killings – No body would grab our land and go Scott free says Gov. Lalong  

*says  last two months have not been best of times for us

By Golok Nanmwa ,Jos

Plateau state Governor Simon Lalong, on Tuesday again vowed that the state would resist any form of land grabbing in any part of the state .

Lalong made this known while speaking at the  16TH General Assembly of the  Catholic archdiocese of Jos .

He said “On our part we have given citizens assurances that if the reasons for these attacks which have displaced many from their ancestral land and rendered many homeless is for land grabbing, Government will ensure that it fails.”

” Already  Government has constituted a committee for the immediate relocation and resettlement of victims of these attacks back to their original places of abode.” The joint security committee is working on security measures and part of this is the relocation of the Operational Command of Operation Safe Haven to Barkin Ladi for the security of returnees. The Joint Committee of the State and National Emergency Agency is also working under the constituted relief committee that is coordinating humanitarian interventions to address the growing health and social welfare needs of Government. ”

He said ” it  is my esteemed honour to join his grace, the Archbishop of Jos, the Most Rev. Dr. Ignatius Kaigama in welcoming the Catholic Clergy, Religious, Delegates, Distinguished Invitees and the Laity who have converged on Jos the Plateau State Capital for the 16th General Assembly of the Archdiocese.

The opportunity that this brainstorming session offers for the constant appraisal of the spiritual and physical growth of the faithful in the Catholic Church is highly commendable.”

The Theme for this Sixteenth Assembly; “Revival of Catholic traditions and etiquette in the contemporary Nigeria Church: Catholic Archdiocese of Jos in Focus” is very apt because it seeks to draw attention of the Catholic Church to the shift from the rich Catholic Traditions of Worship and in essence making light the Spiritual Value of solemnity which the Catholic Church has been known for over the centuries of its existence as the foundation of the Universal Church.”

“Society in its dynamic nature has become a major threat to the preservation of the spiritual values of the rich traditions of the Church and the increasing perversion of the minds of the faithful by the evolving dynamics of a multi-religious society, have made it necessary for the Church to reaffirm its stands on the true Catholic Teachings and Doctrines, so the Church can preserve her harvest of souls for eternity.”

My prayer is for this General Assembly to be deeply revealing of the great responsibility at hand for the clergy, the religious and laity, if the much needed revival of Catholic Traditions and Etiquettes is to be attained in the contemporary Nigeria Church.”

I want  to use the opportunity of this address to thank the Catholic Church for her prayers and support of our Rescue Administration in the State. The last two months have not been the best of times for us, and the security challenge that we have had to contend with in the wake of the gruesome killing of innocent citizens, including women and children by suspected marauding militia herdsmen in some villages of the Northern Senatorial District, have taken a toll on the peace that we have worked so hard to consolidate on in the last three years.”

“As a Government we have remained committed to consultative and inclusive governance. All round critical stakeholder’s participation in major governance decision has become an integral part of our style of leadership. His grace, the Archbishop will bear witness to this truth and the fact that we have not left the leadership of the Church out of these consultations.”

“The security challenge we have over the last one and half decades been confronted with, is not peculiar to Plateau State alone but is a National Security Matter which has its sub-regional and regional dimension. We have worked had to localize our interventions so we address our unique problems and the peculiar threats to our peaceful co-existence.”

“In the last three years, we have implemented emergency, intermediate and long lasting institutional measures to these security challenges. We constituted and established the Berom – Fulani Peace Community, the Professor Onazi Committee on Ranching, we reviewed the Security Architecture of the State and established the Plateau Peace Building Agency. The Plateau State Road Map to Peace strategic document which is currently being implemented is a product of wide range multi-level consultation that has community practical inputs on how we can achieve lasting peace on the Plateau. We have also strengthened our collaboration on several aspects of peace-building with Civil Society, Groups, Faith Based Agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations.” All these measures besides the statutory requirements of beefing up security and State policing duties should have helped us in nipping the monster of insecurity in the bud.”

“That this is not the case and we are still confronted with security challenges, leaves us with the greater resolve to get to the root of the problems. What is more worrisome is that while we set out to address the reasons for these spade of attacks from the intelligence and security reports as well as the contribution from all relevant stake holders, the resurgence of violence certainly suggest that there is more to it that meets the eye; and I dare to say these reasons have different degrees of their economic, political, environmental, ethnic and manipulative religious dimensions.”

“All these you will agree are the handiwork of merchants of evil from within and without, who have no respect for life and the dignity of the human person but are simply after what they stand to gain as the proceeds of their evil merchandize. “I can assure you in faith that because the innocent blood of all victims cries out for justice, the God of justice has numbered their days and very soon, justice would be served, if not by man then certainly by God.”

“These measures might not be entirely enough, but we are improving on it constantly and hoping that in no distant time, a more permanent solution that puts the resurgence of violence in constant check is attained.”

“Let me further assure the Church and indeed all citizens of Plateau State, that we have not left the President of our dear Country in doubt, as to our very strong commitment in ensuring that perpetrators are fished out and prosecuted in line with the provision of our criminal laws within the State. Already several arrests have been made and those apprehended have volunteered useful and far reaching information on the attacks. Mr. President stands with us on the fact that we will not subscribe to any prosecution of the culprits outside the borders of the State of the repeated call of the Church and all peace loving citizens in the Country in support of this position has been helpful. Further to this is the fact that the prosecution of these crimes against humanity in line with the reviewed criminal and extant provisions of the Law on anti-terrorism and National Security is vigorously being pursued.”

Let me beg to be excused for not limiting myself to a goodwill message. I find it pertinent to give these explanations and assurances because of the disturbing state of security. We have found ourselves in and I urge you to rest assured that we will not rest on our oars as we remain accountable to God and humanity in delivering on the mandate we have to lead Plateau. So while we address the issue of security and peace as a cardinal policy thrust, we will carry along with this the issue of the several infrastructural deficits begging for attention.”

He also said “I plead with citizens to however understand that the resources at the disposal of Government cannot carry all and for this, we must scale down priorities along preferences and urgencies. In doing this we will ensure that we treat all citizens with fairness, justice and equity.”

He called on the  entire Church on the Plateau for the support and prayers. I plead with you to also continue to impress it on the flock under your care to reach out to the displaced persons scattered around the State with their heart of love and the substance of God’s blessings in their hands. As we stand together in this Christian Service, we will be helping these brethren overcome their grieves and trauma.”

“Please keep your prayers fervent and do not relent in your admonition of all in Government. ” he added 

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killings – No body would grab our land and go Scott free says Gov. Lalong  

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