Piqued by the activities of criminal elements that are causing insecurity in the state through isolated attacks and killings, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State yesterday said his administration had taken several steps to enhance the capacity of the security agencies to deal with such threats.
The governor lamented the high level of drug abuse, kidnapping and of recent ritual killings in the state, stressing that it is unacceptable as there is no hiding place for them in the state. He said he would do everything possible to end their menace.
Lalong who spoke at the interdenominational church service to mark the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day held at St Finbarr’s Catholic Church in Jos, appealed to parents and guardians to pay attention to their wards and counsel them to shun criminal activities as the security agencies have been mandated to go very tough on anyone who disrupts public peace and security.
“Government is taking serious measures to bring these vices to an end and anyone who is caught will not be spared. Already, we have laws that prescribe very stiff penalties for such crimes. Those who are found to be shielding or collaborating with criminals will be dealt with also “ he added.
Speaking on the crisis in the state, Lalong said his administration has embraced community policing to ensure early warnings, intelligence gathering and crime prevention using a bottom-top approach.
In his words, “Here on the Plateau, we have witnessed over two decades of security challenges that truncated sustainable peace and development. That is why our Rescue Administration has made peace and security a cardinal priority by investing time and resources in peace building and crime prevention.
“We have established institutions such as the Peace Building Agency, Inter-Religious Council, and the Traditional Institutions to rebuild a society that is based on peace, tolerance, dialogue and understanding.”
He stressed that his peace building efforts in the past six years have yielded positive results with most people of the state supporting efforts to engender peace and rebuild confidence in the state.
“We have sensitized our citizens to remember that our strength as a people lies in our diversity. What we should continue to do is to fight against crises merchants, criminals and enemies of peace. We must never allow them to exploit religion, ethnicity, politics and other issues to divide us,” he said.
Lalong further added that his administration recently passed a law against kidnapping, violent crimes and land grabbing, as well as revamped the Operation Rainbow.
According to him, his administration in the last five years has also provided logistics support to the Armed Forces to operate effectively, adding that some months ago, they procured and distributed many patrol vans and hundreds of security motorbikes to all security agencies in the state.
He appreciated the church in Plateau State for doing its best to not only support the security agencies through prayer and other avenues, but also collaborating and cooperating with the government in finding lasting solutions to insecurity in the state.