Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Coalition of Plateau Peace Practitioners Forum (COPEPF) has berated Istifanus Gyang, a Senator representing Plateau North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, for allegedly suggesting that the murder of the District Head of Foron, Da Bulus Jang, was carried out by Fulani herdsmen.
A statement by COPEPF National Coordinator Rev Dachomo Pam, who further slammed the lawmaker for allegedly blaming security personnel for fueling violence in the state, stated that such remarks might incite further crisis.
Aside condoling with the family of the slain monarch, Pam urged security personnel to fish out the killers.
According to him: ‘The entire management and members of Coalition of Plateau Peace Practitioners Forum (COPEPF) wish to condole with the family, government and people of Plateau State over the recent wicked and gruesome murder of Da Bulus Jang, the acting District Head of Foron Kingdom by unknown gunmen.
‘His death by criminal elements at a time peace was gradually returning to Plateau State was not only painful but also a retrogressive step in the ongoing peace efforts being spearheaded by security agencies. This dastardly act should be condemned by well-meaning individuals and groups rooting for peace in the state.
‘However, we wish to strongly call on politicians particularly our senator, Istifanus Gyang, representing Plateau North in the National Assembly, to refrain from making comments capable of propelling our people towards taking actions that are inimical to peace and harmony in the state.
‘We observed with serious concern, some implicative comments he made on Friday at the burial of our slain royal father, Da Bulus Jang.
‘While at the burial, Senator Gyang made comment insinuating that all criminal activities including killings in the state are traceable to the Fulani people in the state. Besides, the senator said the laxity on the part of security agencies and their personnel is another major factor for unabated crimes in the state.
‘We consider these to be unguarded, reckless and unpatriotic given that such a statement could instigate the people and may take us back to Egypt.
‘We cannot continue like this and achieve lasting peace. People, especially public officers that have followers like them must be guided in their statements instead of instigating people against other ethnic or religious groups and the security agencies.
‘We believe that somebody of Senator Gyang’s standing should know better that investigation into the murder of our revered royal father is in progress.
We know that as a politician wanting to sell himself for more grassroots support, strong statements from him could achieve his aim but we cannot continue like this because of selfish political and ethnic reasons.
‘For us to leave in peace, crime must be attributed to criminals instead of stereotype and name calling. The blame game must also stop.
‘As we condemn the recent spike in criminal activities in some parts of the state, it would be ungrateful on the part of anybody to claim that laxity on the part of security agencies is a reason for the development.
‘We must recognize the fact that security agencies cannot be at our doorstep and street, and they are also not magicians.
‘It will take leaders like him and all stakeholders to end insecurity in the communities, by telling their constituents the truth and preach peace and harmonious co-existence every day.
‘They must begin to also work closely with the security agencies for maximum results instead of instigating the people against one another with reckless statements just for political consideration.
‘As a public officer of his status, we expect him to be well guided and also encourage all tribes and religious groups under him to come together and fight criminal elements among them.
‘We believe that there is no society without bad eggs, and so the idea of labelling a particular ethnic group of being the criminals in the state while at the same time portraying our own people as saints will not solve issues.
‘We have criminals among us too and it is time to call a spade a spade for the interest of the law abiding citizens.
‘This is not the time to play political hero for votes sake. We must desire and work for genuine and lasting peace.
‘While we call on our people to ignore his statement in its entirety, we appeal to them to remain calm and law-abiding and also report criminal elements among us to security agencies.
‘We, therefore, call on the security agencies to urgently fish out the killers of the traditional rulers.’