Amnesty committee visits Jos as victims seek compensation

Jos crisis

The community says that no amount of compensation will heal the wounds.

The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in Northern Nigeria, Kabiru Turaki, has assured victims of the Plateau State crisis that the Federal Government has not abandoned them, despite almost a decade of unrest.

Mr. Turaki gave this assurance in Jos on Thursday when his committee went on an assessment tour of areas in the state affected by the unrest. The minister urged victims of the crisis to forgive and forget the past so as to forge ahead towards social and economic transformation.

According to Mr. Turaki, the Amnesty Committee has been mandated to meet and discuss directly with victims of the unrest and report back to the presidency for possible actions. He called on the people of Plateau State to be passionate in their deliberations, to allow for an open discussion geared toward resolving the unrest.

Mr. Turaki said no amount of compensation would heal the wounds caused by the Plateau crisis.

“We are not here to talk about compensation because of the devastating effect the unrest has caused,” he said.

However, all representatives of communities, religious and ethnic groups, the civil society among others, demanded for compensation

from government to cushion effect of the crisis on its victims.

Welcoming the committee, the Senator representing Plateau North at the National Assembly, Gyang Pwajok, urged the committee not to engage in a wasteful venture as several committees of inquires have been sent in the past to resolve the Plateau crisis with their reports remaining on paper without any meaningful implementation of its findings and resolutions.

The lawmaker expressed his disappointment at the fact that Plateau citizens who suffered both human and material loses during the 2011 post-election violence were not duly compensated.

In his speech to the committee at his palace, the Gbong Gwom Jos, Gyang Buba, attributed the prolonged crisis to the non-accordance

of respect to indigenes by settlers; and the failure, by past judicial committees, to punish identified culprits and perpetrators of the crisis.

Mr. Buba faulted the way security operatives handled the crisis, saying their action showed a lack of formal training on how to put down riots.

“Security reform is not just in changing the colours of uniforms,” Mr Buba said.

He also accused clerics of using their positions wrongly, saying that some clerics fuel the unrest through provocative preaching both in churches and mosques.

“Clerics are using religious blankets to cover their ulterior motives; pastors and imams use both the church and the mosques in preaching evil and they are allowed to go unpunished. You cannot discipline a pastor or an imam who talks recklessly. I don’t think it’s right,” he said

Mr. Buba noted that traditional institutions were no longer being accorded the respect they deserve leading to the continuous fracas between ethnic groups. .

“There must be respect for culture and tradition and the institutions given its right place to adjudicate,” he said.

The Amnesty Committee had on Wednesday night, dialogued with representatives of the various communities including, Berom, Hausa, Fulani, and Yoruba. Those who spoke at the gathering, sought compensation from the Federal Government to enable their people start lives afresh, claiming that most have lost their entire life savings.

The spokesman for the Hausa community, who also spoke on-behalf of the Muslim community in the state, Sani Muazu said Muslims in the state were being linked with Boko Haram related attacks in the state adding that most Muslims have fallen prey to reprisal attacks in the state on allegations that they were masterminds of the original attacks.

While in Plateau State, the committee visited the affected areas including religious and worship centers, corporate organizations and government institutions which have been affected by the unrest.

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