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Jos : Senate rejects agitation for state of emergency

…laments non-implementation of past commissions

By Emmanuel Aziken

ABUJA—The Senate yesterday brushed aside spirited moves for the imposition of a state of emergency in Plateau State on account of the continuing crisis in Jos, even as it adopted a resolution for the immediate implementation of recommendations of past commissions of inquiry into the religious crises in the city.

The Senate resolution was upon debate on a motion from 23 Senators drawing attention to the sectarian crisis in the Middle Belt city. Debate on the motion led by Senator Gyang Dantong (PDP, Plateau North) was shadowed with apprehensions from Senators that the crisis may have complicated the country’s predicament arising from her recent enlistment on the United States watch list for terrorrism.

While several Senators lamented the inability of the authorities to implement the recommendations on past commissions into past religious crises in Jos and other Nigerian cities, some Senators felt that the latest crisis in Jos was caused by systemic failure by the Plateau State authorities.

Senate agrees to prosecute culprits
Senators nevertheless, were generally agreed on the need of bringing culprits arrested during past crises to trial.

Among those who contributed to the debate yesterday were two former Governors at the centre of the Sharia crisis in the country, Senators Ahmed Yerima (ANPP, Zamfara) whose introduction of the sharia legal system stoked religious tension in the country and Senator Ahmed Makarfi (PDP, Kaduna North) who was praised by his colleagues yesterday for his expertise in containing religious crises.

“Where is the report of all the previous crises,” Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta South) asked.
“We have to go beyond mere debates. Mr. President what has become of all the reports of all the commissions, of all the committees about the Plateau. We must be seen to be going beyond mere debates,” Senator Manager further submitted.

Senator Ibrahim Ida (PDP, Katsina), Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence (Army) in his comments read the briefing received from the Ministry of Defence on the crisis while Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, who was the chairman of a Senate enquiry into the Jos crisis of 2008 lamented that “Jos which was a preferred choice for non-Plateau residents for retirement and pleasure has now become a battle ground now comparable to Somalia and Afghanistan.”

Explaining why his ad-hoc committee was unable to submit a report, he said: “My committee went to Jos, met with all the security agencies and we came back here waiting for a public hearing. About the same time two things happened, the House of Representatives also set up a committee and the Federal Government set up a committee and the Plateau State government also set up a committee. About the time we were getting ready for the public hearing we were served with a court order restraining us from investigating the crisis.”


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