Plateau Governor Simon Lalong has decried the incessant pillaging of farmlands by marauding herdsmen, alleging that the acts were meant to plunge the agrarian state back into era of ethno-religious violence.
Mr Lalong said this at the opening of the 2021 Inter Brigades Warrant Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers Competition on Monday in Jos.
The competition was organised by the 3 Division of the Nigerian Army, Rukuba, near Jos.
Represented by Prof. Danladi Atu, the Secretary to the State Government, the governor announced that he has directed security agencies to be ruthless in dealing with criminals unleashing mayhem in the state.
Mr Lalong vowed to deal with criminals perpetrating killings and wanton destruction of farmlands and houses in the state.
The governor assured citizens of the state that his administration would do everything within its powers to end criminality.
“The reported killings in Bassa, Barikin Ladi, Riyom and Jos North Local Government Areas have become worrisome and persistent, even up till yesterday where many houses were destroyed and some people killed.
“We have witnessed the willful and carefully planned destruction of crops in some areas of the state by criminals.
“These acts of provocation are no doubt aimed at taking us back to the days of violence and bloodshed. Also, the action of these criminals is nothing but food terrorism that wants to starve our people at all cost.
“This must stop and I have directed the security agencies to be ruthless with these criminals.
“Let me assure the citizens that our administration will never fold its arms to see a few criminals take this state back to those dark days of pain and sorrow.
“We are working with the security agencies to fish out those responsible and ensure that they are punished.
“No matter how long it takes and how far they run or hide, they will be identified, arrested and prosecuted to serve as deterrence to others,” Mr Lalong assured.
The orgy of attacks has been on the increase lately.
In June, unidentified gunmen opened fire at a local drinking joint, killing no fewer than 10 persons, police said.
The attackers are yet to be apprehended.
Since then, there have been cases of invasion of farmlands across the state by nomadic pastoralists.
On Monday, a community based group in Bassa Local Government Area of the state, Iregwe Development Association claimed unknown gunmen killed seven persons, razed 250 houses and destroyed over 40 farmlandsin the Mango chiefdom in a Saturday night attack.