this issue headline, some people feel their attackers are being protected.”

He said, “Under the last regime, the feeling of the people in Plateau State, particularly the victims of these terrorist attacks, is that, it looks as if the terrorists were given official government backing to be able to terrorise them because little or nothing was done to repel these attacks.

“I can tell you, that these schools that are being occupied didn’t start now; some of those schools have been occupied for the last three to five years. Children in those schools have had to relocate, and primary healthcare centres have been abandoned.” (Channels)

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