The Coalition of Irigwe Professionals for Peace and National Development (CIPPND), has condemned the killing of ten people and destruction of property in the Ta’agbe community of Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State
DAILY POST had reported that gunmen suspected to be bandits invaded the community on Friday and gunned down at least 10 residents while over 30 houses were burnt down.
Reacting to the attack, the CIPPND a Civil Society Organisation, described the incident as reprehensible, barbaric, crude, premeditated and provocative.
The group also commended the military task force in the state, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) for its swift and timely response, which prevented the attackers from wreaking more havoc.
In a statement, Monday, signed by its National President, Dr James Chohu and made available to newsmen, CIPPND charged Irigwe stakeholders on the urgent need to raise their voices in condemnation of the dastardly act.
The statement, however, frowned at the tendency of the Irigwe Development Association to always blame security agencies, “especially OPSH, whenever attacks of this nature occur”, appealing to them to have a change of heart, in the interest of peace and public safety.
The coalition said the military and security agencies have a mandate to protect lives and property in all communities, regretting that such dispositions have the tendency and potential to demoralize operatives who are putting their lives on the frontline, on a daily basis.
“We condemn in strong terms the killing of 10 people, and destruction of property in Ta’agbe community of Bassa Local Government Area, Plateau State, last week, and describe same as not only barbaric, but premeditated, provocative, and reprehensible”, Chohu said in the statement.
He disclosed that investigations carried out by the group showed that troops of OPSH arrived at the community barely fifteen minutes after the attackers stormed the village, to perpetrate the wicked act, which was prevented from degenerating further.
He urged security operatives in the state to track the attackers wherever they are, isolate and arrest them, prosecute and bring them to deserved justice.
The National President of Irigwe Professionals also called for collective action among all stakeholders, noting that peacebuilding and advocacy should remain uppermost in the minds of individuals and groups in Plateau State in particular, and the country in general.
In his estimation, ”it is wrong and irresponsible to profile and stereotype ethnic groups whenever crimes are committed”.
It was his considered view that criminal elements exist among all tribes, ethnic groups, and religions in the country, hence the need to see criminality for what it is.
The statement reads: “We also wish to frown at the action of some of our few leaders from Irigwe development association, whose stock-in-trade is to always blame the security agencies especially Operation Safe Haven, whenever there’s an attack because of their selfish and parochial reason to stop as this will not take us anywhere.
“We hasten to add that, contrary to the narrative by a few persons, the special task force, and security agencies are not our enemies.
“If anything, they are our saviour after God. This is so because, our enemies would have overrun us without the containment efforts of OPSH, and sister security agencies
“While we charge OPSH to do more in their determined efforts to keep criminal elements away from the state, we must commend them whenever they do well, as in their timely response in this regard.
“In the same vein, we appeal to the leadership of Irigwe development association to always strike the right chord in their dispositions, by addressing the root causes of the conflict between farmers and herders, instead of always passing the buck to the military.
“On our part, we are also trying to identify and unmask the crisis-entrepreneurs who benefit from this lingering crisis in Irigwe land. We implore our youths not to take laws into their hands as we strongly believe that this crisis is resolvable and will soon come to an end.
“The security personnel are doing their best, but we must know that they are not magicians, and so, cannot resolve the conflicts sufficiently without our cooperation and support”.