Plateau Stakeholders holds Emergency Meeting over insecurity; Vows to Unite against return of violence.
Towards finding a lasting solution to the recent attacks that led to the the loss of lives and properties in some parts of Plateau State, Governor Simon Bako Lalong has summoned an emergency security stakeholders meeting to examine the ways of restoring normalcy and permanent peace to the State.
Governor Lalong while addressing the meeting at the Government House Little Rayfield Jos, said despite the huge investments that have been made in peace building and crime fighting, Plateau is again confronted with the activities of criminals who are bent on reversing the gains made in the last six years.
He said in recent weeks and months, the State has witnessed isolated cases of attacks on some communities in Jos North; Riyom LGA; Bassa LGA; Barkin Ladi and Jos South Local Government Areas.
“In most of these attacks, farmers as well as herders were either killed or cattle and farm crops destroyed. Houses were also burnt down and people rendered homeless. The human loses due to the destruction is very worrisome as it continues to fuel the endless circle of attacks and counter attacks”. He said.
The Governor regretted that while these efforts were ongoing to bring those behind the unfortunate attacks to justice, another unfortunate breach of peace along Rukuba road on Saturday 14th August 2021 where a convoy of five buses with passengers returning from a religious festival in Bauchi State heading to Ondo State were attacked.
This act he said was most despicable which brought about the imposition of 24-hour curfew on Jos North Local Government Area in addition to the dusk to dawn curfew in Bassa and Jos South LGAs to curtail total breakdown of law and order.
Lalong charged the stakeholders including Elders, past and present political office holders, representatives of CAN and JNI, PIDAN, women and youth groups as well as traditional rulers to brainstorm honestly and come up with valuable suggestions as to what can be done to settle once and for all, the cycle of violence that was almost being forgotten before the recent ugly developments.
The meeting thereafter went into a closed door session where the stakeholders arrived on various suggestions. These include:
- Prompt arrest and decisive punishment of suspected perpetrators of attacks through diligent prosecution.
- Strengthening of Community Policing structures for intelligence gathering and early warning pending the approval of State Policing.
- Payment of compensation to victims of various crises and rehabilitation of displaced persons.
- Continous dialogue and engagement among various communities and conflict groups through the facilitation of the Peace Building Agency and the State Inter-religous Council.
- More involvement of the traditional rulers in governance by defined constitutional roles.
- Arrest and prosecution of those making inflammatory statements and circulating fake news and hate content.
- Decisive action against religious, community and traditional leaders preaching hate or inciting people to violence.
- Cautioned against indiscriminate granting bail to persons suspected in attacks as well as the politicization of crimes.
- Appreciated the roles played by President Buhari, Governors of Ondo and Bauchi, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, CAN, JNI religious and community leaders and security agencies for their roles in calming the situation and stopping the situation from escalating.
The meeting was attended by Former Governor Jonah Jang, Chairman of the Plateau Council of Chiefs and Emirs His Majesty the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, National and State Assembly Members, and religious leaders.
Shortly after the stakeholders meeting, the State Security Council went into a session to review the security situation.