From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong on Tuesday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the recent security situation in the state, vowing to prosecute perpetrators of crisis in the state.
In the same vein, he has blamed foreign elements, who are non-residents of the state, for instigating reprisal attacks in Plateau over recent bloody skirmishes.
Governor Lalong disclosed this while speaking to State House Correspondents, after a meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
‘Again, I want to appeal to people because most of those who are outside the state calling for reprisal are not people from Plateau State. I am yet to see one cleric coming out to say I want reprisal. I have set up an interreligious committee, which comprises all top religious leaders in Plateau State, both Muslims and Christians and when things like this happen, they address it,’ he said.
‘So, for people to call from outside the state for reprisal, I say no because they are crying more than the bereaved; leave us. We are handling our issues, we are doing reconciliation and consultations don’t call for reprisal attacks. If you want to do a reprisal, you are on your own. We have agreed with the religious leaders and all of them are doing their best, they are cooperating with the state and we are also doing our best,’ he said.
Governor Lalong announced that the security situation in the state had greatly improved, adding that the curfew imposed on troubled areas would be further relaxed very soon.
‘What we are doing is to ensure that there is proper investigation and prosecution. You know, both the soldiers and police are controlled by the Presidency and right now they are diligently working in my state on a daily basis.
‘That is why on the first day, I announced a 24-hour curfew but I kept on relaxing it. By the grace of even this week, the curfew would further be relaxed, so that people can carry out their normal activities. We are the only state that has a peacebuilding agency set up by the state government and it is the only state that for now has established an interreligious council. These are all the efforts that we have done and within a short time, peace has returned to Plateau State.’
The governor said President Buhari promised him that support would be given to victims of the recent clashes in the state, currently displaced.
‘I also made a request to the president about relief materials and also still re-echoed the issue of resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). We have a lot of IDPs in my state, we have a lot on our hands already and when such happens, you expect the state to seek support for relief materials. We are doing our best, but the President said he will talk to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs so that attention would be given to those who are displaced as a result of this crisis.
‘For over six years now we have been enjoying peace in Plateau State, so anybody that wants to take Plateau back to those old days of the crisis, it is not only me as governor but all Plateau people will resist that. They have said ‘we don’t want to go back to crisis again, we are enjoying the peace and we want to continue to enjoy our peace,’ the governor added.
He said the Plateau State Government had since given support to survivors of the skirmish that happened in the state on Saturday, August 14, when over 20 travellers from Ondo State were killed.
‘When this happened, we had to go to Ondo but in so many places that are unusual, but we took all of them that we rescued and treated and went there with a powerful team led by the deputy governor of Plateau State with all religious leaders to Ondo to sympathise with the state. Their governor also said they will also send a team to come and appreciate what we have done.
‘The remaining things we need to do are to continue with reconciliation and dialogue. We are the only state that has a peacebuilding agency set up by the state government and it is the only state that for now has established an interreligious committee.
‘These are the things we did for peace to return within a short period of time but that does not mean that we are sleeping on fishing out the perpetrators of these criminal acts,’ he said.
The governor explained that the state was already preparing to host its first economic summit, when the recent crisis broke out, adding that the state is determined to host the summit, so as to confirm that peace has returned to the state.
‘While this was happening, we were also very prepared for the first economic summit in Plateau State and we are still ready for that so that people will not be discouraged from coming to Plateau.
‘If the reason for somebody is to discourage people from investing in Plateau State, we will do our best to counter that and so, we are going ahead with our economic summit while we also go ahead with consultations and harmonisation of ideas on daily basis, in order to ensure that we have security on the Plateau,’ he stated.
The post Plateau killings: Lalong briefs Buhari, vows to prosecute perpetrators of crisis appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.