• Thursday, February 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Plateau villagers flee as security promises fail to stem fear

IGP mandates vehicular restriction on election day in 26 states

In the aftermath of Christmas Eve attacks that left over 150 dead across 25 Plateau State communities, fear remains the dominant emotion, casting a long shadow over the Inspector-General of Police’s visit and pronouncements of enhanced security.

Kayode Egbetokun, the nation’s top cop, arrived in Jos on Friday to reassure residents and quell the exodus that was emptying villages and towns. However, his promises of a “special operation” and assurances of presidential support did little to dispel the deep-seated anxiety gripping the region.

While Egbetokun announced the temporary relocation of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police to Plateau and renewed collaboration with the military, residents in heavily hit areas like Bokkos town opted for action over words.

Rumours of fresh attacks sparked a mass exodus, with families fleeing to Jos and other perceived safe havens. Transport fares skyrocketed as the desperate sought escape, highlighting the palpable terror gripping the region.

Governor Caleb Mutfwang, welcoming the IG, acknowledged the trauma and demanded improved intelligence sharing between security agencies. He emphasized the need to move beyond mere apprehension of perpetrators, urging the authorities to expose and dismantle the networks supporting the violence.

The Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Buba, the spiritual leader of the Berom people,  offered similar pleas during Egbetokun’s visit.

The helicopters patrolling the Bokkos skies were a stark reminder of the situation’s fragility. While they aimed to deter further violence, their presence also served as a constant visual of the threat faced by communities that had borne the brunt of the Christmas Eve carnage.

The tragedy has thrust Plateau back into the national spotlight, raising critical questions about the effectiveness of security measures and the root causes of the persistent violence.