Connect with us


A governor’s commendable security initiatives



Governor Mutfwang score card on security


On the occasion of his inauguration as the sixth civilian Executive Governor of Plateau State on May 29, 2023, Barrister Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang admitted that he was not lost in thought as to the enormity and urgency of the tasks before the new government was not lost on him. Thus, he pledged his preparedness to provide leadership that will imbue him with a sense of mission and commitment to meet the aspirations of Plateau people.

However, the governor’s inauguration missive was still resonating with the people when some predatory forces and blood-thirsty non-state actors struck with ferocious and bestial abandon to destabilize parts of Mangu Local Government Area in Plateau Central. The organized and well-orchestrated attacks were characterised by massive killings and arson which forced a lot of families to flee their homes. That created acute humanitarian crises that tasked official response to nip the ugly development in the bud and restore peace and harmonious relations.

For a government that was choked by an empty treasury and debt overhang, these were certainly testy and tremulous times. However, by policy, deployment and all, Governor Mutfwang rose stoutly to the occasion. Having called global attention to the unprovoked attacks that threatened to deplete Mangu into a killing field, he rallied the state’s security agencies to mobilize to Mangu to not only enforce the dusk-to-dawn curfew which was inevitably in place, but to end the killings by arresting or warding off the perpetrators and restore peace and confidence in the affected areas.

In response to the governor’s outcry and public condemnation of the attackers’ savagery, Operation Safe Haven, Nigeria’s military special task force on the crises in and around Plateau State, had to temporarily relocate its headquarters as the Commander moved himself and other officers to the frontiers of the attacks in Mangu. This was dutifully followed by a visit by the military high command, led by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, who visited the STF troops in Mangu to inspire and motivate them to stand up to the challenge with professionalism and utmost sense of patriotism. It will be recalled that following that visit which underscored the intolerance of the government of brigandage and threats to law and order, the war mongers in Mangu were neutralized and normalcy restored to this busy commercial destination in Central Plateau.

Having entered the saddle amidst crises and sectarian challenges, the need to overhaul and reposition the state-owned Operation Rainbow for intelligence gathering and response to early warning signals was self-evident. Thus, the governor had to appoint a new Commander with a verifiable trajectory in military organization, operations and counter- insurgency to take charge and direct the affairs of the state security outfit. The governor also equipped it with security vehicles and other logistics. The training of personnel and general capacity building was also carried out to facilitate ease and promptness of its security activities.

In the absence of a state police, the Operation Rainbow has been criss-crossing the state as it works to complement and provide crucial and strategic intervention that will make the state security prompt and responsive to acts and scenes of criminality in the state.

The governor also embarked on internalisation and internal checks to find a therapy for the recurrent crises that have certainly become a bad advertisement for the state and its people. It is on record that the on assumption of office, he swiftly restored the tradition of routine State Security Council meetings and briefings to enable him be on the alert and alive to any early warning signals.

Stakeholders’ consultations and meetings were also held with traditional leaders, religious heads, elders and strategic socio-cultural groups in the state to trace the internal fault lines that are impinging on the prospects for internal cohesion and harmonious relations. The governor has always emphasized that if all who attend the stakeholders’ meetings are sincere to themselves and committed to the general good of the state, this platform should be able to resolve the issues and re-make Plateau as Nigeria’s foremost home of peace and tourism.

Just to emphasize and reinforce The Time Is Now mantra of the administration, Governor Mutfwang also took the Plateau challenge to the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in Abuja, where he briefed the President on the urgency of the Plateau situation and the vulnerability of the people. That visit produced the desirable outcome of summoning the service chiefs and issuing them marching orders to fish out the masterminds of the Plateau killings and bring them to justice.

Last year’s Christmas Eve attacks on parts of Bokkos, Barkin Ladi, and Mangu, as dastardly and horrendous as they were, also indicated to the governor that there was still a crack in the wall and that the push and shove were far from over. And, therefore, there was still much to be done. After a solemn state-wide broadcast in which the governor commiserated with families of victims and told the world that the bloodletting that has been happening in Plateau State was not as a result of farmers/herders clash (as often erroneously and mischievously dubbed by certain groups and interests), the National Security Adviser, NSA, to the President, Nuhu Ribadu, immediately moved into the state on Christmas Day to investigate and determine the foundations and causatives of the recurrent attacks and killings in the state.

That visit was reinforced the next day, December 26, when the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, in company of the service chiefs, arrived Jos and proceeded to Bokkos where they interacted with refugees of the attacks and displacements who were crowded in emergency, makeshift abodes as Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.

This was followed by a stakeholders meeting with the vice president and the service chiefs at the Yakubu Gowon International Airport, Heipang, near Jos. At the meeting, Shettima acknowledged and commended the forthrightness and commitment of the governor towards finding enduring solutions that will restore peace to Plateau State.

But Mutfwang was not yet done. Thus, he abandoned the leisure and celebrations of the Yuletide and headed to Lagos, with a heavy heart, on behalf of the families in grief and the entire grieving Plateau people. His task was to pester a holidaying President Tinubu with the responsibility to restore normalcy and security of lives and property because he was besieged, ambushed.

For obvious reasons, much of what the president promised the governor regarding the security challenges in Plateau State are better implemented than publicised. Nonetheless, the deployment of troops and improved mobilisation of the security agencies to respond to the growing audacity of the assailants and bandits seeking to unleash reign of terror on the state have been noticeable. The approval that a military barracks be established in Bokkos local government area to boost security surveillance and prompt response to distress calls is part of the laudable dividends of the interface between the governor and the Federal authorities towards finding a lasting solution to the Plateau attacks.

Managing Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the various camps has also been an integral part of the Mutfwang peace initiatives in the past one year. Beyond the camps, Governor Mutfwang has put a resettlement committee in place to return displaced persons to their homes where they can also return to their farms as the government is beefing up security in the rural areas as a preface to food security.

The anti-land grabbing law is being given bite in a holistic package and process which emphasis is the respect for the peoples’ heritage and values system. This will enthrone equity and justice which are sine qua non for peace and mutual communality.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *