Following recent issues that threatened the six years of relative peace on the Plateau, the social media space has been agog with a new argot: “Standing by the Plateau people,” which tends to cast every peace initiative as unbecoming in the present circumstances.
This coinage gained traction with political opportunists who latched on primordial fault lines to feed a narrative that sees crises from the narrow lenses of ethnic and religious divides.
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As this is hardly the case with the recent issues in Plateau State, people of good conscience have been able to scrutinise the twist, analyse its content and expose it as baseless due to reasons which we shall soon see.
For about six years (2015 – 2021) since the coming of the current administration, Plateau State has witnessed and has continued to enjoy tremendous peace compared with the preceding years when the state was set in turmoil for a period of time.
The serenity and calm of the last six years has been attributed rightly to the reign of equity and justice under the key philosophical levers of peace, security and good governance.
During this period, the state government has been privileged to enjoy tremendous support from President Muhammadu Buhari and the various security agencies in the country.
These collective efforts have taken Plateau State out of the quandary of multidimensional crises that had become a recurrent decimal in the state.
The result of these efforts is that the state is fast regaining its pride of place as not only the Home of Peace and Tourism, but as a mini Nigeria where all citizens could call home.
Sadly enough, this feat is being thwarted by some conspirators and conflict merchants who have resolved to return Plateau State to the theatre of violent conflicts and insecurity.
Their combined evil machinations have led to sporadic violent conflicts in some areas of the state, particularly in parts of Riyom, Bassa and Jos North local government areas.
These well-orchestrated evil actions are carefully designed and fed into the sentiments of the Plateau people such that the resort to ethnic and religious sentiments was becoming the new normal.
That explains the happenings in Irigwe land, the slaughtering of unarmed Nigerian citizens travelling from Bauchi to Ondo en route Jos, as well as subsequent reprisals and counter attacks, all aimed at inducing avoidable violent conflicts to instigate religious and ethnic crises as a deliberate ploy to destabilise the state at all cost.
But in spite of that, Governor Lalong has continued to prioritise peace in Jos – Bukuru Metropolis and all the local governments that were under constant threats and attacks, such as Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Jos South, Jos North and Bassa, and has succeeded in bringing together the Berom and the Fulani to dialogue and reconciliation, climaxing in the signing of a peace accord.
He has also replicated the success model on the Fulani and Irigwe communities.
These are in addition to the fact that he has been able to make other adequate arrangements for the sustenance of peace and security like the recent procurement of security vehicles and motorcycles to boost the efforts of security personnel, as well as the training of 3,000 vigilantes to support the conventional police for the protection of lives and properties.
Governor Lalong who understands that peace is foundational to development and has championed the path to mutual coexistence and harmonious living is therefore the one standing with the people.
Yakubu Dati wrote from Jos.