Photo: Gov Lalong
A group, Plateau Our Heritage (POH) has accused Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, of paying lip service to the issues of insecurity in the state.
POH made its position known in a statement in Jos on Thursday signed by its chairmam ,Hon Alex Kwapnoe and secretary, Friday Bako.
It stated that the position of the group stemmed from recent attacks on citizens of Plateau State, which culminated in several deaths in parts of the state, as well as the destruction of farmlands by suspected herdsmen.
“The POH wishes to disagree with the Plateau State government in particular over the adoption of what can be termed a”lip service” on issues of security.
“This is because “condemning heinous crimes” against the people calls for matching words with action, which will give the communities confidence to the effect that the authorities are on ground and are caring enough.
“This is the main responsibility of government and, by the way, what is the ‘Operation Rainbow’ state-owned security outfit team doing? Just consuming tax payers’ money”? The group queried.
According to the group, “The recurring effects of social disorder in communities in Plateau State as a result of banditry has become a major concern for the peaceful people of the state and we in the Plateau Our Heritage are worried over this.
“We sympathize with our people who have for several years now, been at the receiving end and urge them to still show restraint and engage other lawful acts to drive home their points before the authorities bothering on its inaction, which is causing the frustration being harboured and is unacceptable.
“The POH is particularly pained by the protest that engulfed Riyom LGA, which lasted for the better part of yesterday, thereby making social, economic and even government activities to shut down.
“This is, to say the least, not the way to go and we are calling on the citizens to continue to exercise restraint at any slightest provocation and rather engage peaceful means in expressing their grievances, instead of attacks or causing panic among innocent passersby, as Plateau people are known for their peaceful disposition.
“We, at this trying moment wish to call on the state and federal governments to wake up to their responsibilities and act without further delay to engage the people in any meaningful way to chart a way forward to peaceful coexistence among the people.
“We note with dismay, the wanton destruction to lives and properties that is being experienced in communities of Barkin Ladi, Jos South, Riyom and Bassa LGAs.
“This is in addition to the mowing down of yet-to-be harvested crops in recent times. We wish to warn with a loud voice that this is wicked, callous, insensitive and unacceptable. The forceful attempt to grap our God given heritage would sure receive resistance in equal measure”.
POH further said it was disturbed that with the activities of bandits and kidnappers, large portions of lands have been left uncultivated for fear of attacks, yet for the few ones that have been cultivated, the crops were reportedly shredded before maturity.
The group, therefore, suggested that government should be proactive in its approach to these recurring issues, engage with the communities on more frequent bases, listen to their plights and change its modus operandi in tackling the challenges as that would douse the festering tension which usually gives way to frustration amongst peace-loving inhabitants.
“Government is also advised to identify the reasons for vulnerability, identify the extent of the human and material damage/losses; including farmlands, vocations etc, with a view to compensating those worst hit by these attacks in order to ameliorate their lives and calm frayed nerves, as that will serve as a tonic to open discussions on the way forward,” the group added.