The Irigwe Development Association, an ethnic group in Plateau on Monday denounced allegations that its people were responsible for the killing of 22 commuters on Rukuba Road, Jos on Aug. 14.
President of the association, Robert Dodo, denounced the allegation at a news conference it organised in collaboration with an NGO in Abuja.
Dodo said on the said day, Irigwe people were mourning their losses and were in a mass burial procession, an aftermath of an attack on the community by gunmen.
He said the community had earlier applied and obtained permission from the police in Jos, which even provided escorts for the burial procession.
He added that it was the police escorts in the procession that advised the mourners not to use the Rukuba Road route.
“As law-abiding people, the Irigwe funeral procession used an alternative route to arrive at the destination at Miago.
“May we make it clear that our mourners and the funeral procession did not pass through Rukuba Road.
“We did not have any contact whatsoever with those travelers who were unfortunately killed,” he said.
Dodo stressed that the narrative that the Rukuba Road attack was carried out by Irigwe youths and the mourners was false, evil, and malicious.
Dodo also denounced media reports that Irigwe people signed a peace accord with herdsmen as untrue.
He said Irigwe people had no problem with peace-loving herdsmen, saying both groups attended meetings with the state government with the hope of putting an end to killings in the state.
The Programme Coordinator of the NGO, Mark Lipdo, said the danger was inherent in labeling lrigwe people or Plateau people as perpetrators of killings without conclusive investigation or evidence.
He said the NGO had observed the emergence of threats issued in various quarters about the plans of attacks and reports of inﬂux of strangers that had made Irigwe people vulnerable.
“We have also observed with great concern, increased security reports of impending attacks in various parts of the state. This should not be allowed to continue.
“Rather than allowing conﬂict merchants and trouble makers to take advantage of situations like this, the NGO is calling for a united stand in response to criminality.
“We are calling on the government to expedite action to ensure that criminals who continued to attack our communities, kidnap, maim and kill people are apprehended and brought to justice,’’ he said.