By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday decried how desperate politicians have increasingly cheapened human life in their quest to establish a reign of instability and chaos in the country for political gains.
President Buhari, who was reacting to recent clashes in Plateau, which left scores dead, said in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja, that those behind the killings hoped that it would give them an advantage in the coming elections.
He said: “We know that a number of geographical and economic factors are contributing to the longstanding herdsmen/farmers clashes.
“But we also know that politicians are taking advantage of the situation. This is incredibly unfortunate.
“Nigerians affected by the herdsmen/ farmer clashes must always allow the due process of the law to take its course rather than taking matters into their own hands.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the presidency quoted security information which indicated that about one hundred cattle were rustled by a community in Plateau State, and some herdsmen were killed in the process.
The report also revealed that the state governor, Simon Lalong, had invited the aggrieved groups and pleaded against further action while the law enforcement agents looked into the matter.
Less than 24 hours later, violence broke out.
It further stated that some local thugs then took advantage of the situation, turning it into an opportunity to extort the public, and to attack people from rival political parties.
“There were reports of vehicles being stopped along the roads in the state, with people being dragged out of their cars and attacked if they stated that they supported certain politicians or political party.
“On his way back to Jos after attending the All Progressives Congress (APC) Convention in Abuja, the state governor had to dismantle a number of illegal road blocks set up by these thugs. There were also a number of people thugs had killed, with their bodies lying along the road,’’ the report added.
The Police Command in Plateau had on Sunday confirmed the killing of 86 people in attacks on Razat, Ruku, Nyarr, Kura and Gana-Ropp villages of Gashish District in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state.
The command had earlier said that only 11 persons were killed.
ASP Terna Tyopev, the command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO) confirmed the new figure to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Jos.
The Plateau Government had since announced a dusk to dawn curfew in Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Jos South local government areas to check further breakdown of law and order in the state.