Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
Following the harvest of deaths and destruction of properties in Plateau State as a result of protracted crises and the attendant bad blood that has been generated among the citizens, the state Governor, Simon Lalong, has emphasised the need to forgive one another in the interest of peace.
He also declared February 7 as an annual day of ‘Forgiveness’ in the state.
While also inaugurating the ‘Garden of Forgiveness’ at part of the activities to mark the day yesterday, the governor described it as a milestone in the history of Plateau people.
He said: “It is a day we have set apart to reflect on our journey as a people and having in mind the various crises that have bedeviled our dear state from 2001. Many lives have been lost, properties have been destroyed, relationships severed and development negatively affected.
“We are pained by the losses of the past. We are pained particularly by the sacrifices of those who lost their lives and those whose memories are saddened by this development. This is to say the least a sad commentary on our state which is known for peace and tourism.
“Though we lack the capacity to right the numerous wrongs, we can chart a new path and rewrite our narrative of peace, and this is what we have set to do today.
“However, today is an auspicious moment knowing that Plateau will breathe fresh air and will henceforth tow the path of peace and development. Forgiveness will eclipse all the wrongs of the past and move to a new dawn as well as restore confidence in our future as a people.
“This Forgiveness Day will etch us on the annals of history and our generations unborn will rise to celebrate us for taking the path of forgiveness and breaking forever the circle of violence that has engulfed our beloved state.”
Standing on behalf of the people of the state, Lalong said as the governor and chief executive of the state, “I ask for forgiveness from all the children who have lost their parents because of our intolerance of each other.
“We ask for the forgiveness of parents who have lost their children in this ugly introduction that smeared our history as people of peace. We ask for the forgiveness of every man that lost his wife when we migrated ingloriously from our humanity to inhumanity; we ask for the forgiveness of every woman that lost her husband in the course of our madness, which is better forgotten than remembered.”
Stressing that forgiveness is divine, Lalong noted that “what we are doing today will usher in a new spirit and healing in our dear state and help us to connect back to the path of progress and development.
“I declare February 7 as a day of ‘Forgiveness’ to be observed as an annual public holiday in the state, a day for sober reflection, prayers and turning back to Almighty God as enshrined in our scriptures.”