By Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
In his efforts to domesticate community policing in Plateau State to help stem the resurgence of attacks in communities across the state, Governor Simon Lalong has conveyed an enlarged peace and security dialogue meeting, with a view to bringing forward practical and proactive measures in stemming the tide of the attacks.
The governor said the dialogue seeks to find ways of undertaking a wholistic overview of the prevailing security challenges bedevilling the state, through a specific reference to a community policing model.
Lalong disclosed this while delivering a keynote address at the Stakeholders Peace and Security Community Dialogue held at the banquet hall, new Government House, little Rayfield, Jos, the state capital.
He said, “It is with mixed feelings that I address you today at this Stakeholders Peace, Security and Community Dialogue, holding here at the Government House.
“I say with mixed feelings because this in one type of stakeholders meeting that we were almost relegating to the dustbin of history considering how hard we have toiled to ensure the return of peace to our State since our coming into office.
“Sadly, we are compelled to hold this meeting once again instead of ordinarily coming together to celebrate peaceful coexistence and prosperity of our land and its good people, as we were looking forward to during the forthcoming Forgiveness Day,” he lamented.
The Governor recalled the unfortunate events of last month in Kulben, Kombun District in Mangu Local Government Area, as well as that of Kwatas in Bokkos Local Government which claimed over 30 precious lives of innocent citizens with many injured and properties destroyed, saying “is most unfortunate and a bitter pill to swallow.”
“It is difficult to comprehend this carnage because the two events appear to be deliberately orchestrated to test the resolve of our administration in bringing back peace to the State and also undermining the security and safety of our people who are simply going about earning their livelihoods.
“Like I said both during my visit to Kulben and during the meeting with Local Government Chairmen, Community leaders, Traditional Rulers and Ardos after the Kwatas killings, the dark days of pain, tears and sorrow will never be allowed to return to Plateau State again.
“That is why we directed that the community leaders and Ardos be invited and questioned with a view to assisting the security agencies with information that will lead to the arrest of the killers. They are not ghosts.
“I am happy that this directive has been acted upon, and sooner than later, those killers will be unmasked and brought before the law to answer for their crimes. While that is going on, we must look ahead and seek ways to forestall reoccurrence.
On why the dialogue meeting was convened, Lalong said, “That is why I have convened this enlarged Peace and Security Dialogue with the theme: (Domestication of Community Policing IN Plateau State: Exploring Indigenous Options) with a view to putting forward practical and proactive measures that will address these unacceptable attacks.
According to him, “The dialogue seeks to explore ways towards undertaking a wholistic overview of the prevailing security challenges in the State, with specific reference to a community policing model that can better respond to public safety and security.
He further explained that, “You will recall that the Inspector General of Police last month met with Governors of the North Central States in Lafia – Nasarawa State, for a Security Summit where we adopted Community Policing as a better tool to dealing with the security situation in our geo-political zone.
“At today’s dialogue therefore, I expect that we shall engage in frank, open and solution-driven interaction that will enable us key into the Community Policing Model in dealing with our security situation more effectively.
“We should also examine what the conventional security agencies such as the Police, State Security Service, Operation Safe Haven, Civil Defence and related agencies are doing in securing lives and properties in the State.
“Since virtually every relevant stakeholder is here today, I expect that the discussions will be honest, frank and capable of leading us to a safer Plateau State that thrives on respect for human lives, good neighbourliness, tolerance, justice and forgiveness.” he stressed.