As some states rush to evacuate their citizens studying in Plateau State following the activities of bloodthirsty men who have been on the prowl, killing unsuspecting residents, indigenes and others who are stranded, the State remains under tension as attacks have continued.
Recall that Plateau State was recently plunged into unusual security crisis following the massacre of over 30 travelers who were attacked along Rukuba Road in Jos North Local Government Area of the State on August 13.
The victims, majority of whom were Fulanis, born and brought up in Ondo State, were attacked while travelling from Bauchi en-route Jos to Ikare in Ondo State.
DAILY POST reports that the incident triggered other attacks in the State as some ‘unscrupulous’ citizens embarked on what may be termed as reprisal attacks.
The security crisis has forced some schools in the State including the popular University of Jos and the Federal College of Forestry to suspend academic activities and shut down pending when normalcy returns to the State.
The crisis grew worse on Wednesday following the report of about 35 persons who were slaughtered in Yelwa Zangam community, Jos North Local Government Area of the State by armed men suspected to be bandits.
The assailants were said to have disabled the bridge leading to the community, preventing any access by security agencies before launching the unfortunate assault.
Apparently rattled by the skirmishes around the university and the continued flares of tension and threats of reprisals, many states in the country have rushed in to evacuate their citizens to avoid being slaughtered by gunmen said to be on the prowl in the state.
It would be recalled that the UniJos Chapters of ASUU, and the Students’ Union Government, SUG, had recently raised the alarm over the continuous killings of students of the University by hoodlums suspected to be bandits.
At least, eight states including Benue, Enugu, Abia, Ogun, Oyo, Kogi, Kwara and Gombe have successfully evacuated their students from Plateau over the continued reprisal attacks.
Some stakeholders who spoke with DAILY POST on the implications of the evacuation, said the move would have negative effects on the mental health of the affected students.
A psychologist, Dr Torwe Ngunan who spoke with our correspondent from Benue State, said, “the shock, the emotional stress that those students went through even before they were evacuated is enough to keep them depressed.
“Some of these students were eyewitness to the killings. They will have difficulties trying to reason properly at least for sometime due to the memory. Right now, they need to be engaged in some social activities so that they can put off some of the horrible memories”.
In the same vein, a lecture in the Faculty of Social Science, University of Abuja, Dr Olawole Michael, lamented the disruption of academic activities in the affected institutions.
“Definitely it will affect both the students and the school. To think that after all the setbacks in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic, students are still forced to go home because of security crisis is not good for the ears.
“Be assured that most of the students that were evacuated will not return to the school. That will affect the institution also. No parent will allow his child to go to school in a place where he or she would not be safe,” he said.
DAILY POST’s finding reveals that despite the closing of the institutions, some students particularly from the Southern parts of the country are still stranded in Jos city as fear of attack continues to mount.
But the spokesman of the Plateau State Police Command, ASP Ubah Gabriel Ogaba, in a chat with DAILY POST on Friday, said security has been beefed up in all areas witnessing unrest.
According to him, prior to the evacuation of students from the State, security agencies were on ground to ensure that they were not affected by the mayhem unleashed by the assailants.
“I don’t think there are still students left in the hostels. Many states have evacuated their citizens, some may not publish it in the media but they have.
“Even before the evacuations, we had security everywhere in the state to ensure safety of residents.”
However, Plateau State House of Assembly on Friday gave Governor Simon Lalong two weeks ultimatum to take action on the prevailing security situation and restore peace in the State.
This was disclosed by the Chairman, House Committee on Information and member representing Pankshin North, Hon. Dasun Peter, during a world press conference by the State Assembly, in Jos, the State Capital.