Gyang Bere, Jos
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has condemned, in strong terms, the violent protest at Government House, Jos, by a group of people over the recent attacks in the Northern Senatorial District of the state, which turned violent.
Governor Lalong, in a statement through Director of Press and Public Affairs, Emmanuel Nanle, noted that the protest represented one of the saddest commentaries in the state’s collective resolve to stand as a people united against evil.
“The Executive Governor is taken aback that while Government is making concerted efforts in sustaining the tempo of arrest and prosecution of those who have over the years threatened our peace, and worked so hard to turn our state into the sad era of bloodletting, unpatriotic elements are choosing to frustrate this good intention.
“What is more worrisome about the protest is that protesters were not willing to listen to the voice of reason in allowing the Governor attend to visiting Senate President, Distinguish Senator Bukola Saraki and the former President Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR) who were on a condolence visit to the state ahead of his addressing them.”
The governor regretted that while the state government has chosen to recognise the right of its citizens to peacefully assembly and protest within the confines of the law, the conveners of the protest under the joint auspices of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Northern Zone of Plateau State, the Youth Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), Plateau State and Bazata Gospel Team, allowed the protest to be hijacked by hoodlums who took advantage of the procession led by these organizations to destroy government properties and vehicles of civil servants and visitors to the Government House.
The statement said that the Governor viewed this attack on the seat of Government as a serious affront on the authority of the state which should not be taken lightly because of the very clear and obvious unpatriotic self-serving interest of a few who have chosen to make a mockery of the grief of the victims of the attack in Gashish District and other areas of the Northern Senatorial District.
It continued, “Governor Lalong opines that the name of the Church as a moral rectitude should not have been associated in any way with any person or group of persons who would contemplate violence as a show of discontent especially in this period that all Godly and peace loving citizens are sharing in the grief of the bereaved, and calling on God in prayers and sober reflection for healing in the Land.
“While Government mourns the loss of innocent lives and has extended deep commiseration to victims of the unfortunate attacks, with assurances that it will not rest on its oars in fishing out the perpetrators, it would not fold its hands and watch disgruntled citizens throw the state into a state of anarchy and chaos under the guise of mourning.”
According to the governor, this was the time for a united effort, prayers and vigilance as the People of Plateau State collectively seek to find a solution to the resurgence of the vicious circle of violence after the state had made considerable effort in restoring relative peace.
“In this regard, Government has identified the sponsors of this protest which resulted in the destruction of properties and will certainly bring them to account for their unpatriotic conduct.
“The Governor further wishes to assure citizens that Government will not relent in ensuring that the safety of citizens in guaranteed and peace restored in the affected areas and the whole of the state,” the statement said.