Blood on the Plateau: No Peace, No Tourism; Time for Mass Actions Against Genocidal Attacks


“Let me also say this; fifth columnists have infiltrated the security agencies. This is a fact we must confront as a nation. There are many people who should not be there; they are agents of these criminals, and sometimes they even compromise their colleagues. And that is why you have a lot of ambushes sometimes when these security agencies are going on operations.”

Governor Caleb Luftwang of Plateau state lamenting on the recent killings where over where over 160 Nigerians in three LGAs in Plateau state on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day by terrorists. The killings obviously continue to expose the vicious failures of the Nigerian police and military from resolving the several internal wars in the country across all the regions from East to Middle belt, to the core North.

Imagine that the Christmas Terrorists operated  across over 20 villages in Barkin Ladi, Bokkos and Mangu Local Government Areas.

Even the Defence Headquarters, the highest authority of the military high command, declared that although the military did receive over 30 distress calls from the villagers when the attacks were going on, it could not respond soon enough because the terrain in those communities is bad. This is not strange an excuse as for the upteenth time, the military has served the interests of a few the more than the interests of the people.

The most embarrassing aspect is that when the killings in the communities occur, since the past decades, no arrests or thorough investigation is being done other than condolences jamborees.

In response to the Christmas Killing ms, the country director of Amnesty International; Isa Sanusi, posited that the “The Nigerian authorities must investigate the inexcusable security lapses that allowed the horrific killing of over 140 people by gunmen across over 20 villages.” He further revealed the fact that “that the gunmen were on rampage of killing and destruction for more than 48 hours, moving from one village to another,”

Like in a recent piece, I pointed out the roles of neo-liberal capitalism’s explorations of raw materials from the country while destroying local productions and state investments and controls of the commanding heights of the economy. Hiding under divisive ideas like religious and ethnic conflicts, private profiteers unleashes terror on citizens in order to explore same lands and resources abound for primitive accumulation of wealth. This is why democratic self-defence of the Plateau people have been very difficult. The local, state, and federal government characters seldom care deeply about the rivers of blood flowing from rivers.

Those in the military and in government generally do not care, or simply gain directly or indirectly from the Plateau murders as in 2021 when such incidence as this genocide occurred, the Coalition For Revolution (CORE) issued a statement condemning the police and soldiers over their attacks on peaceful mass demonstration by Plateau Youths and women on the Anniversary of the 2001 Plateau Genocide which was actually the beginning of the over two. decades of internal wars and terrorism attacks on the Plateau.

CORE noted that the 2021 anniversary marked “twenty years since unbridled carnage was let loose on Jos. The cycles of violence since then have taken several shapes. This includes and has equally been spurred by state repression. Law enforcement agents were once again all set to wreck violent havoc on young women and men in Jos this morning. These youth had taken it upon themselves to organize a memorial procession in memory of the dead and to urge the rebirth of peace and harmony based on justice.”

Emboldened by the #EndSARS movement, youths organised as the September Seven Movement, mobilised  hundreds of youths in a procession chanting against violence and suing for lasting peace.  But the police would not have this demonstrations for peace, they “dispersed them, scattering the wreaths they came to lay for the dead. These policemen were seen drinking alcohol and smoking for hours before the procession was to commence.

They were acting on the order of the Plateau state government. The stage had been set with a press statement issued by Mr Dan Manjang, the state’s commissioner information yesterday evening. In it, he warned that “security agents have been placed on red alert to rise up to the challenge by arresting anyone who violates this directive.”

Baba Aye and Gbenga Komolafe, both Conveners of Coalition For Revolution then raise some posers that:

“Is it young people who want to remember the dead that a serious state should be putting security agents on the alert for or bandits who have been having a field day in the same state; killing, maiming, and looting poor people? Should the Plateau State government itself not be marking this historical day and filling it with hope for a rebirth of peace and harmonious social life in the state?

During the Christmas Killings too, the Governor Caleb Luftwang was busy jollying with President Tinubu in Lagos while the over 150 people were being murdered in Plateau. This is all for his personal political gains other than the people’s security and welfare.

Revolution Socialists have clearly stated that only the democratic self-organizing of the people’s defences can bring peace in the immediate while a lasting peace can only come when there is better life for all, and not a few.

Plateau state has probably the most beautiful geographical terrain in Nigeria. It’s a hub of attraction for tourism, and this is why the founders puts it’s official slogan as “For peace and tourism.” But the plateau has instead being turned to a theatre of all sorts of religious, ethnic, and banditry. There can not be tourism without peace. So, the more violence on the Plateau, the more lasting peace becomes a foolish illusion.

Let me conclude that there is a dire need to rebuild the 2021 efforts of the September Seven Movement with more advancements and massifications. There is a need for all radical groups, movements, and workers/youths organizations especially the Labour councils to robustly work together and lead gigantic campaigns for peace.

by Kunle Wizeman AJAYI

First published in the Marx21 Boletin No. 51 available online here



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