By Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong has raised concern about the activities of criminal but assured residents that his administration is working hard with the security agencies and stakeholders to ensure that the ugly incidences are dealt with.
The Governor warned elements who are bent on reversing the gains made in the areas of peace and peaceful coexistence to desist from their criminal activities as he assures of his willingness to swiftly do his part in respect of anyone convicted of kidnapping so as to save residents from sleepless nights.
In his remark at the 6th Plateau Pray Day organised by the State government and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), held at the Government House, Rayfield, Jos, he noted, “While we talk about the progress of our State, we are confronted by emerging challenges of crimes that were rarely recorded in our State. These crimes want to cast a dark shadow on our achievements in restoring peaceful coexistence among our people.
“The incidences of kidnapping, cultism and other violent crimes in some parts of Plateau State have constituted a major concern for the Government and our citizens in recent times. The Government is not closing its eyes but working hard with the security agencies and stakeholders to ensure that the ugly incidences are dealt with. It is part of putting a stop to this worrisome situation that I signed into law the Bill on Anti-kidnapping, Land grabbing, Cultism and Violence-Related Matters that was passed by the State House of Assembly.
“With this law operational, kidnappers who are caught, tried and convicted for kidnapping in Plateau State will face stringent punishment. The same fate awaits others who are also convicted for cultism and other violent crimes. The Government has noted complaints about the shoddy investigation and prosecution of suspects who are arrested for kidnapping, rape and other violent crimes.
“We are disturbed by the reports that some of these suspects do not get to be arraigned as and when due or are even released without charge despite overwhelming evidence tendered to law enforcement agents. This is unacceptable and we are engaging the relevant security agencies to deal with the matter decisively. During the inauguration of new Judges last week, I pleaded with their Lordships to be very firm in trying such Cases when brought before them as Kidnapping is fast becoming an Industry with no one immune from the menace.”
Speaking further, he added, “As Governor, I have assured the citizens of my willingness to swiftly do my part in respect of anyone convicted of kidnapping so as to save our people from sleepless nights. We have laboured hard to bring back peace to our State and cannot sit by and watch criminals snatch it away from us. This is not going to happen under my watch. We want investors to come into our State and establish businesses to further empower our people. We have to equally stop the situation where many of our people are afraid to pursue their legitimate businesses including farming because some hoodlums kidnap and force them and their loved ones to pay ransoms to secure their freedom.”
He expressed gratitude to God for “granting us favour from the Federal Government for the creation of a Federal Polytechnic in Shendam. We appreciate Mr. President for his goodwill towards our State. Let us pray for more good things to come because when I visited him last week, I put before him many requests including assistance for funding in rebuilding the Jos Main Market. With the quick result we have seen of the Federal Polytechnic Shendam, we believe God that all our prayers will be answered soon.”
On COVID-19, he noted, “I want to again call on our citizens to adhere strictly to the protocols and guidelines which have now been signed by the President. We must do everything to avoid the spread of the disease and more deaths which as at today stand at 55 in Plateau State. Let us be careful not to invite another lockdown because of our nonchalance which is most undesirable for both the government and citizens.”