Following the long civil unrest that brought the very essence of livelihood to standstill for over a decade in Jos, Plateau State, residents of the hilly Plateau region have described the current peaceful atmosphere in the state capital as a dream they thought will never come true after the crisis that engulfed the state in 2001.
A political observer who once lived in Jos and left as a result of the crisis, ran into our correspondent in the cause of filling this report on a stop-over visit to hangout on democracy day which was a public holiday narrates thus: “My growing up days was full of fun and excitement. This memorable experience was characterised in the peaceful, friendly and cozy environment in Jos. There is no gain saying that the Tin City has the best weather in Nigeria.
“I arrived Jos at the Yakubu Gowon Airport on board Arik Air, full of nostalgia and apprehension, I looked forward to an evening of relaxation after a one hour flight. Around 7pm, I took a walk around the city, expecting to see burnt houses and dilapidated structures as a result of the theatre of incessant crisis that had bedeviled the state.
“I was rather disappointed when I saw the large number of white guests in the lobby, the restaurant and bar, with street lights on the major roads, suddenly my impression was reshaped that things are back to normal. The following morning and until I left the state, I couldn’t believe how much the city of Jos and indeed the Plateau had changed into a city that can be best described as the once peaceful city that we all use to know”, he said.
However, the Commissioner for Special Duties, Hon. Hitler Dadi, who was also a former Chairman of Langtang South, told The Daily Times that the first achievement of Governor Lalong haven stayed one year in office is the current peace being enjoyed by all in Plateau.
Hon. Dadi said before Lalong came on board, people were not safe as the fear of insecurity torments an average man that lives in Plateau. But all that are now in the past even as investors are now coming to see areas where they can invest.
His words: “Can you make any meaningful achievement without peace?, consolidating on peace, the governor has gone ahead to complete all the inherited projects of the previous administration. He is not looking at who started the project, he is more mindful on the importance of the projects to the Plateau people”, Hon. Dadi said.
He praised Gov. Lalong for achieving so much in the midst of dwindling resources saying that at the end of his tenure, he will be vindicated.
Similarly, Hon. Shehu Usman, the Secretary of Management Committee, Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau, attributed the success gained in the area of peace to the all inclusive system of government employed by the Lalong administration.
Hon. Usman said the pitfall of the previous administration was the inability to carry along every ethnic group represented on the Plateau, to be part and parcel of governance. He stated that the cabinet members of the Lalong administration represent the true picture of what can be best described as all inclusiveness.
He further advised that for the current peace being enjoyed in the state to be sustained, the current principle of all inclusiveness should be maintained.
Hon. Usman also fingered proliferation of small and light arms as well as the high consumption of illicit drugs as a menace that need to be checked and brought under control by security agencies if the current peace being enjoyed in Plateau is to sustained.
However, Governor Lalong in one of his public functions stated that the attainment of peace on the Plateau was achieved by the tireless efforts of security agencies that have worked closely with him.
The appointment of a new Coordinator for Operation Rainbow, a state owned security outfit, Retired Maj.-Gen. Steven Guar, has hitherto addressed most of the security challenges being experienced in the hinterlands.
Guar said that the collaboration of all security agencies in Plateau contributed largely to the success of peaceful coexistence being witnessed today.
He lauded the Special Task Force (STF) being currently headed by Major General Tagbo Ude for his strategic collaboration in arresting the big issue of farmers and Fulani herdsmen face-off in the hinterlands.
Gen. Ude as a matter of necessity had earlier placed a ban on movement of cattle and herdsmen from 7pm to dawn in Plateau and parts of Bauchi State under its jurisdiction.
Also, the mandatory compensation of destruction of farmland and rustling of cattle put in place by the STF otherwise known as Operation Safe Haven has in no doubt necessitated the tolerance between herdsmen and farmers which has in return contributed to the celebration of peace currently being experienced in Plateau today.