Central Nigerian authorities say they will deploy 3000 vigilantes to guard villages in Plateau State, following a resurgence of violence that has claimed nearly 20 people in the last one week.
“The idea is to complement the formal Securities, more so that these hunters and vigilantes know the local terrain better, to help in eliminating some of these criminals,” Secretary to the Government of Plateau State, Prof. Danladi Atu told Journalists in Jos.
Over the past one week, “strange” hooded people on motorcycles have trooped to different locations in the State, for possible armed attacks, Mr. Atu said.
“We got that information in Jos North, Jos South, Jos East…Those in Jos East said they are camping in the hills but we are aware that some of the criminals are also hiding in some of our congested markets,” said the Official.
The SGS believes armed attacks in the Central Nigerian State are “beyond just Fulani herdsmen.”
“It’s not just Fulani. When you see people coming on motorbikes, it means it is beyond local Fulani here. So this means that Plateau State is almost under siege,” he said.
The planned training of hunters and vigilantes starts next Monday with the training of over 90 instructors, who would train the targeted 3000 in the three Senatorial zones of the State on Wednesday.
Authorities of six flashpoint Local Government Areas of the State – Jos East, Jos North, Jos South, Bassa Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Bokkos are building a network “beyond ethnic and religious sentiments” to fight the terrorists.
“We are building inter-local Government synergy to be able to share information, resources and coordination, to secure our citizens because when one LGA is affected, all others would be affected,” said Chairman of Riyom area, Mr. Mafeng Gwalson.
The LG Officials at a security meeting in Jos backed a declaration by the military task force in the State, to gun down any civilian seen with firearm. However, “there is need for local intervention (by vigilantes, others) at the grassroots”, said Mafeng.