The immediate younger brother of the late senator representing Plateau North, Gyang Dantong Rwang Dantong, has said his elder brother remained committed to ensuring lasting peace was restored to Plateau North constituency and was a bridge builder between the Fulanis and Beroms.
The younger Dantong, who spoke with LEADERSHIP in Jos, the Plateau State capital, yesterday on phone said the demise of Senator Dantong has left a big vacuum that will take a long time to be filled in the entire constituency.
According to him, the late Senator Dantong was the one mediating between the Beroms and the Fulanis.
He pointed out that it was his brother’s desire to see the Beroms and the Fulanis co-exist together as before and live like brothers and sisters as they did in the olden days.
He also debunked report that his late brother died of heart attack, saying the senator and others were running away from gunshots which were being fired at them.
He said the family was shocked to hear he was dead, as he was not known to have any terminal illness and was hale and hearty before he left home for the mass burial.
Dantong further said he was mis-qouted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) calling on it to retract its story.
How Dantong died - Eyewitness
Meanwhile, a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Simon Mwadkon, who slumped along with the late Senator Dantong when gunmen attacked them during a burial ceremony on Sunday, said that the 53-year-old senator might have died of “exhaustion”. Also killed by likely exhaustion at the Masei burial ground in Bachit district of Barkin Ladi, Plateau, was the majority leader of the state House of Assembly, 54-year-old Gyang Fulani.
The two died while Mwadkon, who represents Barkin-Ladi Federal Constituency, was revived at the Barkin Ladi Hospital, according to his story.
Mwadkon spoke in Jos on Monday when Governor Jonah Jang visited him in his residence.
Narrating what transpired during the unfortunate incident, Nwadkon said, “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.”
Mwadon called on the federal government to protect the villagers as they remain vulnerable to attacks every day.
Earlier, Jang had asked Mwadkon to tell the world “exactly what happened’’, pointing out that God spared his life to enable him relay what had happened.
Mark visits Jos
Senate president David Mark, has expressed belief that with the death of Dantong and Fulani, the ceaseless and meaningless killings in Plateau State would come to an end.
The Senate president, who spoke when he paid a condolence visit to Governor Jonah Jang at Government House, Rayfield, expressed regret at the death of the two lawmakers. He described Dantong as an easy-going gentleman.
According to him, he had always held the belief that the crises in the state can only be resolved through dialogue.
“The deaths of Dantong and Fulani are unfortunate and regrettable and we only hope that with their death, the crises in the state has reached its peak and must end,” he said. “I have always said that we can resolve these crises through dialogue and I hope that those concerned will now embrace dialogue so that we can achieve lasting peace.”
Jang, who received the Senate president and his entourage, said that he had always alerted the federal government to the presence of terrorists in the state and expressed regret that his cries were not always been heeded.
From the Government House, the Senate president proceeded to the houses of Dantong and Fulani, both located in the Rayfield area of the metropolis.
He was received by the deceased’s younger brother, Rwang, and also condoled with the mother of the deceased, Chundung Dantong.
Senators Andy Ubah and Chris Ngige from Anambra State, Senator Emmanuel Bacha from Taraba State and , Victor Lar, member of the House of representatives Ndudi Elumelu from Delta State and minister of water resources Mrs. Serah Ochekpe accompanied the Senate president on the condolence visit to the state.
IGP, defence chief visit Jos
The acting inspector-general of police Mr. Mohammed Abubakar and chief of defence staff Gen. Oluseyi Pentirin, AIG Zone 4 and STF commander Major General Henry Ayoola yesterday visited Mashe village where the mass burial was conducted which led to the death of two lawmakers and several mourners last Sunday.
The IGP, CDS and other service chiefs were said to have arrived through the Yakubu Gowon Airport Heipang in Barkin Ladi LGA and went straight to the crisis area to inspect the extend of damage.
LEADERSHIP gathered that after the inspection, the security chiefs visited Jos to see Jang.
Jos killings: Jonathan, security chiefs hold crucial meeting
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday met with security chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to address the killings in Jos, Plateau State that also led to the death of Senator Dantong and Hon. Fulani, on Sunday.
Although there was no official briefing after the meeting which lasted about three hours, LEADERSHiP gathered that, at the meeting, the president engaged the security chiefs on how to apply stringent measures in the Jos crisis.
When approached to comment on the outcome of the meeting by State House correspondents, Petinrin and the national security adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), refused to speak.
Present at the meeting were Vice President Namadi Sambo, the minister of state for defence Erelu Olusola Obada, chief of army staff Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, chief of naval staff Vice-Admiral Ola Ibrahim and the chief of air staff Air Marshal Mohammed Umar.
Also present were the ministers of police affairs Caleb Olubolade and interior Mr. Abba Moro; IGP Abubakar, and the director-general, State Security Service (SSS).
FG has failed Plateau people
Members of the Plateau State House of Assembly have accused the federal government of gross failure in securing the lives and property of people.
The Assembly made this conclusion yesterday during an emergency sitting in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
The emergency sitting, which was attended by the 23 members of the Plateau State Assembly, was presided over by the deputy speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Johnbull Shekarau.
The House members, who all appeared in black dresses, observed a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for their departed colleague.
Speaking on the floor of the Assembly, Hon. Timothy Golu from Kanke constituency said, “It is obvious that the federal government has failed us in this state. The federal government took over the security of Plateau State from the state governor, but, so far, we have been experiencing more devastating attacks on our people than before.”
Speaking in the same vein, Hon Gondina Musa Sambo from Pengana Constituency called on the federal government to own up to its weakness and withdraw its soldiers from the streets of Plateau State, while Hon Sa’adat Garga of Kantana Constituency said, “The federal government and security agencies were aware of an arms deport in a Fulani settlement in Barkin Ladi LGA but refused to take action.”
Hon. Zaina Dogo of the Langatang North Constituency called on the National Assembly to summon President Jonathan to tell Nigerians and the world how he has failed to protect citizens of this country.
Plateau extends curfew
Meanwhile, Governor Jang has declared Monday and Tuesday work-free days to mourn the death of Senator Gyang Dantong representing Plateau North and the majority leader of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Gyang Fulani, and others killed along with them during a mass burial in Maseh village.
In a statement through the state commissioner for information and communication, Pastor Abraham Yiljap, the governor said the state government had extended the curfew imposed on four council areas from 7am to 12 noon.
The governor said, with the ugly incident, the federal-imposed state of emergency had reached its climax with the unfortunate death of a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a member of the Plateau State House of Assembly, amongst several other innocent citizens.
Dantong died in stampede - STF
The Special Task Force (STF) commander in Jos, Maj.-Gen. Henry Ayoola, has confirmed that Sen. Dantong died in stampede in Barkin Ladi on Sunday.
Also killed in the stampede was Gyang Fulani, majority leader in the Plateau State House of Assembly.
Addressing a news conference in Jos yesterday, Ayoola said the duo were at a burial when they were attacked, adding that, in the stampede, they slumped and could not be revived.
Ayoola said that the duo died at General Hospital, Barkin Ladi, debunking claims that they were shot dead.
He warned the populace to observe the curfew in Jos.