•Governor Caleb Mutfwang
In the wake of the attacks on Christmas Eve in several Plateau State towns that claimed the lives of over 150 people, the state administration today announced a seven-day mourning period that would begin on January 1.
The announcement was delivered by Governor Caleb Mutfwang during his statewide New Year’s broadcast to the public, reports The Nation.
Additionally, he pardoned three people whose sentences had been reduced to lesser terms and one person, Danladi Musa, who had been given a life sentence.
The governor said, “It is true that we ended the year 2023 on a sad note because of the many precious lives we lost including but not limited to over 400 between April and June, 2023 as well as the over 160 in the recent Christmas genocide.
“From small eruptions of conflict sometime in 2001, no one could have imagined that our dear state would witness such unquantifiable bloodshed of innocent lives, some known and others unknown. It is quite grievous to my heart that Plateau State has today become the cynosure of the whole nation and indeed the world for the wrong reasons.
“These unprovoked and simultaneous attacks in different villages were clearly premeditated and coordinated. These series of attacks on our people are a clear case of criminality, insurgency and terrorism and must be seen and handled in that manner if we must succeed in halting this wanton destruction of lives and property.”
On Sunday, December 24, 2023, gunmen raided the villages of Ndun, Ngyong, Murfet, Makundary, Tamiso, Chiang, Tahore, Gawarba, Dares, Meyenga, Darwat, and Butura Kampani villages in the Barkin Ladi, Mangu and Bokkos areas of the state, burning houses and shooting residents.
Mutfwang expressed his sympathies to the Plateau’s residents for these murders, particularly to the impacted areas and the surviving family members.
He added, “My heart goes out to you and be assured that my family, the entire government and I deeply share in your grief. We will not rest on our oars but will tirelessly collaborate with the Federal Government to bring an end to these tragedies and bring succour to affected persons and communities.
“As a mark of honour for the memory of the deceased, I wish to declare a week of mourning from January 1to January 8, 2024.
“During this period of mourning, flags will fly at half-mast. I urge all citizens to use these days for intense prayers to seek the intervention of the Almighty God in defending our territories and against wicked men that have risen against us.
“I wish to plead with our Muslim clerics to dedicate Friday, January 5, 2024 and our Christian clergy to use Sunday January 7, 2024 as special prayer days for lasting peace to return to the Plateau. Monday 8th January, 2024 will be observed as our official state day of mourning.”
The governor emphasized that in spite of these assaults, the people’s morale remained unbroken and they were determined to protect and flourish in their country.
In the face of these hardships, he expressed confidence that 2024 will showcase their inner strength and fortitude.