Plateau Crisis: You Are Not Doing Enough, Kaze Tells Gov Lalong

 

A former member of the House of Representatives, Bitrus Kaze, has said that the Governor Simon Lalong-led administration has not done enough to change the dynamics of the conflict in Plateau State and secure properly the lives of the people.

“What has happened is largely a repeat of the things we have seen in the past,” the former lawmaker said on Monday while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“People will be attacked, when they react, the actors are picked. Government comes out to condemn, condemn and condemn; sometimes, a few visits here and there in hospitals, in the villages, and end of the story. There is nothing new to me.”

 

Vote Of No Confidence

The former lawmaker who represented the people of Jos South/East Federal Constituency in the National Assembly between 2011 and 2015, argued that there is more to governance than has been offered by the present administration.

“When I say enough has not been done, I mean, how many people, how many assailants – whether herdsman or gunmen, whether marauders or miscreants; how many have the state government arrested in the last six years?

“How many assailants have the state government prosecuted and even if they have not prosecuted, how many have they made public to say that we arrested A, B, C, D in X, Y, Z places; how many?” the rather emotional lawmaker questioned.

In his view, a typical Plateau indigene would want to know why the governor seemed to have sat idle when there were killings in Bokus, Barkin Ladi, Riyom, and Irigweland areas of the state.

He wondered why victims of attacks were not previously condoled and visited in the hospital, stressing that the present administration in the state has failed to live up to its promise.

“What has happened has shown that what they have said consistently, that this government is able to restore peace, has been debunked,” the statesman resolved.

As regards a two-week ultimatum issued by the State House of Assembly to the governor, asking him to take action, Kaze said it was really surprising that such a resolution was passed.

According to him, it is outrageous that the lawmakers have to ask the governor to speak, “Take care of the victims’ bills…these things are normal.”

 

‘Enough Is Relative’

Mr Kaze’s comments are an addition to several others regarding the degenerating situation in Plateau State.

One of the houses burnt during a recent attack on Yelwa Zangam community in Plateau State.

 

Recent killings in the north-central state stirred grave concerns that things could fall apart at any moment, a sad reminder of past animosities that disrupted the peace for a bit.

In a bid to see that calm is restored, the government was forced to order a curfew in several areas, some of which have since been lifted.

According to the State’s Commissioner for Information, Dan Majang, the government is doing “everything humanly possible” to see that the hostilities are brought to an end, with the perpetrators having to pay for their deeds.

Mr Majang who was also a guest on Monday on Sunrise Daily, said claims by Mr Kaze suggesting that the government is not doing enough, is only a play to the gallery.

In his viewpoint, “enough, in this case, is relative”.

The commissioner explained that through the peace-building agency, the governor has been inter-phasing with various warring communities.

“For example, with the Irigwe people, there have been (inter-phases) for up to 85 times between January and now. Government has issued out reliefs, has done so many things… has put in structures,” Mr Manjang stated, putting up a defence for the administration.

He warned against lip service when it comes to security matters, adding that matters such as the crisis in Plateau cannot be left to a few as it is an issue for every individual in the state.

While agreeing that there may be gaps in the peace-building process, the commissioner said the government is doing its best to resolve the issues at hand, and will not do so by stereotyping or apportion blames.

Plateau Attack: Gov Lalong Imposes Curfew On Three LGAs

A file photo of Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong.

 

 

 

Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong has imposed a curfew on Jos North, Bassa and Jos South Local Government Areas following Saturday’s attack on Rukuba Road in Jos North Local Government Area of the state.

Twenty-three people – who were travelling from Bauchi en-route Jos to Ikare in Ondo State – were killed in the incident. Twenty-three others were injured during the attack. While the injured are receiving treatment, 26 others were rescued unhurt.

The governor, in a statement he signed on Saturday, said the curfew became necessary to avoid an escalation of tension in the affected areas.

“In order to avoid further deterioration of the situation and to protect lives and properties of citizens, I have directed the imposition of curfew on Jos North, Bassa and Jos South Local Governments commencing 6pm to 6am from today, 14th August 2021,” the statement partly read.

“Having reviewed the reports and monitored the unfolding scenario, the Government is concerned about the persisting tensions and reported attempts by some persons to take the laws into their hands by threatening to attack individuals and private facilities, as well as public property.”

Suspects Arrested

Governor Lalong noted that so far, 20 suspects have been arrested, with security agencies conducting investigations to get to the bottom of the matter.

He explained that the curfew shall remain in place subject to further review by the State Security Council. Lalong advised residents of the state to abide by the directive to enable security personnel to maintain law and order in the affected areas and deal with those attempting to foment trouble.

RELATED: 25 Killed In Plateau Attack

“While I deeply sympathize with the families of those who lost their loved ones, and those injured in the unfortunate event, I call for calm and appeal to our citizens to avoid any action or utterances that will further inflame the situation.

“This is purely criminal conduct and should not be given any ethnic or religious colouration. Let us continue to be vigilant and be security conscious and do everything possible to sustain peace and security of the State,” the governor said.

‘Brazen And Wickedly’

Saturday’s attack has drawn condemnation from leaders across the country including President Muhammadu Buhari who described the incident as “brazen and wickedly”.

“With the evident preparedness of their attackers, it is clear this was a well-conceived and prearranged assault on a known target, location and religious persuasion of the travellers not an opportunist ambush,” presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, quoted the Nigerian leader as saying.

He also ordered security agencies to immediately swing into action and fish out the perpetrators.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on his part appealed to residents of the state not to take laws into their hands following the attack on indigenes of the state.
While he assured that the situation is under control, the Ondo leader urged the people to desist from making hasty generalisations.

Kidnapped Kaduna Students Will Be Freed Soon – Lalong

 

Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Lalong, has said that the abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization in Kaduna State will be released soon.

Lalong gave the assurance when he visited his counterpart in Nasarawa State, Governor Abdullahi Sule on Saturday.

“We are very hopeful that at the end of the day, those students will be rescued,” Governor Lalong said while assuring an improved security situation in the country.

“We are raising consciousness and making people get alert at the insecurity. We are really putting every measure and very hopeful like the military has said, that in the next few months, everything will be over.”

The governor’s remarks come shortly after the kidnapped students called for help in a disturbing video.

The abducted students were seen being beaten by their captors, as they pleaded with the government to rescue them.

They were seen huddled together and sitting on tree leaves, with gun-wielding men, some of them dressed in military uniform, keeping watch over them.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram Ambush Military Truck, Kill Unspecified Number Of Soldiers In Borno

On Thursday night, gunmen stormed the school in Kaduna State and kidnapped over 200 students.

Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong speaks to reporters in Nasarawa State on March 13, 2021.

 

Of the figure, the military rescued about 180 students with 39 others still held in captivity.

The police spokesman had confirmed the incident and said, “A combined team of police, army and other security forces are in a frantic search for the kidnapped students.

“We are combing the surrounding forests and bushes with a view to freeing the hostages. Very soon, it will be over for the bandits.”

The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security, Samuel Aruwan, also confirmed that: “An operation for the students’ rescue is underway by security personnel from the army, air force, police and DSS (secret police).”

President Muhammadu Buhari also vowed an early end to the hostage crisis.

National Livestock Plan, If Implemented, Will Solve Farmer-Herder Crisis – Lalong

Chairman of the Northern Governors' Forum, Mr Simon Lalong made an appearance on Channels Television on February 9, 2021.
Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Lalong during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on February 23, 2021.

 

Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, on Tuesday said the country would not be having a farmers-herders crisis if the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) was well implemented.

The governor said this during an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

He said the National Livestock Transformation Plan was conceived since the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and has been used partially in handling farmer-herders crisis even in Plateau State.

“When we came and we realised that what was really very prevalent was the Boko Haram issue and farmers-herdsmen issue, that was why the national livestock policy was introduced. But when we got to the period of implementation, there were a lot of problems here and there, even from some regions of the nation. Some who said they don’t want the national livestock plan or anything related to ranching because they don’t have the land,” he said.

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“At that time, if the policy was well implemented, today we would not have been talking about the farmers-herdsmen crisis because that policy was well-drafted,” he said.

Lalong, who is also the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, said some people do not care about reading the plan because they believe it is for a particular ethnic group.

“Now people don’t even care about reading it. By the time ranching and grazing is mentioned, people believe it belongs to a particular ethnic group. So we don’t even want to read what is contained in the policy to even talk about accepting it to be implemented in our various states. Now you can see the menace everywhere,” he said.

He added that he was part of those who worked on the policy and it has been useful in addressing the issue of farmers-herdsmen crisis even in Plateau State.

“The policy is still there, why don’t we go back and address this issue because it was specifically not only about grazing. It was to assist the farmers-herdsmen crisis and also empowering the farmers and also empowering herdsmen to be kept in one place in the process of implementation,” he added.

NLTP was proposed by the former minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, in 2018 and was adopted by the National Economic Council (NEC) headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

The plan allows state governments to implement whichever aspect they feel comfortable with.

Plateau Governor Simon Lalong Tests Positive For COVID-19

A file photos of Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong.

 

Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Director of Press and Publicity to the governor, Dr Makut Macham, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

He explained that the governor took the test along with members of his family while his result came out positive but that of others were negative.

Although Governor Lalong is said to be asymptomatic, he has gone into isolation while the samples of his close aides have also been collected for testing.

“As a result, the governor will henceforth work from home during the period of treatment. All state matters requiring the governor’s physical presence will be handled by the deputy governor,” the statement said.

It added, “The governor uses the opportunity to urge all citizens of Plateau State to observe all COVID-19 protocols as the pandemic is still prevalent.

“He advises citizens to apply all precautionary measures, especially during the festive period by avoiding large gatherings, using facemasks, washing hands with soap and water and adhering to personal hygiene measures.“

Northern Governors Forum Not Against Disbandment Of SARS – Lalong

Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong speaks in Kaduna on November 18, 2020.

 

The Northern Governors Forum on Wednesday said contrary to some misconceptions in some quarters, it is not against the recent scrapping of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Chairman of the forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong made the clarification in Kaduna during the inauguration of a committee on Youths and Civil Societies.

“The Northern Governors Forum is not against the disbandment of SARS as misconstrued in some quarters. We rather caution against the blanket condemnation of the police that can erode the confidence and zeal of the hardworking and honest ones in performing their duties of protecting lives and properties,” he said.

Governor Lalong also reiterated the commitment of the forum to tackling the several challenges facing the region.

For the governor, the forum will collaborate with Federal Government and security agencies to address the issues of banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, and other criminal activities.

“We must tackle the current challenges of insecurity in the region which is dominated by insurgency, kidnapping, banditry, rape, child abuse and trafficking and other conflicts.

“We shall continue to work with the Federal Government and security agencies to tackle crime and criminality. That is why we have supported a comprehensive reform of police architecture in the country,” he said.

Speaking further, Lalong said the committee has a responsibility of creating a robust and conducive environment for the youths to flourish and tackle the current security and economic challenges in the region.

The committee is headed by the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Nuhu Bamali, and has the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, and representatives of youths from the 19 northern states and FCT, religious groups, and civil societies as members.

The committee’s terms of reference include working out various ways of engaging the youths in the north at all levels, prioritize different programmes for youth development and identify and develop different platforms for youth inclusion in the governance in Nigeria and the north in particular.

 

We Are Trying To Avoid Second Wave Of #EndSARS Protest – Chairman Northern Govs Forum

Group photo of the Northern leaders during the meeting which was held on Monday in Kaduna State.

 

The Chairman of Northern Governors Forum says hands are on deck to engage Nigerian youths and avoid a second wave of #EndSARS Protest.

Simon Lalong who is also the state governor of Plateau disclosed this in an interview with Channels Television on Monday. He said the plan to avoid the reoccurrence of #EndSARS protest was agreed upon after a meeting by northern leaders including state governors, traditional leaders, and northern political leaders.

“We came out of the meeting with very useful suggestions and a communique.

“In that meeting, we all agreed to go back and continue engagement particularly addressing issues from #EndSARS because we are also trying to avoid the second wave of #EndSARS.

“We want to address some of those issues that are on ground, to prevail on people not to engage in destructions. Because the #EndSARS protest was hijacked by hoodlums which led to several destructions,” he said.

Lalong speaking further on deliberations from the meeting said although #EndSARS protests is not wrong, but was hijacked by demonstrators targeting regime change.

“Nobody is saying that initially, the protest was wrong. But the fact that it was hijacked by hoodlums to destroy public and private properties was a matter of great concern.

“What we are trying to do is to get back to the drawing board and close the communication gap between the leaders and the led. So that there will be no  #EndSARS again.

“So, what we intend to do is to provide opportunities by engaging the youths so that they will be taken off the streets,” Lalong said.

Nigerian, especially youths calling for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force began protests on October 8. The protests were held in major cities and lasted for two weeks.

Northern leaders after their meeting on Monday condemned the protests describing it as an agenda for regime change.

The governors also called for control of social media.

Plateau Governor Relaxes Curfew In Jos North, South LGAs

A file photos of Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong.

 

Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, has approved the relaxation of the curfew imposed in Jos South and Jos North Local Government Areas with effect from Wednesday.

The Director of Press and Public Affairs to the governor, Makut Macham, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.

He explained that the approval followed the assessment of the security situation in the state, and in line with the recommendation of the Plateau State Security Council.

By this directive, Macham said no movement would be allowed between the hours of 12 midnight and 6am until further notice.

“Citizens are advised to go about their lawful businesses without any fear as security agencies have been directed to ensure effective patrols and surveillance to protect lives and property.

“They have equally been directed to identify and arrest any individual or group of persons that engage in any acts of criminality including looting, arson, vandalism, and the threat to lives and property in the state,” part of the statement read.

The governor, after going round areas affected by the recent wanton acts of vandalism, arson, and destruction in the company of the Plateau State National Assembly Caucus, condemned the level of destruction of both public and private properties and the magnitude of the loss recorded.

He appealed to the youths to desist from such disgraceful acts and warned that those caught engaging in such activities would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

#EndSWAT: SARS Help Some States To Fight Insecurity – Northern Governors

 

The Northern Governors Forum has called for the reformation of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the country.

Speaking during a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja, Chairman of the Forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, said SARS operatives helped the northern region tackle insecurity in some states.

“As SARS is banned, we are now looking forward to an opinion because most of the states in the north said no,” he said.

“They want SARS because SARS help them. A lot of SARS people help them. Borno Said if not SARS, WE would not have been surviving today, Niger and almost all parts.

“If we are addressing it like that, what is going wrong in some places? Is it the process of recruitment? Is it the character of people?”

While noting that his colleagues in the region want the entire police architecture to be reformed, the governor said states like Borno and Niger have benefitted from the efforts of SARS operatives in fighting terrorism and banditry.

On Sunday, the IGP announced the disbandment of SARS following nationwide protests against police brutality by the unit.

Thousands of protesters across the country have been protesting for over a week against the harassment, extortion, and extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.

The police authorities in response to the outcry of the protesters disbanded the SARS unit and announced the setting up of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit as its replacement but the protests and demonstrations continue nationwide with hashtags #EndSWAT, #EndSARS, #EndPoliceBrutality dominating social media trends.

Again, Lalong And Family Test Negative To COVID-19

A file photo of Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong.

 

 

Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, members of his family, his closed aides have all tested negative to coronavirus (COVID-19) for the second time.

The governor’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Macham, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

He explained that Governor Lalong and his household took another test as a result of the recent cases recorded within his cabinet, such as a commissioner and his Chief of Staff testing positive for the disease.

Macham noted that the governor and members of his family subjected themselves to another test on Saturday, having taken the test earlier in April which all turned out negative.

In his reaction, Governor Lalong said, “I have continued to encourage people to subject themselves to COVID-19 test which is very important for us to determine the magnitude of the disease and level of the spread, in order to curb the further spread and treat people before they get to critical stages.

“Submitting myself and family to another test was, therefore, necessary as part of leadership by example and also responding to the recent cases of one of my commissioners and Chief of Staff who were confirmed positive.”

The governor, who reiterated that COVID-19 was not a death sentence, advised the people to always take personal responsibility for their health and the health of others.

According to him, this can be achieved by adhering to the guidelines put in place to fight the disease such as the mandatory use of face masks, social distancing, hand washing, and use of sanitisers.

Governor Lalong revealed that so far, the testing capacity in Plateau has increased as more people were being tested daily at the NVRI Laboratory in Vom and the TB Reference Laboratory at the Jos University Teaching Hospital.

He added that efforts were being made to have the testing also conducted at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital, stressing that about 6,000 people have been tested in the state as of July 5.

The governor, therefore, directed continued enforcement of compliance to COVID-19 guidelines, particularly in public places, warning that violators would be sanctioned accordingly.

He also warned against stigmatising infected persons, insisting that unless the disease was demystified, it would be difficult to overcome.

Plateau Commissioner Tests Positive For COVID-19

A file photo of Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong.

 

The Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Abe Aku has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This was disclosed on Wednesday in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Dan Manjang.

Following this development, Governor Simon Lalong directed all members of the State Executive Council to undergo COVID-19 tests and thereafter isolate themselves.

Aku explained that based on the governor’s directive, specimens of the commissioners are to be taken and forwarded to the COVID-19 Laboratory at the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom for testing.

Meanwhile, the state government has asked members of the public to be guided by unnecessary visits to members of the State Executive Council while they are in isolation.

This is to prevent the possible spread of the disease and to show leadership by example after Governor Lalong and his family have carried out the test earlier where all of them tested negative.

 

COVID-19: Plateau Bans Movement Within State

A file photo of Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong.

 

The Plateau State Government has banned all movements within the state in order to curb the community spread of COVID-19.

In his address on Thursday, Governor Simon Lalong said the move is part of his administration’s efforts in tackling the virus following the only confirmed case in the state.

The governor noted that ban on movement from local government to local government in the state as well as the ban on all entry and exit points to the state is in continuation of total lockdown imposed on residents.

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“In addition to the total lockdown which closed movement in and out of the State, and in order to curb community spread of COVID-19, Government has decided to close all intra-State borders with effect from 4th May 2020.

“Consequently, there shall be no movement from one Local Government to another even during the period when the total lockdown is relaxed, except for those on essential services as earlier enumerated.

“The total lockdown which resumed midnight Sunday, April 26th 2020, shall be relaxed from Midnight of Thursday 30th April 2020 to Midnight of Sunday 3rd May 2020 to enable people again re-stock their homes. Thereafter, the total lockdown will resume on Monday 4th May 2020,” he said.

Governor Lalong noted that the three-day window permitted by the state government will enable citizens to restock their homes ahead of the continuation of the lockdown Sunday midnight.