Saturday, May 8, 2021

Plateau killings: From communal to religious clash – Mahdi Garba


Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
tiamin rice

I didn’t want to say anything about what is currently happening in Plateau State, but I am compelled to do so. The gravity of the mayhem is beyond what social media commentators are saying. It’s unfortunate that even the newspapers we trust are giving a subjective narrative of the crisis. None, even amongst the media houses that intone investigative journalism as their slogan tried to trace the genesis of what is currently happening.

The crisis started in about a week ago, other sources say a fortnight when some men with Fulani identity had a face-off with Beroms (the majority ethnic group in Barikin Ladi local government of Plateau state). As usual, what is happening now is a reprisal attack. What befuddles me about this crisis is the timing of the attack and the victims.

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To give this crisis an ethno-religious underpinning, the reprisal took place during a burial of one Baba Jakawa, a devout Christian who died at 80. In a state like Plateau, where a communal clash can evolve into a religious crisis, security operatives should have responded swiftly, but regrettably, the narrative was different.

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There was no effort by the government to curtail the spreading crisis that started from Gashish, Gindin Akwati to Heipang, Kuzen, Nyarr and now, even Bukuru. No newspaper is reporting this. Both the Governor, Barr. Simon Lalong and his deputy, Prof. Sonni Gwanle Tyoden are not in the state. While the state bleeds, the governor is in Abuja not to talk about taking a proactive measure as the CSO of the state.

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There is no gainsaying that the state governor has failed in fulfilling his primary responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of Plateau people. If there is a serious government in place, no miscreant will block the Jos-Abuja highway in the name of vengeance on innocent travellers. But, when the government fails to protect the people, the people take the responsibility.

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Both actions are condemned and the current government must take the bull by the horn and bring the actors to book no matter whose ox is gored if they are after averting similar occurrence in the future. Religious and political leaders in Plateau state should use their pulpits for good and stop fanning the flames of these crises through provocative speeches.

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Mr Garba can be reached via: @MahdiGarba on Twitter

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