[By VICTOR NZE]
Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the deployment of additional operational asset including a Police Surveillance Helicopter, two Units of Police Mobile Force (PMF) and two cells of Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) to Plateau State.
A statement to that effect issued by the Force Public relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba CP, sid the latest deployment is ‘part of ongoing, coordinated efforts at restoring public order in Rukuba and its environs, following the unfortunate incident of Saturday 14th, August, 2021.’
It would be recalled that Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong, imposed a dawn-to-dusk curfew in Jos North, Bassa and Jos South local government areas of the state.
The curfew which took effect from 6am to 6pm last Saturday was in response to the killing of over 20 travellers by armed gangs said to be protesting a Fulani herdsmen attack on their community which had left up to five persons dead the previous day.
The unfortunate travellers who were travelling along the Jos North road ran into the protesters who opened fire on their convoy killing over twenty of them with many more unaccounted for. Governor Lalong noted that “the curfew became necessary sequel to the unfortunate breach of peace along Rukuba road, Jos North LGA on 14th August 2021, where a convoy of commuters was attacked leading to killing of 23 people while 23 others sustained injuries and are currently receiving treatment, 26 others were rescued unhurt. So far, 20 suspects have been arrested and the security agencies are conducting investigations to get to the bottom of the matter”.
He added that having reviewed the reports and monitored the unfolding scenario, Government is concerned about the persisting tensions and reported attempts by some persons to take the laws into their hands by threatening to attack individuals and private facilities, as well as public property. Therefore, in order to avoid further deterioration of the situation and to protect the lives and properties of citizens, the governor directed the imposition of curfew on Jos North, Bassa and Jos South Local Governments commencing 6pm to 6am from 14th August 2021.
“The curfew shall remain in place subject to further review by the State Security Council and directed residents to abide by the directive to enable security personnel maintain law and order in the affected areas and deal with those attempting to cause trouble by taking advantage of the situation to perpetrate crime,” he declared.
According to the latest police statement, the surveillance helicopter, which has been deployed by the IGP and which will be manned by operatives of Nigeria Police Airwing, is expected to carry out aerial surveillance and confidence-boosting patrols within the hotspots, in coordinated operations with the ground troops.
“The IGP noted that thirteen (13) additional suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident, bringing the total number of arrested persons to thirty-three (33). He assured that the NPF is committed to working with other patriotic stakeholders toward restoring public order in Plateau and other parts of the country.
“Meanwhile, the Head of the Police Intervention Team (PIT), DIG Sanusi N. Lemu, mni, is already on ground in Plateau, coordinating Police investigative, operational and peace-building response,” Mba said.