By Therese Nanlong
A delegation of the Northern Governors’ Forum has paid a solidarity visit to the government and people of Plateau State over the dual killings in Kulben community of Mangu local government area and Kwatas community in Bokkos local government area of the State.
The two linked incidents had claimed over 30 lives, and these have drawn the annoyance of the State Governor, Simon Lalong who has been working to ensure sustainable peace in the State.
Lalong is the Chairman of the Forum; the delegation for the visit was led by Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu and on the entourage were the Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed and that of Jigawa State, Mohammed Badaru.
The Governors according to a statement by Lalong’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Macham, condemned the killings and expressed their willingness to work with the Plateau State Governor in ensuring that the peace being enjoyed in Plateau is never taken away by criminals.
According to the leader of the delegation, “We are here on behalf of the Nigerian Governors Forum and the Northern Governors Forum which you chair, to commiserate with you and the entire people of the State over this unfortunate incident. Plateau State has been enjoying peace under your purposeful leadership and we remember that in 2018, both President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were in Plateau State and were pleased with the steps you adopted in ensuring that peace is back to Plateau.
“We are not happy with this recent development and that is why we are here to show you our support. Whatever you think we can do individually or collectively to support you, we shall do. At the moment, we support the steps you have taken to deal with the situation.”
He urged citizens of Plateau State to rally round Governor Lalong whom he described as “a man of peace and a visionary leader that has attracted goodwill of many across Nigeria hence his election as the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and a very strong member of the Nigerian Governors Forum.”
Responding, Governor Lalong thanked his colleagues for the visit and solidarity which he said will help him deal with the situation adding, “We had done a lot to ensure that people live in peace. We set up the Plateau State Peace Building Agency; we have the Operation Safe Haven, the Operation Rainbow, Early Warning Signals and also created avenues for dialogue and forgiveness.
“This recent development wants to take us back to the dark days, but we will never allow it. That is why I told the community leaders and Ardos that they cannot say they don’t know those who are causing trouble. They must assist the security agencies to fish them out or become suspects themselves, since it is their domain.”
Lalong expressed hope that the ongoing investigation by the security agencies will unravel those behind the killings and also lead to their prosecution, hoping that this will be the last of such ugly incidents in the State