ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- In response to the tragic Christmas eve attacks that claimed ovaer 150 lives in Plateau State, Governor Caleb Mutfwang announces seven-day mourning period starting 1 January.
The Governor, addressing the state in a New Year broadcast, condemns the coordinated attacks, describing them as acts of criminality, insurgency, and terrorism.
Governor Mutfwang also grants state pardon to Danladi Musa and three others, previously sentenced, while expressing deep condolences to the affected communities.
The governor said, “It is true that we ended the year 2023 on a sad note because of the many precious lives we lost including but not limited to over 400 between April and June, 2023 as well as the over 160 in the recent Christmas genocide.
“From small eruptions of conflict sometime in 2001, no one could have imagined that our dear state would witness such unquantifiable bloodshed of innocent lives, some known and others unknown. It is quite grievous to my heart that Plateau State has today become the cynosure of the whole nation and indeed the world for the wrong reasons.
“These unprovoked and simultaneous attacks in different villages were clearly premeditated and coordinated. These series of attacks on our people are a clear case of criminality, insurgency and terrorism and must be seen and handled in that manner if we must succeed in halting this wanton destruction of lives and property.”
Recall that on Sunday, 24 December, 2023, gunmen stormed Ndun, Ngyong, Murfet, Makundary, Tamiso, Chiang, Tahore, Gawarba, Dares, Meyenga, Darwat, and Butura Kampani villages in the Barkin Ladi, Mangu and Bokkos areas of the state, burning houses and shooting residents.
The Chairman of Community Peace Observers in the Bokkos Local Government Area, Mallai, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “Over 150 people were killed in the attacks. In Bokkos town alone, more than 10,000 people are taking refuge in churches, mosques, schools, and private residences.”
Mutfwang commiserated with the people of Plateau on these killings, especially the affected communities and the families of the deceased.
He declares flags to fly at half-mast during the mourning period and urges citizens to engage in intense prayers for divine intervention.
The Governor designates special prayer days for both Muslim and Christian communities and declares 8 January, 2024, as the official state day of mourning.
He added “My heart goes out to you and be assured that my family, the entire government and I deeply share in your grief. We will not rest on our oars but will tirelessly collaborate with the Federal Government to bring an end to these tragedies and bring succour to affected persons and communities.
“As a mark of honour for the memory of the deceased, I wish to declare a week of mourning from January 1to January 8, 2024.
“During this period of mourning, flags will fly at half-mast. I urge all citizens to use these days for intense prayers to seek the intervention of the Almighty God in defending our territories and against wicked men that have risen against us.
“I wish to plead with our Muslim clerics to dedicate Friday, January 5, 2024 and our Christian clergy to use Sunday January 7, 2024 as special prayer days for lasting peace to return to the Plateau. Monday 8th January, 2024 will be observed as our official state day of mourning.”
Despite the challenges, Governor Mutfwang expresses confidence in the resilience of the people and their ability to overcome the tribulations in the coming year.