Plateau Killings: NGF, Northern Governors Pay Solidarity Visit to Lalong

  • Useni donates cash, relief materials to victims

By Seriki Adinoyi

Saddened by the recent killings in Kulben village of Mangu Local Government and Kwatas ward of Bokkos Local Government area of Plateau State, the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and Northern Governors Forum paid a solidarity visit to Governor Simon Lalong over the weekend to commiserate with him and the entire people of the state.

The delegation led by the Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu included his counterparts from Bauchi, Bala Mohammed and Jigawa, Mohammed Badaru Mohammed, who met Governor Lolong at the Government House, Rayfield Jos.

They condemned the killings and expressed their willingness to work with him in ensuring that the peace being enjoyed in Plateau is not taken away by criminals.

Bagudu said: “We are here on behalf of the Nigerian Governors Forum and the Northern Governors Forum which you chair, to commiserate with you and the entire people of the state over this unfortunate incident. Plateau State has been enjoying peace under your purposeful leadership and we remember that in 2018, both President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo were in Plateau State and were pleased with the steps you adopted in ensuring that peace is back to Plateau.

“We are not happy with this recent development and that is why we are here to show you our support. Whatever you think we can do individually or collectively to support you, we shall do. At the moment, we support the steps you have taken to deal with the situation.”

Responding, Lalong thanked his colleagues for the visit and solidarity which he said will help him deal with the situation.

“We had done a lot to ensure that people live in peace. We set up the Plateau State Peace Building Agency, we have the Operation Safe Haven, the Operation Rainbow, Early Warning Signals and also created avenues for dialogue and forgiveness.

“This recent development wants to take us back to the dark days, but we will never allow it. That is why I told the community leaders and Ardos (Fulani leaders) that they cannot say they don’t know those who are causing trouble. They must assist the security agencies to fish them out or become suspects themselves, since it is their domain,” he said.

Meanwhile, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, Senator Jeremiah Timbut Useni, has appealed to communities in Plateau to raise their level of alertness to pre-empt further attacks on the state.

He was speaking at the weekend when he led a special PDP team on a visit to the two communities in Bokkos and Mangu Local Government Areas attacked by suspected herdsmen.

Useni said: “We are saddened by the loss of precious human lives. We are visiting to express our sympathy and to encourage those of you alive to be strong hearted. We must show greater wisdom in the way we live as communities. We need to remain alert at all times to thwart the efforts of attackers. We know that vengeance belongs to God. Ours is to stay awake and watch while also praying.”

Useni donated 20 bags of rice and N200,000 each at both Kwatas and Kulben, making it a total of 40 bags of rice and N400,000.

Responding, the traditional leaders of the communities thanked Useni for the visit, saying: “We are very elated at your presence here with us. The attack shocked us because our people are peaceful, and there was no previous provocation whatsoever which might have led to the attack.”

The team with Useni included the PDP state acting Chairman, Amos Gombi, deputy governorship candidate in the 2019 election, Dr. James Dalok; former state Chairman of the PDP, Hon. Damishi Sango; former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Titus Alams; former Director General of the JT Useni Campaign Organisation, Prof. Dimis Mai-Lafia; and a PDP stalwart, Mr Danjuma Maina.