Democracy Day: We Shall Subdue Violence with Forgiveness, Says Lalong

Governor Simon Lalong

By Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

As part of his determination to rid Plateau State of the cycle of violence that has bedevilled it for close to a decade, Governor Simon Lalong has again emphasised the need to forgive one another, noting that a critical policy his administration developed and embraced is the concept of “forgiveness”.

The governor, who declared this Wednesday in his inaugural speech after taking oath of office for his second tenure as the governor of the state, also granted absolute pardon to Mr. Evaristus C. Mozie who was sentenced to life imprisonment.

He acknowledged that a major challenge his administration contended with in the past four years in office was security, especially in Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Riyom and Jos South Local Government Areas “leading to deaths and displacements of people, destruction of houses, crops and livestock and mutual mistrust among community residents”.

“But government did not relent in its efforts; we promptly responded to these challenges the best way we could by boosting security in the troubled areas and setting up operational security bases in synergy with the federal government. We also introduced confidence-building measures and roadmap to peace, especially through the Plateau Peace Building Agency and stakeholders’ meetings. I had also signed into law various legislations dealing with administration of criminal justice, making it possible to decide certain cases in the state rather than taking them elsewhere,” he said.

According to Lalong, reconciliation is the only weapon that will break the cycle of violence, adding that: “We recently launched the ‘FORGIVENESS DAY’ to be marked every February 7, 2019. This is a day we have set aside to reflect on our journey as a people and having in mind the various crises that have bedevilled our dear state. This day will always be a day to chart a new path and rewrite our narratives and celebrate our taking the path of forgiveness in line with our different religious injunctions.

“With this philosophy, our winning points will continue to be the insistence on impartiality, neutrality and fairness to all concerned, regardless of ethnic, religious and political affinities. Plateau is a state with diverse ethnicities. I therefore assure all and sundry of holding on to our policy of inclusiveness and get everybody in different position of responsibility to do the needful. In this way, we would have justified earning the votes and confidence of the people. We would have also justified accepting the mandate to serve with all the humility and affirmation to move the people and state to the Next Level.”

He said he was prepared to consolidate on his many achievements of his first tenure in office.

Citing the exercise of the powers conferred on him as governor in Section 212 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Lalong said: “After due consultation with the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, I have granted Prerogative of Mercy to one (1) prisoner, Mr. Evaristus C. Mozie from life imprisonment to absolute pardon. This pardon is granted for reasons of good conduct and determination to continue to be productive, with effect from the date of sentence.”