From Gyang Bere, Jos
Following a protest by the Coalition of Plateau Indigenous Youths over the reconstruction of burnt Jos Main Market by Jaiz Bank, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Plateau State, Chrysanthus Ahmadu, said the government will ensure that the interest of Plateau is well protected in the MOU with Jaiz Bank.
He debunked the rumour-making round that the government was ceding the market to JAIZ Bank for reconstruction and operation for 40 years before handing it over to Plateau State.
Ahmadu disclosed this yesterday during an interactive section with Coalition of Plateau Indigenous Youths, Youth Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria YOWICAN, convened by Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Plateau State, Rev. Fr. Polycarp Lubo at New Government House Jos, Plateau State.
He said, “We have the opportunity to lay facts because the people now have the opportunity to the facts. A lot of positions taken were based on misinformation that Plateau State Government was ceding the Market for 40 years to JAIZ Bank, there is nothing like that.
“The agreement is that, It is whoever that will take over the shop that will be granted a 40-year license to operate the shop by the Jos Main Market Authority, at the end of 40 years, the shops will be taken over by the Jos Main Market Authority.
“It is not JAIZ Bank that is to be given the shops for 40 years, it is the buyer who has the interest and the shop would be sold to the person for 40 years. We negotiated that the allottee should be given 40 years so that they will be able to recoup their money.”
He explained that the government has not concluded the negotiation with Jaiz Bank before the information was leaked into social media which misled the entire state.
“JAIZ Bank is just a financier, it is just putting money on the table for the contractor to do the job at the end of which, they will sell 60 per cent of the shops and the government will sell 40 per cent.
“We are still in discussion with them, we know the concern of our people, we will ensure that there is equity, fairness and balancing in the spread of those shops even the 60 per cent of shops allocated to them.”
The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Plateau State, Rev. Fr. Polycarp Lubo who was the convener of the engagement meeting urged the government to halt further discussion with Jaiz Bank on the Jos Main Market until all issues are addressed with Plateau stakeholders.
He said the government did not open up to people on the deal with Jaiz Bank until the information leaked out that an MOU was going to be signed to cede the Market to an Islamic bank.
“I feel we should listen to the government about the issue of Jaiz Bank and the Main Market and the government also need to listen to the people and their concern.
“There is no way the government in its own capacity will mortgage the lives of the citizens of Plateau state and there is no way the people will also sit down and watch while their lives is being mortgaged for over 40 years.
“The youth has spoken their mind and CAN have also spoken that the whole thing should be put to hold for the time being until proper consultation is being done. The major concern of the people is about the Jaiz Bank which is Sharia compliant.”
He explained that the government has been told to go back and address the fears of the people by engaging critical stakeholders in a frank and progressive discussion.
The Coalition of Plateau Indigenous Youths and other related organisations in collaboration with Plateau Daughters in the University of Jos had staged a protest demanding the government to stop forthwith any discussion with Jaiz Bank on the reconstruction of the burnt Jos Main Market.