CASE:Crisis/Violence in Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area, Plateau State- Nigeria.
REPORT OF ADVOCACY VISIT FROM UPVAC REPRESENTATIVE TO THE CHAIRMAN MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE OF BARKIN-LADI LGA: MR. BITRUS DOROON [23/09/2015]
Religion, Settlement, Psychological, Cultural…
CURRENT CONCISE SITUATION:
Consistent Guerrilla Attacks, Tension, Unrest…
The Security Challenge facing Barkin-Ladi local government area in Plateau State has been an issue of concern to UPVAC.
As an organization, we have studied the unfolding challenge and having resolved to offer our expertise in resolving this challenge, a team was set up to pursue the possibility of partnering with the local government council authorities on ways of mitigating the crisis.
SECURITY REPORT ON ISSUE OF BARKIN-LADI, PLATEAU STATE-NIGERIA.
This is a security status report on 23rd September, 2015 of Barkin-Ladi, Plateau State, Nigeria on the issue of the violence in the Local government area.
UPVAC concerned with the current security challenges in the aforementioned local government area, sent out a team on a courtesy visit to the local government chairman and as well as further investigate the root/structural causes and triggering factors, which may include poverty, gender imbalance, bad governance and other immediate causes of the violence which might include previous attacks from the present victims or previous clashes between them.
UPVAC on the visit observed that the main aim of these attackers was not mainly because they did not have enough land on which to graze on, or due to past clashes, but rather:
Their (attackers) motivational factor is mostly linked to:
Ideology; their system of beliefs, values and ideas which involves taking life to achieve their aim.
Nationalism/Cultural; they want autonomy and great recognition for their cause.
Religion; they want their religion to dominate and have majority in the country.
Personal; some people use it as a personal vendetta to perpetuate crime.
Pecuniary/Economy; money is one of their key factors, the love of money and the economy in general.
Psychological motives; mostly, subtle clever actions and words are used to influence group of persons towards the path of violence with eternal rewards as promises, also characteristic temperament associated to these group of persons.
Following an interview, it was further investigated that they (attackers):
Are heavily armed and tactical in their operations, making them not just the ordinary cattle rearers, but also trace of boko-haram in them;
Want to take over the community as they previously did with some of the villages of Borno by instilling fear in the minds of the indigenes.
Are not interested in any dialogue, negotiation or mediation as these channels have been exhausted by the local chiefs as well by the military. This is mainly because the only request they might need cannot be granted to them which is Land.
From interviews, with the prominent community members, the following was observed
These attackers are not just farmers/cattle rearers or rustlers they are well sophisticated, trained and use mostly of the guerilla tactics to launch their attacks;
Frequency of attack with three to four (3-4) ties weekly, suggest that they might actually live within the community as they mostly attack from surrounding mountains and lowlands;
The rocks are their hideouts, confirmed by a respondent;
The authorities above are not giving the issue adequate attention and priority;
The local media is not doing enough in campaigning against these attacks;
The people are advocating for an international media coverage and intervention on the subject matter;
The casualties is constantly on the rise with more than 45 reported dead from roads attacks only within the period of January to September, 2015; also about three (3) or more villages have been evacuated in the local government;
Several meetings to mediate peace by stake holders, religious leaders and the security agencies has proved abortive as the local Chiefs and Special Task Force has frequently intervened in the issue, but with non-compliance from the aggressor community and no visible sign of pro-active intervention to bring about a lasting solution.
The settlers (indigenes) are in dire need of empowerment and capacity building mentally, physically and tactically to give them leverage on the attackers, which applies to the Doctrine of Deterrent.
Finally, from our observation and responds from several respondents, we opine that we would be able to proffer a sustainable solution and respondents are optimistic that Universal Peace and Violence Amelioration Centre (UPVAC) has the capacity to empower them with capability to deter and sustain peace.
Furthermore it is observed that these attacks are sporadic but planned, with a frequency of 3-4 attacks in a week, and if measures are not taken to curtail the current situation it might escalate into some worse which may result to similar case scenario of Maiduguri (Borno) of North-Eastern Nigeria which might eventually lead to dividing the State into two, which is not the solution, as current situation prevents travelling to and fro the state because of the rampant attacks along these localities, as travellers are mostly slaughtered en route their destination.
Further Recommendations by UPVAC
UPVAC wish to recommend as follows;
Authorities concerned should get more security deployment around the tension areas with sufficient weapons to arrest the situation.
Mobile policemen should be deployed to these areas for a more effective execution of duty as the chain of command for the military is too cumbersome and bureaucratic.
Both communities should be provided with adequate presence of securities to avoid cases of criminals taking advantage of their absence in these areas to perpetrate crime.
There should be a dialogue approach to reopen cattle routes that have been taken over by the local farmers.
There should be appropriate measures for disarmament from both the communities as it is believed that weapons are illegally given and used by people in the community.
Security personnel need to step up their tactics and skills as the criminals are sophisticated and elements of Boko Haram in them.
Communities must cooperate to point at known criminals among them whose stock-in-trade is rustling and robbery.