From Gyang Bere, Jos
The Executive Director of Coalition For Truth, Justice and Peace, Ayuba Zion Garba, has backed Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong on his comment about farmers also carry AK-47s rifles to protect themselves.
Garba said a press statement that Governor Lalong spoke the truth about the farmer-herder crisis and called for sincerity of purpose and a holistic approach to address insecurity in the country.
He noted that Lalong had in an interview on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday spoken his mind on security challenges bedevilling the country, particularly herdsmen bearing arms.
The governor was alleged to have said that not only herdsmen carry AK-47 rifles to protect themselves as a consequence of the poor state of the country security system.
Garba said the governor’s comments appears to have raised dust among social media users particularly oi the Plateau with many quoting portions of the appearance to lash out at the governor.
He said the group was solidly behind the governor who according to them spoke the truth.
‘Iy is unfortunate that the comments of the governor which were spoken in truth and in pursuance of lasting solution, were taken out of context by people who have pre-concieved motives and do not see beyond their noses,’ the statement read.
‘We are not surprised that the issues raised generated discourse unnecessarily. Notably is the fact that the Governor said that farmers, herders and other non-state actors carry AK 47 rifles which is a statement of fact, and which to him is a thing of concern. Pundits have however turned what His Excellency said to a commodity to gain cheap political capital.’
The group said that Lalong is a lover of peace and calling him names by disperaging him and quoting him out of context does not change the facts on ground, because the fact is that criminality knows neither tribe nor religion.
‘We want to state unequivocally that there is a proliferation of arms in the hands of non-state actors who are not from one tribe or religion. There is therefore nothing wrong if the Governor averred that not only herdsmen, but others carry arms illegally. Can the critics of the Governor swear that only herdsmen commit violent crimes with AK-47 and other weapons?
‘Who are those involved in kidnapping, banditary, robberies, destruction of farms, attacks on villages, killing of innocent people, cattle rustling and cultism? Are they from one tribe or religion? The statistics from the security agencies speak differently as people of different backgrounds are involved in crime.’
Garba said the group would never support any form of criminality in the country but will continue to align with groups and individuals who are willing to stick their neck for the truth in resolving security issues in the country.
‘The tendency to own criminality has taken us decades backward and Governor Lalong is not ready to turn a blind eye from the truth because of cheap popularity.’
The group addressed those faulting the governor’s comments to calm down and allow common sense to prevail as not politicise it.