The Plateau government says it is working hard with security agencies to check the spate of kidnaping, cultism and other forms of violent crimes in the state.
Gov. Simon Lalong said this on Sunday during a special interdenominational service organised at the Church of Christ in Nation (COCIN) Headquarters in Jos to mark the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
“I am aware of the incidences of kidnapping, cultism and other violent crimes in some parts of Plateau.
“Government is working hard with the security agencies and stakeholders to ensure that the ugly incidences are tackled,” he said.
The governor said he signed the Anti-kidnapping, Land grabbing, Cultism and Violence-related Matters bill into law to curb the menace.
“By that law, anyone convicted of kidnapping will be sentenced to death, while cultism and other violent crimes attract various terms of imprisonment,” he said.
He said his administration was committed to ensure security of lives and property, foster peaceful coexistence and also deal with crime and criminality.
Lalong expressed his confidence in the effectiveness of community policing in tackling security challenges in Nigeria.
According to him, proactiveness is required in preventing crimes through intelligence gathering and ensuring rapid response to any distress.
“In December last year, we inaugurated 595 Community Police Constables, who were trained and deployed to the 17 local government areas.
“They are expected to assist law enforcement agencies, particularly the police, in intelligence gathering and other security operations,” he said.
The governor said that security agencies also needed support and prayers to succeed in protecting lives and property and urged residents to be security conscious.
Lalong urged the public not to demonise security personnel because of the few bad eggs among them, saying they should be supported with information to aid their performance.
He said the remembrance service was in honour of the fallen heroes, “who at various times and in different circumstances, paid the supreme price to defend the nation and also promote global security through international peace support operations.”
The governor said the service was to appreciate those in service and pray for those in the battlefront, especially those in the fight against insurgency and banditry.
“As at today, the Armed Forces of Nigeria are still actively engaged in internal security operations around the country, fighting insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities.
“Here in Plateau, the armed forces have equally made significant sacrifices in ensuring that we address issues of insecurity.
“We also appreciate members of the Nigerian Legion for their resilience in serving the nation even in retirement. We shall continue to support you,” he said.
He urged Plateau people to continue to pray for the release of Rev. Polycarp Zongo of COCIN, who has been in captivity for months.
He said the state and the Church were collaborating with the Federal Government to ensure that Zongo regained his freedom.
The governor thanked the church for its prayers for the armed forces, saying “Things may not be as good as we desire at the moment, but we have to remain hopeful and work for a better tomorrow”.
In a remark, the state Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Col. Sati Yilwat (Rtd.), called for prayers and support for the families of the fallen heroes.
Yilwat thanked spiritual leaders and traditional leaders for their prayers for them to succeed and promoting peaceful coexistence in their various communities.
Also, the Vice President of COCIN, Rev. Obed Dashan, said the day provided an opportunity to reflect and celebrate the efforts of the armed forces in fighting for the nation’s sovereignty.
Rev. Fr. Polycarp Lubo, the state Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said the service was to pray and honor members of the armed forces, who sacrificed their lives for the country.