Youths attack Governor’s convoy as Senate probes Nasarawa killings
The Commissioner of Police in Nasarawa State, Mr Ahmed Bello, says Tuesday’s attack on Gov. Umaru Al-Makura’s convoy by some youths at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Agwatashi, Obi Local Government Area, was politically motivated.
Bello told newsmen in Lafia shortly after a security meeting at the Government House, Lafia, that preliminary investigation had revealed that the attack had political undertone.
He said investigation had begun to unravel those behind the incident, saying that the police would not rest on their oars until the perpetrators were arrested and punished.
He said the security situation in the area had been brought under control with the deployment of police personnel.
The commissioner also said that the police had also embarked on intensive patrol of various settlements in the affected area with minimal security presence in order to ward off any attack.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor had visited the IDPs camp to assess the situation following the killing of over 32 persons by suspected herdsmen the previous week.
However, when the governor attempted to address the IDPs, some youths in the camp started chanting different slogans, which made the governor to leave the camp.
The situation became tensed when the youth began to pelt the governor’s convoy with stones, thereby compelling the police to disperse them with tear gas.
Al-Makura blamed the situation on frustration caused by the challenges the IDPs faced.
“The reaction from the people is understandable given their plight and we have to use diplomacy to address the issues.
“Continuing to address them at the moment would not yield any result, so, we decided to avoid further altercation.
“However, this action appears to indicate that the problems in some of these communities are self-inflicted.
“If people can conduct themselves in this way, then you know that there is more to it than what is happening,” Al-Makura said.
The governor, however, advised the leaders of the communities to caution their people against mob actions and disrespect for law and order.
“If you will want to take laws into your own hands, you will be left to defend yourselves.
“However, as a responsible government desirous of protecting lives and property, we shall explore all avenues to ensure the safety of the people,” he said.
He directed Chairmen of the affected local government areas to take stock of the people displaced with a view to providing relief materials to them.
Meantime, the Senate on Tuesday mandated its Ad hoc Committee on Review of Security Infrastructure in the Country to investigate the killings in Nasarawa state.
The upper chamber condemned the act as it observed a minute silence for those killed in the clashes.
The resolutions followed a Point-of-Order raised at plenary by Sen. Suleiman Adokwe, who represents Nasarawa South Senatorial District.
He decried ongoing crisis in the district, describing it as “unfortunate’’.
“Throughout the weekend and up to this moment, herdsmen have unleashed mayhem on the people of the senatorial district, leaving many dead bodies, numerous wounded persons and hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS).
“Their victims are largely the Tiv-speaking ethnic nationalities with a reported death toll of 32 persons.’’
Adokwe, who is Chairman, Committee on Information, said the real tragedy in the situation was not “in the well-coordinated and simultaneous carnage across Awe, Obi, Keana and Doma Local Government Areas of south senatorial district.
“The tragedy lies from the fact that for four days running, this mayhem continued unhindered, unchecked, unstopped by any arm of the law and security enforcement agencies.”
He expressed sadness that in Nigeria, with all the security forces, a whole senatorial district would go on being punished by militia and no action was taken by the government.
“This is a sad commentary. It was even with impunity that we woke up on Monday to see that the entire city of Abuja was under siege.
“This country is gradually falling into anarchy and we need to wake up to our responsibilities.
“It is no wonder that very eminent Nigerian citizens have urged Nigerians to defend themselves because their lives are in their own hands and no longer in the hands of the Nigerian security forces.
“I am very emotional on this matter and I am not one given to emotion very easily, but what I have gone through this weekend is very horrifying; it is very distressing and sad.
“It is as if we are in a lawless society where life is brutish, where there is absence of state powers. We call on the Federal Government to stop this carnage,” he said.
Seconding the point-of-order, Sen. Barnabas Gemade (APC-Benue) said “this country is becoming a state without control; it is becoming a state that is experiencing anarchy.