Plateau killings: Lalong updates Buhari, requests relief materials

The President, Major General, Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has met behind closed doors with Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, the governor said he updated the president on the security developments in Plateau State.

He said Buhari pledged that support would be given to victims of the violent clashes in the state.

“I also made a request to the President about relief materials and also still re-echoed the issue of resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons.

“We have a lot of 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 relief 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 the 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,’’ he said.

On the recent killing of travellers at Rukuba, near Jos, and other violent clashes in the state, the governor vowed that all those implicated would be prosecuted irrespective of their background or “connections” in the society.

According to him, the security situation in the State has greatly improved and very soon, the curfew imposed on troubled areas will be further relaxed.

He said, “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. 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.”

The governor also appealed for calm and restraint, adding that those calling for reprisals did 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.

“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.

“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.

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