FOLLOWING increasing insecurity in Plateau State, the Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) in Plateau, on Monday warned residents against taking the law into their hands in the guise of self-defence, Major Ishaku Takwa, the Media Officer of the task force gave the warning in a statement issued in Jos, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.
Takwa faulted the consistent call on residents of the state to defend themselves, saying such calls would escalate the security challenges bedevilling the state.
“We have noted several reports in the media by some highly placed individuals calling on law-abiding citizens of Plateau to resort to defending themselves in the face of the security challenge experienced in the state.
“We wish to assure the good people of the state that OPSH is committed to protecting lives and properties of all.
“We have improved on our responses to distress calls and several attacks were prevented from happening lately.
“We, therefore, urge law-abiding citizens of the state not take laws into their hands but to continue to provide us with such information to enable us to protect communities from attacks,’’ he stated. In a similar development, Governor Simon Lalong has threatened that anyone who fails to follow lawful means to settle their grievances should be ready for a showdown with government, saying the administration will never tolerate killings and destruction of properties under any guise.
The governor in his state broadcast on Monday condemned comments and utterances of some citizens including religious, political and community leaders from within and outside the state who rather than calm nerves and join hands with the government to ensure the quick restoration of peace, resorted to dishing out ethno-religious sentiments that further created tensions.
He thanked the governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar Bagudu who led a delegation of the Progressives Governors Forum to condole with the state and make donations to victims adding that the governor demonstrated exemplary solidarity by declining to join the panic rush of evacuating students from the University of Jos (UNIJOS) by some state governments.
Governor Lalong further assured parents of students studying at UNIJOS that the state government is working with the university authorities to ensure the safety of their wards as soon as the school reconvenes.
“In the same vein, I have assured the management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) that the government will partner with them to guarantee the safety of corps members posted to the state.”
According to him, the curfew in Jos North is relaxed beginning from Monday, but the curfew shall be enforced from 6:00 p.m to 6:00 a.m until further notice while the curfew in Jos South and Bassa, the curfew will be enforced between 10:00 p.m and 6:00 a.m until further notice.
“The ban on Tricycles (Keke NAPEP) and hawkers remains in force within Jos/ Bukuru metropolis. The Plateau Economic and Investment Summit earlier scheduled for September 1 and 2 has been postponed. A new date will be announced and communicated to all our invitees.
“We are facing a very difficult moment and we must work together to overcome. There is an obvious plan by those who desire to see Plateau in perpetual crises to employ all divisive methods to achieve their objectives. We must not allow them to use politics, religion, and ethnicity to divert our attention from their criminal activities”
Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has condemned in strong terms, the crisis that erupted in Jos, leading to the gruesome killings, especially of some innocent students of UNIJOS. NANS president, Comrade Sunday Asefon, who addressed news conference on Monday in Abuja on the security situation in the country, called on government at all levels, security agencies to ensure that justice is adequately served and perpetrators are brought to book. He also demanded compensation for the families of the slain students, noting, however, that the loss of innocent Nigerian students in the last few days could not be quantified.
NANS, therefore, condoled with the people and government of the state, the families of the slain students and promised to stand by them as they navigate this difficult time. Asefon said NANS was worried about the growing attacks on schools and kidnapping of students for ransom, disclosing plans by the student body to convene a Students National Security Summit on October 28 to be held in Abuja He said the summit became imperative in the effort to finding alternative, innovative, creative, and students friendly solutions to the challenge of school and campus security in Nigeria.
While calling on all state governments to ensure their students are evacuated from Jos, Asefon called on the government of Plateau State to go all out to restore peace and sanity to the state and also ensure that families who suffered loss of lives, properties, valuables, and means of livelihood are supported by every resource available to the state to enable them to begin process of healing.
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