By Aaron Ossai
Plateau state governor, Chief Simon Lalong has confirmed that two people were killed in the violence that erupted in the state following rumours that some northerners were killed in Port Harcourt, Rivers state by suspected members the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
The governor who spoke when he met with community and religious leaders in the state however assured residents of Jos and its environs that the situation has been brought under control.
While appealing to residents of the state to go about their legitimate businesses without fear of molestation, he assured them that the state remains home for all irrespective of religion, ethnic and political differences.
Also speaking at the meeting held at the Government House, Rayfield and attended by various tribe and religious leaders in the state, Lalong assured that his administration was committed to peace and stability and all non-indigenes in the state are safe.
“The tension took us by surprise; I therefore call on community and religious leaders to caution their wards at home as any culprit arrested would not go free as nobody is above the law.
“I want to assure all citizens that their security and welfare as the primary concern of Government is assured by the “Rescue Administration”.
“I am therefore enjoining all citizens to go about their business with the assurance that their safety is guaranteed”, he added.
Speaking further, the governor appealed to all religious and community leaders, neighbourhood vigilantes as well as all law abiding citizens to ensure that nobody is allowed to take advantage of the unfortunate situation to engage in criminality.
“We wish to restate that Plateau State remains home to all citizens of Nigeria irrespective of religion, ethnic extraction or political persuasion. I therefore enjoin all peace loving citizens to ensure that nothing is allowed to upset the hard earned peace in the state”, he added.
In a related development the Jama’atu Nasril Islam Plateau State Chapter wishes to appeal to the Muslim Ummah and the general public in the State to shun acts capable of disrupting hard earned peace in the State saying “the events of this evening in Jos which caused panic around some parts of the metropolis, which were clearly in response to the unfortunate events in the South East, are unacceptable.”
This was contained in a statement signed by SANI MUDI, the Director of Publicity of J.N.I in Plateau state and made available to newsmen in Jos.
“JNI finds it necessary and of utmost importance to remind us that we in Plateau state had just in the last few years emerged from a decade long ethno religious conflict which left us with unbearable socio economic and political consequences. The sad saga of disruption of peace and lawlessness in some parts of the country is not worth our response except in the exhibition of mature and civil way, trusting that appropriate authorities are capable of responding as the situation warrants.
“We should therefore cherish our peaceful co existence and do all within our power to sustain it, regardless of the provocation as peace is priceless”, the statement added.
In the other hand, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Plateau State Chapter on behalf of the Church expressed great shock and dismay at the sudden build up of tension in Jos Metropolis especially on Thursday evening.
A statement signed by Chairman, CAN Plateau state chapter, Rev. Dr. Soja Bewarang, Chairman said “CAN frowns at the conduct of some disgruntled elements, whose stock in trade and design is to throw Plateau State into confusion. CAN had issued a strong statement condemning both the quit notice by the Arewa Youths as well the agitations of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East.”
“CAN reiterate its stand and appeal to both parties to pursue the path of peace. We call on the Igbos on the Plateau to remain calm as nobody will ask them to leave Plateau. We appreciate the Governor and security agencies for their prompt intervention and courageous work yesterday on the directives of the Governor to calm the situation. CAN calls on its members to remain calm, law abiding and to pursue the path of peace. Christians are hereby requested to obey the measures so far taken by the government to bring this uncalled for disturbance to peace to order.
“CAN wishes to assure the Governor, the security agencies and all citizens of its total support and cooperation to ensuring that peace reigns. The peace of the State is the peace of the church and society. Let us all wise up and work collectively to frustrate the designs of criminals in our midst. Information on social media must be verified with security agencies and nobody should take the law into their hands, enough of this madness”, the statement added.