The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has announced a mourning period of seven days for the victims of killings in Plateau State and other parts of the country.
During the seven-day period, the party’s flags in its offices will be flown at half-mast in honour of those who lost their lives, a statement by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Wednesday said.
Beyond declaring a mourning period, the opposition party wants residents of Plateau to demand justice, defend their rights and sue the Federal Government.
“The PDP urges the people of Plateau State to exercise their rights as global citizens, work with other public-spirited Nigerians and groups and take President Muhammadu Buhari and his government to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague for acting helpless in the face of continuous mass killings in our country,” it said.
The decision is in reaction to the weekend attack by suspected herdsmen on villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State in which at least 100 people were killed.
In addition to the killings, over 50 houses were set ablaze and many who survived the attack fled the communities, leading to humanitarian challenges.
Already, the Plateau State Government has called on the Federal Government to provide N10 billion for a Victims Support Fund.
The latest in the wave of killings that have affected several states in the country since January 1, 2018, when suspected herdsmen attacked villages in Benue State killing 73 people have attracted criticism for the Federal Government.
It has also sparked fresh calls for President Muhammadu Buhari, who lamented that life was being cheapened in the country after the Plateau attacks, to take decisive action and halt the bloodshed.
There have also been accusations of bias on the part of the security agencies with a former Minister of Defence, Lieutenant General Theophilus Danjuma accusing the military of bias earlier this year.
The PDP, however, suggested that such accusations won’t come up of it was in power.
It said, “The PDP firmly holds that the life of every Nigerian is sacred. All Nigerians must be protected whether they are Birom, Basange, Igbira, Tiv, Idoma, Hausa, Igbo, Fulani, Gbagyi, Yoruba or from any other tribe whatsoever.
“The fundamental duty of government all over the world is the protection of lives and Nigerians can no longer continue to fold their hands while compatriots are being daily hacked down by marauders.”
The Federal Government and the Presidency have repeatedly denied allegations of bias against it.
During his condolence visit to Plateau on Tuesday, President Buhari told residents of the state that “there is some injustice” in allegations that he is silent over the killings because he is Fulani.
He assured the people that the necessary steps would be taken to protect them and bring those behind the brutal attacks to justice.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) reacted to the killings on Wednesday morning, demanding the arrest and prosecution of those responsible.
“We call on security agencies to spare no efforts in ensuring the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators and in stemming the occurrence of such violence in all parts of the country,” the APC said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi.
The party appealed to religious and community leaders “to demonstrate true leadership even in the face of this terrible challenge by appealing to those affected not to take the laws into their hands and avoid utterances and actions that can provoke reprisal”.
Concerns over reprisals by victims of the attack and the possible breakdown of law and order had led the Plateau State Government to impose a curfew on Barkin Ladi and two neighbouring LGAs – Jos-North and Riyom – on Sunday.