I refer to a report by people’s gazette, that a Plateau State lawmaker, Dachung Bagos, has successfully obtained a court order which blocks the Plateau State government from going into an agreement with Jaiz Bank to reconstruct the Jos Terminus Market which was gutted by fire in 2002.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the Plateau State High Court believes that Dachung Bagos has a right not to agree with the N9.4 billion concession that you signed with the Plateau State government.
It is not my position to talk about what transpired. However, I would like to propose what would serve the same intended purpose of Jaiz Bank’s relationship with the public. I would like to propose that this partnership be rerouted to another urban centre, Zaria, in the neighbouring Kaduna State.
Zaria is another ancient, cosmopolitan city, with quite a rich history like Jos. Though Zaria is not a state capital like Jos, it is economically viable and commercially productive. It boasts of several financial institutions (including Jaiz Bank) and numerous educational institutions. With the recent restructuring in Kaduna State, it is now wholly regarded as Zaria Metropolitan Authority. Therefore, it is beyond a local government. The city truly holds great economic potential by all indices, and is ripe for investments.
Just like the Plateau State government, I am sure that the Kaduna State government will happily sign a joint venture partnership with Jaiz Bank. Zaria has opportunity areas in the public transportation and healthcare systems which are yet to be tapped. I believe an investment in one or both of these sectors will be financially and socially rewarding.
I understand that the basis of rejection of this partnership in Jos is purely on religious grounds. Sadly, Jos has been an epicenter of deadly ethno-religious crises over the last two decades. In Zaria, this partnership will not face this challenge. Fortunately for Zaria, despite the existence of the adherents of different religions, there is peace and harmony. We do not have any traceable history of such crises.
I am not happy that Jos will be missing this opportunity. I am not happy that Jos is an epicenter of ethno-religious crises. But then, Jaiz Bank has already earmarked N9 billion for the Jos Terminus Market reconstruction. This is a good amount of money that can go a long way in stimulating any city’s economy, if put into a strategic investment. It would not be good if the generous hand of Jaiz Bank is rejected just because of a misplaced religious emotion. I would rather see it put into good use somewhere. Zaria is somewhere. It is not far from Jos.
I would not advise that you proceed with Jos, even if the court ruling is overturned. The people who participate in Jos crises are not Muslims and Christians in the absolute definitions of the two faiths. They are some children of anger, violent merchants, irate mobs and sadists who are indoctrinated by some ungodly religious men. The project has already been given a religious coloration. If you proceed with it, I fear that someday these sadists will descend on this market. A N9 billion project should not be risked this way.
Please, kindly look into my request to redirect this project to Zaria. It will be dearly appreciated by the locals. It will add value to the territory and might even benefit Jos on a secondary layer.
While thanking you in anticipation of your kind understanding, please accept the assurances of my highest regards.
Ibrahiym A. El-Caleel wrote this piece and can be reached via: email@example.com