The looting and destruction of public and private property in Plateau State, has elicited condemnation by a coalition of 23 civil society groups, which has also called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of those found culpable.
The group, under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Societies for Peace and Human Rights (COCIPAH), insisted that the development was strange to Plateau State, which it noted, was known for peace and good conduct.
The coalition also applauded the special military taskforce responsible for internal security in the state, Operation Safe Haven OPSH), for what it claimed was its professional conduct in handling the situation without recording casualties.
According to the group, the state had, for sometime now, not recorded any human rights abuse from military personnel in the state, commended the military outfit for the feat.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the recent mass looting and stealing of both government and private properties in some parts of Nigeria, particularly in Jos, Plateau State and call on law enforcement agencies to swing into action with a view to arresting the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity.
“Despite some of the shortcomings of our government to the plight of its citizens, nobody has the justification to take laws into his or her hands.
“We wish to appreciate the Nigeria Military over the restraint and show of professionalism it exhibited during and after the violent uprising in the country.
“This approach went a along way in managing the conflict and positioning our army as a democratically infused one.
“We want to particularly commend Operation Safe Haven, the special military taskforce setup to keep peace in Plateau, Southern Kaduna and Bauchi states,for the exceptional role they played in deescalating the violent conflict in Jos,” the group said.
It added: “We were particularly worried about Jos because it is a melting point and any conflict that escalates in the state may have national consequence because of its religious and ethnic sensitivities.
“But we are pleased with the professionalism exhibited by Operation Safe Haven and other security agencies in handling the situation.
“At a point before the military came out the hoodlums and looters were operating with impunity, stealing and destroying people’s private properties unchallenged until Operation Safe Haven stepped in and saved the situation.
“They made several arrests and recovered exhibits of high magnitude.This singular act went a long way in deterring the looters who were operating initially as if there is no law in Nigeria.
“During the uprising OPSH intensified civil engagements with CSOs and stakeholders. This approach worked effectively in deescalating the conflict. As civil society organisations, we commend them for this show of competence.”