Jos Crisis: State Failure?
We are deeply concerned by the unending violence unleashed on our nationality and many innocent Nigerians resident in the city of Jos and environs by extremist/terrorist groups. Because of this, interpersonal relations amongst ethno-religious groups have completely broken down; precious lives and property have been consumed in the process; the employment of advanced methods of mass destruction of lives; and a promise of continuous attacks on Christians in Jos and environs by Boko Haram.
2.We are worried about the internationalisation of the Jos Conflict which has manifested in terrorist financing and training of domestic terrorist groups to kill their perceived enemies by Al-Qaida in the Maghreb . We are equally worried by the cycle of support given to domestic dissident Islamic groups in Jos by some Islamic groups from West African Countries notably Chad , Niger , Northern Sudan as well as from other Northern States in Nigeria . They come in the form of mercenaries. This can be confirmed by the nationality of those arrested in the various Jos conflicts since 2001.
3. Equally worrisome is the national domestic response capacity to this direct foreign attack on the nation. The response at best has been embarrassingly poor. After Al-Qaida's pronouncement of its support to dissident domestic groups in 2009, there was neither a concerted attempt to reveal to Nigerians, Government's response strategy nor where citizens publicly reassured of their safety. Rather what the Government did was to fight hard for the de-listing of the country from the International Terrorism map. Two months after the conditional delisting, a domestic terrorist group (the Boko Haram) with firm foreign support struck and caused havoc in North Eastern Nigeria and has remained a menace to national security (as demonstrated by the recent attacks in Bauchi and bombing of Jos) without any determined, comprehensive and programmatic response by the government. This is a sign of government absolute weakness in confronting this blatant violation of national sovereignty.
4.The reoccurring attacks on indigenous communities in Jos North, Jos South and Bassa Local Government of Plateau State are clear signs that some members of the Joint Task Force have compromised their neutrality by conniving with Fulani attackers. In all the attacks whether they are mass killing at Dogon Nahawa or the stealing of cattle in several villages since January 2010, the survivors of these attacks have reported the involvement of some members of the Joint Task Force. It is becoming clear that the Fulani attackers heavily finance these murders and stealing.
5.The extra-judicial killing of defenceless civilians by members of the Joint Task Force in Jos and the environs is another worrisome matter that demands Federal Government's attention and rapid response. This has become the case of the protector turning to be the violator of citizens' rights. A situation where the members of the Task Force arrive at locations of such havocs only to arrest defenceless victims is a disgrace to the Force and unacceptable to us. Their neutrality and professionalism have been rubbished by their reoccurring actions and inactions.
6. For the state of insecurity to be addressed in Jos and environs, we demand that the Federal Government must do the following:
a.Immediately put in place a programmatic extinction of all terror groups in the nation by destroying their infrastructure and sources of finance. In doing so, government must work closely with neighbouring West African Governments, other foreign allies and the relevant bodies of the United Nations to address this phenomenon.
b.Put in place first class and unbiased intelligence gathering outfits to counter both domestic and international terrorism in Jos and environs as well as in the country. In this vein, we commend the current move by the Federal Government to set up some monitoring mechanism.
c.The Federal and the Plateau State government must ascertain the level of funding of attacks and the involvement of some members of the Joint Task Force in the attacks in around Jos, and deal with those who have been involved in extra-judicial killings.
d.Release all innocent people in Police cells and prisons who have been detained on account of defending and protecting themselves against attackers.
e.The Council of Ulama should call their adherents to order in order to return to peace to Jos and environs.
f.Allow citizens residing in Jos and environs to take their personal security in their hands, by empowering them to organised Neighbourhood Watch Teams.
Dr. Joshua Pam