…engage stakeholders on urgent solution
Co-chairmen of the Nigerian Inter-religous Council (NIREC) Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle, who is also the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria; and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar, have joined others to temporarily relocate to Plateau State on a peace mission for the bloodied people.
Also on hand at Jos, the state capital, to commiserate with the people and government of the state over the gale of sectarian and ethnic attacks, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, as well as governors of Sokoto, and Niger states
During the visit, they engaged various stakeholders, including religious, political and community leaders on how to find lasting solutions to the security challenges besetting Plateau
In a remark, Rev. Oyakunle said they were in Plateau State in response to the recent attacks that claimed lives and properties, which ruptured the peace of the state and thus caused a setback for ensuing peaceful living.
He said NIREC had followed with regret, “the toxic narratives emanating from some religious and political leaders who instead of calming down tensions, have resorted to heightening them”.
He said NIREC had in tow, resolved to hand over such persons to security agencies for prosecution.
The Sultan of Sokoto, on his part, also described the visit as part of their engagement towards promoting peace in Nigeria; in fulfilment of their mandate and resolutions at the last quarterly meeting which was held in Abuja.
He said the meeting initially billed for Jos was shifted to Abuja following the recent unfortunate incidents.
However, he said Plateau State still remains a home of peace with attraction to people of diverse backgrounds who generally want to live together.
The problem, he said, was the inability to halt impunity and punish criminals who use religion, ethnicity and politics to cause havoc.
Chairman, Nigerian Governors, Fayemi, on his part, said the governors of the 36 states were in solidarity with their colleague, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau, “who has put in a lot of efforts and resources to build structures for peaceful coexistence in the state as well as supported peace and reconciliation in various parts of the country”.
He said they would do everything humanly possible to support him in ensuring that peace is sustained on the Plateau, which is reputed for its hospitality and attraction to people from all backgrounds.
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Abubakar Bello of Niger State also expressed sadness over the recent attacks in Plateau, urging all stakeholders to come together and address the situation and bring back the glorious days of the state.
They recalled with fond memories their experiences in Jos many years ago which they hoped the current generation will also experience.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mustapha, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the engagement, said the Federal Government remained concerned about the attacks in Plateau and had continued to support security agencies and the state government in putting an end to the situation.
He said though the government would not tolerate criminality and the destruction of lives and properties under any guise, he streesed that it was incumbent on citizens to cultivate tolerance and love for one another, as well as fish out criminals by reporting them to security agencies.
He expressed optimism that the efforts of the federal and state governments would yield positive results with the support of the citizens.
He also assured that the federal government would do its best to support the state to respond to humanitarian needs of the internally displaced persons.
Governor Lalong while thanking NIREC and the governors for the visit, said the concern expressed and words of admonition showed that there was determination to ensure that Plateau regains it enviable place as the Home of Peace and Tourism.
Lalong challenged the people of Plateau State to rise together and unite against those who want to cause divisions and hatred, using all avenues, including politics.