The Plateau State government has said persons protesting the Barkin-ladi killings that claimed over 86 lives invaded the Government House on Wednesday and in the process destroyed public property worth millions of naira.
A statement by the director of press and public affairs, Emmanuel Nanle, Wednesday night sent to journalists in Jos, and obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, Thursday morning, said the incident is regrettable.
It was learnt that the protesters overpowered security operatives at the gate, gained entrance and shattered the glasses of buildings and vehicles parked on the premises even as staffers ran away from the rampaging crowd.
“Government has identified the sponsors of this protest which resulted in the destruction of properties and will certainly bring them to account for their unpatriotic conduct,” the statement said.
“Government will not rest on its oars in fishing out the perpetrators, it would not fold its hands and watch disgruntled citizens throw the state into a state of anarchy and chaos under the guise of mourning,” it added.
It said while the government and its officials at the state and federal level were looking for solutions to the perennial violence in the state, it was sad that the protesters did not appreciate such efforts.
“What is more worrisome about the protest is that protesters were not willing to listen to the voice of reason in allowing the Governor attend to visiting Senate President, Distinguished Senator Bukola Saraki and the former President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR who were on a condolence visit to the state ahead of his addressing them,” it said.
It added that the government had already identified the sponsors of the attack on the government abode and would act appropriately.
“The conveners of the protest under the joint auspices of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Northern Zone of Plateau State, the Youth Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), Plateau State and Bazata Gospel Team allowed the protest to be hijacked by hoodlums who took advantage of the procession led by these organisations, to destroy Government properties and vehicles of civil servants and visitors to the Government House running into millions of naira.
“The governor finds it regrettable even while government has chosen to recognise the rights of its citizens to peacefully assemble and protest within the confines of the law,” the statement added.
Apart from Messrs Saraki and Obasanjo, the president, Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo have already visited the embattled state and called for calm even as they vowed that the perpetrators, suspected to be herdsmen, would be brought to justice.
Meanwhile, troops on Wednesday said three suspects have been arrested: two herdsmen and a Birom native.