By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong has again assured citizens of his administration’s commitment to strengthen and consolidate on the peace process in the State and warned all trouble makers to stay away from the State because the Government will not hesitate to deal decisively with anyone found causing disharmony or beating the drums of war.
This is even as the Member representing Mangu/Bokkos federal constituency in the National Assembly, Solomon Maren visited the mass grave where about 15 members of his constituency who were killed by suspected herdsmen last Wednesday were buried.
Lalong, while inspecting the neighbourhood security facility and watchtower at Dutse Uku area of Jos North local government area, the Governor reminded the people that communities need to continue to work together to foster peace and good neighbourliness.
The Permanent Secretary, Cabinet and Special Services Cornelius Shiolbial explained to the Governor at the site that the project is geared at ensuring that there is an early warning system to pre-empt conflicts and nip them in the bud saying, “The idea behind this is to have a permanent security presence here that consists of security personnel and representatives of the community who will be working hand in hand to ensure that the whole area is under surveillance and any threat to peace is detected and dealt with on time.
“The structure here provides offices, watch facilities and a conference hall where they can meet and analyse whatever is observed and possibly diffuse any tension. The security team headed by the Operation Rainbow will run shifts and use the watchtower which is well positioned to observe large parts of the City.”
The Governor commended the initiative and the quality of work at the facility noting, “We are happy that today there is more understanding among the people; where everyone recognizes the importance of peace, reconciliation and harmony. We have to work together to promote good neighbourliness, tolerance and peaceful coexistence. This initiative will help us address issues before they escalate and ensure that criminals are not allowed to again cause strife among the people.
“I climbed up to the tower and could see almost all parts of the city of Jos. This should tell those who are criminally minded that I will be watching you and send the security agencies to track you down and get you arrested. We have done a lot to ensure that people live in peace and nobody will be allowed to change that.”
However, Maren at the graveside at Kulben, Kombun district of Mangu local government area condoled the people, appealed for calm and urged relevant security agencies to secure the lives and property of the people.
The Councilor representing Kombun Ward in the Local Council, Panel Vwar lamented absence of security in the area saying, “When this thing happened, it took three hours for securities to respond. But we understand because in the whole of Kombun Ward, despite its size in landmass and population, which is one of the largest in Plateau State, it only has three policemen.
“Even if they were to respond in time, how much can they do? We have a terrible terrain already, and the military are not there. How effective can these few ones be? I want to appeal that more security personnel should be hired so we can have sufficient manpower in the security system.
“I also wish to plead that government should find a way to support those who have given themselves for the protection of communities that is the Vigilante Group of Nigeria. They should not just be recognized as voluntary organizations but they should be legalized as an auxiliary of government.”