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CHRICED Condemns Plateau Killings, Says Kid Gloves Approach Won’t Stop Perpetrators

Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) strongly condemns the recent killing of innocent villagers in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas (LGA) of Plateau State. Tragically, at the last count, not less than 160 people have lost their lives. It is absolutely traumatizing that Nigeria has degenerated to the point where it is now a certified killing field, and a place where human beings can be so routinely wasted, while life goes on as if nothing has happened.

Our reality is therefore not different from the Hobbesian state of nature, where life is extremely nasty, brutish and short. No matter how much the system tries to normalize these constant killings, they remain unacceptable. It is a violation of the right to life that terrorists would move in and decimate hundreds of human beings in communities, without the slightest form of resistance from the security forces paid by tax payers to protect the people.

Although the Presidency and other government actors have issued statements to condemn the attacks, their duties clearly go beyond the issuing of condolence messages. Also, while visits to comfort the victims are in order, CHRICED alongside millions of other well-meaning citizens, expect much more. All government functionaries saddled with the responsibility of protecting the lives and property of Nigerians ought to cut short their festivities and lead the urgent counteroffensive to track the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, capture them and bring them to justice.

Unfortunately, those who are paid heavily from the Nigerian commonwealth to ensure attacks like these do not happen are still too busy with their festivities, and can only pay condolence visits and release statements. It appears that they are not available to take the lead in the more pressing task of pursuing, apprehending, and bringing these attackers to justice. Consequently, the unfortunate reality is that with this lukewarm approach, both the victims and the culprits will soon be forgotten, until another horrific attack occurs. CHRICED is well aware that this has been the recurring pattern of killings and the reckless destruction of Nigerian citizens by terrorists, marauders, and other individuals who disrupt the peace and security of the nation.

In an ironic twist, the present administration of the All-Progressive Congress (APC) made a promise during their election campaign to take decisive action against terrorism and various forms of insecurity. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda rightly identified national security as the “bedrock of a prosperous and democratic society.” Acknowledging that the primary duty of the government is to safeguard the lives and properties of its citizens, the agenda outlined specific measures, which include readiness to “mobilise the totality of Nigeria’s national security, military and law enforcement assets to protect all Nigerians from danger and from the fear of danger.”

The Nigerian State has failed to deliver on its grand promises, such as the formation of specialized Anti-Terrorist Battalions (ABATT), which according to the agenda is aimed at taking control of the situation and providing communities with respite from terrorists, kidnappers, and bandits. These promises hold no significance for those who have lost their lives, as they have not been fulfilled in the practical and lived realities of those affected. The recent Plateau attacks, which have claimed the lives of 160 citizens and counting, clearly demonstrate the absence of any protective measures from the Nigerian State.

Following the recent wave of killings therefore, it is crucial to shift our attention towards the larger objective of preventing such tragedies from occurring again. A key aspect of this objective involves enhancing community policing initiatives to facilitate intelligence gathering and early warning systems. Regrettably, the current National Security Adviser (NSA) has failed to exhibit the necessary competence in addressing the rampant insecurity plaguing the nation since assuming office. The recent killings in Plateau also serve as a stark reminder of the ineffectiveness of the current centralized policing system, which fails to adequately protect citizens from threats similar to those witnessed in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi LGAs.

It is equally apparent that the central policing system thrives more on regime and elite protection instead of being driven by the urgent need of protecting citizens within communities. This reality is exemplified by the thousands of police and other security agencies officials who accompanied politicians to their country homes for the end of the year festivities. Such a dysfunctional and wrongly incentivized policing architecture will never be fully committed to the protection of lives and property of citizens. The structure requires overhaul and fundamental reforms if the government would be able to fulfill its primary function of securing the lives and property of citizens. Importantly, failure of the government to ensure the reforms and to prevent further decimation of the lives of innocent citizens will mean it has no regards for the provisions of Section 33(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which is clear that: “Every person has a right to life and no one shall be deprived of his life, save in the execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.”

CHRICED expresses its condolences to the families and communities of Bokkos and Barkin Ladi who have suffered the loss of their loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time, and we pray that God grants them comfort and strength.


Comrade Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi
Executive Director

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