Over 145 people were killed in a series of attacks on 20 communities in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi LGAs of Plateau State. At least 300 people were also injured and thousands of members of the communities displaced. The attacks lasted days, starting from Saturday 23 December to Christmas Day. Once again, the Federal Government has been able only to condemn the massacre and make empty promises to address the problem, provide relief for the injured and affected and make sure the “envoys of death, pain and sorrow” do not escape justice.
Amnesty International hit the nail on the head when it pointed out that governments “have been failing to end frequent deadly attacks on rural communities of Plateau State” without “tangible action” to back government statements that the problem will be addressed.
Military forces in Nigeria appear to be better equipped for killing poor working people than safeguarding their lives. Earlier in the month, 120 civilians were killed in Tudun Biri village, Kaduna state in a military drone attack. It was described as an error by the government. This “bombing mishap” as President Tinubu put it was also condemned, with promises of a “thorough and full-fledged investigation.” Over 300 people have been “mistakenly” killed by military airstrikes since 2017. Nothing has come out of earlier “investigations.” And there is no sign that things will be any different this time.
We condemn the recent killing in Plateau State in the strongest of terms, as we have done several times with each of these horrific attacks that have become tragically frequent. The incapacity of the Nigerian state to safeguard the lives of poor working people is now beyond any reasonable doubt.
We reiterate our support for organised self-defense of the people which the Plateau State Youth Council (PYC) called for after the killing of 300 people in May. We demand that the state provides training and arms for the people in this regard. And beyond audio provision of relief, the state must bear full responsibility for the deaths, take care of the injured and compensate the bereaved families and communities.
by Lionel AKPOYIVO