The Nigerian Army has cautioned Nigerians, particularly Plateau State residents, against reprisal attacks and taking the law into their hands in guise of self-defense with the prevailing insecurity situation across the state.
The army noted that in achieving lasting peace across the state, it was important residents thread with caution and eschew all forms jungle justice that could further escalate and elongate the situation.
The Media Officer, Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Maj. Ishaku Takwa, who gave the warning through a statement in Jos on Monday, faulted what he described as consistent call on residents of the state to defend themselves, saying such calls would escalate the security challenges bedevilling the state.
According to him, we have noted several reports in the media by some highly placed individuals calling on law-abiding citizens of Plateau to resort to defending themselves in the face of the security challenge experienced in the state.
“We wish to assure the good people of the state that OPSH is committed to protecting lives and property of all. We have improved on our responses to distress calls and several attacks were prevented from happening lately.
“These successes were possible due to the trust and provision of timely and credible information from the good people of the state. We, therefore, urge law-abiding citizens of the state not take laws into their hands but to continue to provide us with such information to enable us to protect communities from attacks,’’ the statement read.
The media officer also urged citizens of the state to continue to give support to security agencies toward restoring lasting peace and security in the state. Takwa also advised the people to shun violence, hatred and tolerate one another for peace to reign.
It would be recalled that the Presidency had yesterday assured all citizens that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was on top of events and moving ahead with force to crush the perpetrators of the recent incidents of unrest in the state.
“But to achieve success, our communities must unite against these horrific attacks. Retributive violence is not the answer,” Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, had said in a statement.
Continuing, he said, “while these troubled communities are being reinforced with security personnel, our religious, traditional and other community leaders must not allow the use of their spaces for the propagation of violence and incitement to violence.
“Attempts to simplify the reasons into a basic narrative may help raise donor-dollars for international NGOs, fill pages of overseas newspapers, and burnish foreign politicians’ faith credentials; but this does not increase understanding, nor offer solutions. If anything, simplistic theorizing and finger-pointing make the situation worse.
“It is important both for Nigerians and the international community to appreciate that there are a multitude of factors attendant to these troubles. There is the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorism, as well as the spate of kidnappings for ransom, transformed by some misinformed global media into a Muslim-on-Christian threat. Yet, in reality, there are no religious connotations at all when the primary purpose of these acts is to extract money.
“As for Nigerians, what we need is to come together. And we must do this firstly and for the most part by our own hands, by casting asunder those who seek to divide us for their own nefarious financial and political gain.”