9th September, 2011
The Plateau Police Command has arrested 54 suspects in connection with the recent crisis in Jos in which many lives were lost and property destroyed.
The Police Commissioner in the state, Mr. Dipo Ayeni, who made the announcement at a stakeholders security meeting in Jos, said all the suspects had been charged to court and remanded in prison custody.
He warned that all acts of impunity would henceforth be met with the full weight of the law, affirming that “nobody is above the law of the land.”
“The culture of impunity and lack of respect for the rule of law must be discouraged on the Plateau. Nobody is above the law. The command and other security agencies will not tolerate a culture of lawlessness.
“There is need for the people on the Plateau to respect sanctity of life and blood. People should not be happy with blood shedding and blood letting. Life should not be taken with sadistic excitement.”
He said that the constitution and other laws had given enormous power to the police and other security agencies to provide enabling environment for law-abiding citizens without any form of intimidation.
Ayeni appealed to the people to provide the police with intelligence, stressing that without intelligence, proactive policing would be impossible.
“The people that are killing, burning houses and rustling cattles live within our communities. The communities must assist us to know who the people behind all these criminal acts are.”
The commissioner described the security situation in the state as “very challenging,” but vowed to succeed.
“I have faced daunting security challenges and surmounted them. Jos wonâ€™t be an exception.”
He noted with regret the alleged complicity of some police personnel in the violence, but appealed to the community to give the police necessary cooperation.
In his remarks, Brig.-Gen. Pat Akem, the Commander, military Special Task Force (STF), noted with regret, the negative image the crisis had brought to the military, and appealed for another chance.
“I have heard allegations that STF is biased and had taken sides, but even if there is any merit in the allegations, I am humbly asking to be given a chance to prove myself.
“The same armed forces are well appreciated in the places we have had peacekeeping operations outside the country. Please, the same support we have received from outside should be extended to us.”
Akem decried situations where military personnel were attacked, beaten, stoned or killed, saying that such assaults did not augur well for the country, “where armed forces are the unifying factors in the continued existence of the country”.
“Any nation that humiliates its armed forces is heading for disaster. I advise that we stop humiliating the armed forces. I am open. I will not tolerate any act of indiscipline from soldiers.
“We want to conduct ourselves with the highest level of discipline and professionalism that the uniform and the people demand, but please, give us another chance.”
Mr. Christine Odiase, the state Director of SSS, said the security situation in Jos was a daunting task, noting that “the situation has been drifting from the fundamentals to sheer criminality under the guise of ethnicity and religion.”
“There is a total breakdown of law and order and people do whatever they want without control. Christians are killed in Muslim communities, and Muslims are killed in Christian communities for no reason. These are pure acts of criminality.
“We must all come together and evolve measures very fast to checkmate and tackle these criminal tendencies before they degenerate and get out of hands.”
The Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Gyang Buba, stressed that the Nigerian Constitution guaranteed freedom of worship and residence in any part of the country.
He decried the lack of respect for host communities by a section of the population, and called for mutual respect for one another and for constituted authorities.
Buba also blamed security agencies for aiding the Jos crisis by not bringing the perpetrators to justice, and condemned their alleged involvement in some of the crises.
“It is unfortunate that the machinery of government has not been able to deal with perpetrators of Jos crisis. Let there be no sacred cows, then the culture of impunity will end.
“People were arrested and taken to Abuja only to be released because of sentiments. If we allow sentiments to build into the Nigerian security system, then we can as well bid Nigeria farewell.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that stakeholders at the parley called for the implementation of past reports on Jos crises, a re-orientation of security agencies to restore public confidence, facilitation of prompt response to crisis and healthy collaboration among security organs.
The meeting, which was convened by the police commissioner, had representatives from all the ethnic groups as well as the Jamaâ€™atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).