President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday received briefing from the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong on the recent killings in the state.
President Buhari after receiving the briefing promised that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs would assist victims of the clashes in the state
This is as Governor Lalong has threatened that all those involved in perpetrating crisis in any part of the State, would be prosecuted.
Speaking with State House correspondents, after meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the governor announced that the security situation in the State has greatly improved and very soon, the curfew imposed on troubled areas would be further relaxed.
According to him, “What we are doing is to ensure that there is proper investigation and prosecution. You know, both the Soldiers and Police are controlled by the Presidency and right now they are diligently working in my state on a daily basis.
“That is why on the first day, I announced a 24-hour curfew but I kept on relaxing it. By the grace of God even this week, the curfew would further be relaxed, so that people can carry out their normal activities.
“We are the only state that has a peace building agency set up by the State government and it is the only State that for now has established an interreligious council. These are all the efforts that we have done and within a short time, peace has returned to Plateau State.”
Governor Lalong said President Buhari promised him that support would be given to victims of the recent clashes in the State, currently displaced.
“I also made a request to the President about relief materials and also still re-echoed the issue of resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) We have a lot if IDPs in my State, we have a lot on our hands already and when such happens, you expect the State to seek for support for relieve materials. We are doing our best but the President said he will talk to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs so that attention would be given to those who are displaced as a result of this crisis.
“For over six years now, we have been enjoying peace in Plateau State so, anybody that wants to take Plateau back to those old days of crisis, it is not only me as Governor but all Plateau people will resist that. They have said ‘we don’t want to go back to crisis again, we are enjoying peace and we want to continue to enjoy our peace.’” the Governor added.
The Plateau State Governor used the occasion to appeal for calm and restraint, adding that those calling for reprisals do not mean well for the State.
“Again, I want to appeal to people because most of those who are outside the state calling for reprisal are not people from Plateau State. I am yet to see one cleric coming out to say I want reprisal.
“I have set up an interreligious committee, which comprises all top religious leaders in Plateau State, both Muslims and Christians and when things like this happen, they address it.
“So for people to call from outside the State for reprisal, I say no because they are crying more than the bereaved; leave us. We are handling our issue, we are doing reconciliation and consultations don’t call for reprisal attacks.
“If you want to do a reprisal, you are on your own. We have agreed with the religious leaders and all of them are doing their best, they are cooperating with the State and we are also doing our best,” he said.
The Governor said Plateau State Government had since given support to survivors of the skirmish that happened in the State on Saturday, August 14, when over 20 travelers from Ondo State were killed.
“When this happened, we had to go to Ondo but in so many places that is unusual, but we took all of them that we rescued and treated and went there with a powerful team led by the Deputy Governor of Plateau State with all religious leaders to Ondo to sympathize with the State. Their Governor also said they will also send a team to come and appreciate what we have done.
“The remaining things we need to do are to continue with reconciliation and dialogue. We are the only state that has a peace-building agency set up by the State government and it is the only State that for now has established an interreligious committee. These are the things we did for peace to return within a short period of time but that does not mean that we are sleeping on fishing out the perpetrators of these criminal acts,” he said.
Lalong said Plateau State was already preparing to host its first economic summit, when the recent crisis broke out, adding that the State is determined to host the summit, so as to confirm that peace has returned to the State.
“While this was happening, we were also very prepared for the first economic summit in Plateau State and we are still ready for that, so that people will not be discouraged from coming to Plateau. If the reason for somebody is to discourage people from investing in Plateau State, we will do our best to counter that and so, we are going ahead with our economic summit while we also go ahead with consultations and harmonization of ideas on daily basis, in order to ensure that we have security on the Plateau,” he said.