A Call on International Bodies to Investigate Jos Violence

It is sad that yet another dastardly orgy of violence erupted in the erstwhile peaceful city of Jos, Plateau State causing the death of hundreds of Nigerians. Clashes between Christian and Muslim, indigenes and non-indigenes mobs reignited in Jos on Sunday morning, January 17, 2010. An exact toll is not known but overall more than one thousand (1000) people are thought to have died

  and recent reports expose more massacres. Credible reports have it that the three days of clashes have forced at least 40,000 people from their homes. This is indeed a very negative development for the country’s socio-economic and political progress.

  As we are aware, such deadly outbursts always erroneously given religious and ethnic colouration for its occurrence has held sway in many other parts of the country before now. It could be recalled that violence of such nature had erupted in Jos from April 1994 to January 17, 2010, with at least 65 communal, religious, ethnic and political violence have been recorded.

Also states like Kano, Kaduna, Borno, Benue, Osun, Bauchi, Delta, Anambra, Lagos and other parts of the country had not been left out in the senseless carnage. On each occasion, governments at all levels set up investigative panels, but without identifying perpetrators to talk less of punishing them.

The Plateau State government had concluded its probe of the 2008 crisis over a local government Chairmanship tussle which claimed many lives. But up to date, no one person or group has been held accountable for the massacre and waste of precious human lives. The Federal Government probe of the same sad event is ongoing, but do we expect any different result from the other committees set up for the same purpose?

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) believes that the recent violence in the Home of Peace and Tourism (as Plateau is known for) is by no way tribal or religious but has a political content motivated by selfish Politicians who want to have their ways by all means using religion and ethnic sentiments or settlers versus indigene notion.

Apart from the huge death tolls occasioned by this crisis, survivors have been exposed to unimaginable sufferings and human rights violent violations and probably untimely death. Children, Women and other vulnerable persons are often exposed to excruciating life of misery and shock.

We therefore demand and urge the federal and state governments to wake up from their slumber and rise to their primary responsibility of protecting the people of Nigeria. 

We hereby demand:

  1. For an independent international human rights groups to investigate the violence and suggest way forward, this is because of lack of confidence of the citizens about the sincerity of government to get an unbiased report on this matter.

  2. That all the previous reports of inquiries set up to investigate the various crises be made public and those behind the violence that have wasted thousands of innocent lives and properties be made to face the law

  3. That the government of Plateau state must realize that the trend of discrimination against non-indigenes in its territory was a time-bomb that must not be allowed to explode again. It should have the responsibility to protect all the people living in the state, be they Indigenes/Settlers or visitors irrespective of the religious believe and ethnic background.

  4. That the Federal government should ensure that its security forces use restraint and comply with international standards on the use of force in responding to the latest deadly outbreak of inter-communal violence in the city of Jos

5. That those religious, ethnic or tribal leaders in the habit of using inciting languages in addressing sensitive issues should desist henceforth

6. That the government should also investigate and prosecute those responsible for the killing of at least over one thousand (1000) people during the violence

7. That the media must be seen to give a balanced and unbiased report to avoid the escalation of further crisis

8. That we call for the banning of religious preaching of both Christian and Islamic doctrines in public places to avoid public disorder

9. That government must compensate all the victims who lost their family members and properties as a result of this calamity

10. That the failure of those in leadership position of this great nation have failed to provide good governance and guarantee the fundamental human rights.

11. That we would hold the political elites accountable for their failure to sustain our hard-earned democracy as a result of their corruption, carelessness and insensitivity towards the suffering Nigerians.

12. That it is also an indictment on the Government officials that the poor masses are calling on the military to rise to the task of protecting them.

13. That Nigerians must realize that we need to live together in peace, respect one another and resist the ruling class manipulation of our lives by using religion, ethic, zonal sentiments to cover up their failure to provide quality and accountable leadership.


  Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani
  Executive Director
  Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre
  Abuja 

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