NUJ bus burnt in the attack.
By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos – On Thursday 28th April, the Senator representing Plateau South in the National Assembly, Professor Nora Dadu’ut was in Namu, Qua’an Pan local government area of Plateau State to commission a project.
Interesting, the project, an ICT Centre/E-library is such that has a direct positive impact on the people because there is no such facility in Qua’an Pan and residents risk bad roads and insecurity in neighbouring local government areas, Jos the State capital or Lafia in Nasarawa State to meet basic educational needs like registration for examinations.
The Senator as a part of her constituency project facilitated the building and furnishing of the ICT hub for the people but at the time of commissioning, irate youths who were allegedly protesting the arrest of some suspected gunrunners in the community by security agents almost killed the Senator, her husband, close family members, aides, prominent traditional rulers in the Southern zone, officials of the Universal Basic Education, UBEC, and State government officials, as well as some journalists who went to the Namu village, for the event.
The mob took over the stretch of the road leading to Lafia and Jos, mounted multiple roadblocks, and took the people and other road users, hostage, for over three hours.
While some drivers escaped with their vehicles, the bus belonging to the Plateau State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and the pilot vehicle in her entourage of the Senator were vandalized and razed.
The presence of security could not deter the mob who were bent on causing bodily harm to the people but the Senator and husband were rescued and whisked away from the scene by security personnel.
Although the journalists all escaped unhurt, the Union’s Hummer bus donated during the Jonah Jang administration and other personal effects of the victims cost millions of Naira were lost.
The State Council of the Union through the Chairman, Paul Jatau has expressed displeasure over the development saying journalists are not the problem hence there is no justification for targeting their lives.
Jatau said, “The NUJ condemns the unwarranted and unprovoked attack on its members who were there to serve the society. We call on security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act and punish them accordingly.”
While thanking God for the safety of his members, he lamented, “The situation has robbed the Union of a vehicle to carry out its activities.”
However, the State Governor, Simon Lalong expressed outrage at the development and directed security agencies to “conduct a thorough investigation and ensure the culprits are fished out and brought to justice.”
The Senator, through her Senior Legislative Aide, Mrs. Rufina Gurumnyen visited the State Council of the NUJ and commiserate with the Union over the incident saying, “I wish to express my deep regret to the entire Nigerian Union of Journalists, Plateau State Chapter over the unfortunate incident that occurred in Namu on the 28th of April, 2022 which led to the loss of your Bus.
“While we thank God for sparing us all from physical harm, I pray that He heals us all from the emotional trauma we experienced. Furthermore, I pray that the perpetrators will have a change of heart and desist from such barbaric behavior which disturbs the peace we all desire…”
Meanwhile, the Pan Development Association, the umbrella body of the people in Qua’an Pan has apologized to the NUJ for the activities of “hoodlums who also looted shops on that day.”
Its National President, Naankang Garba lamented the level of banditry and kidnapping in the area saying, “they are overwhelming,” stressing that Namu shares boundaries with two States, hence the need for efforts to be intensified to rid the area of criminally minded people.
Among the affected were the correspondents of NAN, Vanguard, Sun, Tribune, Daily Independent, The Nation, Leadership, New Telegraph, Nigerian Pilot, Daily Times newspapers, the reporter and cameraman of SilverBird Television, and that of the State-owned PRTVC as well as the driver of the vehicle.