Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang of Plateau State says the killings that took place in 22 villages in the state a week ago was nothing but a genocide.
The Plateau state governor insisted that “the unprovoked and simultaneous attacks in different villages were clearly premeditated and coordinated.
In his new year statement a tearful Mutfwang said, “while it is true that we ended the year 2023 on a sad note because of the many precious lives we lost including but not limited to over 400 between April and June, 2023 as well as the over 160 in the recent Christmas genocide.”
“These series of attacks on our people are a clear case of criminality, insurgency and terrorism and must be seen and handled in that manner if we must succeed in halting this wanton destruction of lives and property. For the avoidance of doubt, it is a misrepresentation of facts to describe these needless and unprovoked attacks on our people as a Farmer-Herder clash as has always been the traditional narrative. Let us call a spade a spade, this is simple genocide.”
According to the governor, “from small eruptions of conflict sometime in 2001, no one could have imagined that our dear state would witness such unquantifiable bloodshed of innocent lives, some known and others unknown. It is quite grievous to my heart that Plateau State has today become the cynosure of the whole nation and indeed the world for the wrong reasons.
“These unprovoked and simultaneous attacks in different villages were clearly premeditated and coordinated. These series of attacks on our people are a clear case of criminality, insurgency and terrorism and must be seen and handled in that manner if we must succeed in halting this wanton destruction of lives and property. “For the avoidance of doubt, it is a misrepresentation of facts to describe these needless and unprovoked attacks on our people as a Farmer-Herder clash as has always been the traditional narrative. Let us call a spade a spade, this is simple genocide!”
He used the occasion again to commiserate with Plateau People on “these monumental killings, especially the affected communities and the families of the deceased.”
He added, “my heart goes out to you and be assured that my family, the entire government and I deeply share in your grief. We will not rest on our oars but will tirelessly collaborate with the Federal Government to bring an end to these tragedies and bring succour to affected persons and communities.
“As a mark of honour for the memory of the deceased, I wish to declare a week of mourning from January 1st, to January 8th, 2024. During this period of mourning, flags will fly at half-mast. I urge all citizens to use these days for intense prayers to seek the intervention of the Almighty God in defending our territories and against wicked men that have risen against us. I wish to plead with our Muslim clerics to dedicate Friday January 5th, 2024 and our Christian Clergy to use Sunday January 7th, 2024 as special prayer days for lasting peace to return to the Plateau. “Monday 8th January, 2024 will be observed as our official state day of mourning.”
He said “despite these onslaughts, our spirits are not broken. Our resolve to defend our land and prosper therein has remained unshakeable. I am therefore confident that 2024 will reveal our inner strength and resilience in the face of these tribulations.”
Acknowledging the “unwavering support and confidence in my ability to lead you at this trying period of our evolution as a people,” the governor said, “despite the gloomy end of 2023, I am proud to state that we have recorded some tangible gains starting from May 29th, 2023 when we were sworn into office.”
Mutfwang added, “we are not oblivious of the fact that we are living in very challenging economic times. Today, Plateau State is ranked among the poorest states in the Multidimensional Poverty Index as detailed by the National Bureau of Statistics. As a government, we shall continue to support the Federal Government in its efforts towards revamping the national economy. We have however started our roll out of palliatives from last December when we distributed over 15, 000 bags of rice and 10,000 bags of maize. From January, 2024 we hope to also distribute the 200 trucks of fertiliser we procured for our farmers at a reasonable discount.
“As a government, we have taken proactive steps to protect our communities and rehabilitate those who survived the gruesome attacks.”
He said he remained thankful to Mr President for his proactive response and prompt directive to security agencies to fish out the perpetrators, and to mobilise relief materials for surviving victims and those who sustained injuries in the hospital.