Senator Gyang Dantong might have died of exhaustion, a survivor of Sunday’s attack on participants at a mass burial in Matse, Jos, Mr. Simon Mwadkon, said on Monday.
Mwadkon, a member of the House of Representatives, who narrated how the Senator died to Governor Jonah Jang in Jos, said gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, “started shooting, (at the burial), forcing everyone to abandon the corpses and scurry to safety.”
According to Mwadkon , while running for dear lives, Dantong; the Majority Leader in the state House of Assembly, Gyang Fulani; and Mwadkon himself were said to have slumped.
But while Mwadkom was revived, both the Senator and the state lawmaker died.
He narrated, “We were at the burial ground preparing to bury the victims of a massive attack on the villages when the gunmen started shooting, forcing everyone to abandon the corpses and scurry to safety.
“Everyone was racing away, but the Senator slumped first and there was a rush to take him.”
The federal lawmaker described the persistent killings in an area under a state of emergency imposed by the Federal Government as “very outrageous and embarrassing.’
He said that hundreds of villagers had been killed in the past few months, stressing that in some cases, whole villages were wiped out in such attacks.
Mwadkon however called on the Federal Government to protect the villagers as they remain vulnerable to attacks every day.
Jang had reportedly asked Mwadkon to “tell the world exactly what happened”, saying that God spared his life to enable him to relay what had happened.
Jang said that Dantong and Fulani lived exemplary lives.
“I have already visited the families of the deceased and have reminded them that God is the comforter and will never abandon them,’’ Jang said.
The Governor said that both Dantong and Fulani sacrificed their lives for their people and declared that such a sacrifice would not go in vain.
“They will be remembered for the great sacrifice they made to their people because what happened to them could have happened to anyone. I have also asked their families never to ask God why He did it because He certainly knows why,” he said.
Commander of the Special Task Force in Jos, Maj.-Gen. Henry Ayoola, also on Monday confirmed at a press briefing that both Dantong and Fulani died in a stampede when they were attacked at a mass burial in Barkin Ladi.
He said that the duo slumped and could not be revived. Ayoola said the legislators were not shot dead as believed.
Sequel to weekend’s bloody attacks in Plateau State, President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday held an emergency meeting with security chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
But none of the participants at the meeting spoke to journalists after the session.
When approached, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, referred journalists to the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
Dasuki in turn referred journalists back to Petinrin for comment.
“Is that what the CDS said? That I am the one to talk? Ok. I am now saying ‘go back to the CDS.’”
When told that the CDS had left the State House, Dasuki kept mum and forced his way into his waiting car with the aid of his security detail.
While making his way into the car, a journalist asked for the latest on the killing of the lawmakers to which the NSA responded, “Is that what happened? No, that was not what happened.” And his driver sped off.
But our correspondent learnt that the President at the meeting expressed his displeasure at the escalating violence in Jos. He was said to have asked the security chiefs to ensure that the situation was brought under control.
Those who attended the meeting included, Dasuki, Petinrin; Minister of State, Defence, Mrs. Olusola Obada; Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade; Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro; Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ola Ibrahim; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Umar; and the Director-General, State Security Service, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong.
Meanwhile, the northern umbrella body, Arewa Consultative Forum, in Kaduna on Monday asked the Federal Government and the various security agencies to fish out and punish the perpetrators of the Sunday killing of two lawmakers in Plateau State to serve as a deterrent to others.
The ACF in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani, said, “The news of the killing of innocent people in some villages in Barki Ladi of Plateau state, Nigeria, has come to the Arewa Consultative Forum with great shock.
“Tremendous shock not only because the killings included women and children, but also because they have occurred just after the recent reconciliatory meetings between the warring factions, as well as after the recent visit to Plateau State by the new National Security Adviser in continuation of his search for how best to address the security challenges across the country.
“More depressing has been the killing of Senator Dantong and the Majority Leader of Plateau State House of Assembly as well as the wounding of a member of the House of Reps.
“It is, therefore, with heavy heart that ACF wishes to call on all those who derive pleasure in violent killing of neighbours as their own ways of addressing grievances to stop such drift to the Stone Age when communal violence was the deed in fashion.”
It added, “ACF also calls on the governments and security agencies to prosecute perpetrators of such heinous crimes against humanity as a deterrent for future occurrences.”