Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his intention to address the farmers-herdsmen violence that has claimed several lives across the country.
He described as gory and inhuman the killing of innocent people in Benue, Taraba and Zamfara states where many people were displaced and communities destroyed.
President Buhari disclosed this on Thursday during a town hall meeting and launch of the Plateau State Road Map to Peace at New Government House, Rayfield, Jos during his two day working visit to the state.
“I am concerned about the insecurity in the country that was why when I came on board in 2015, I visited Chad, Niger and other neighbouring countries to ensure mutual working relationship. What happened in Benue is quite regrettable. We are working towards addressing insecurity in the country,” the President said.
Buhari expressed sadness over the state of affairs in the country when he took over governance, and said he will recover all looted funds by past government officials.
“The damage that has been done in this country, only God will judge. I will continue to follow due process and observe human rights in the recovery of looted funds.”
He promised that he will look into public outcries about the marginalisation of women, whilst also tackling youth unemployment.
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong appealed to the President to take on with all seriousness the farmer-herdsmen conflict that has ended several lives across the country.
He lamented that scores of innocent lives were lost recently in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa and Plateau State, with several families rendered homeless and communities destroyed.
“I want to appeal that the increasing cases of violence by Fulani herders in the country need to be taken with all sense of seriousness because of the number of lives that have perished. We are happy that you made the Vice President head the committee on the Farmer-Herdsmen conflict, and we are seeing positive results,” the Governor noted.
Lalong said Plateau is hosting over 4,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Quanpan Local Government Area as a result of the deadly violence in the state.
He described the condition of the IDPs – made up of children, women and the aged – as tragic and sought the intervention of the Federal Government in settling the displaced families to their respective communities.
The Governor explained that the violent conflict that engulfed Plateau State before the inception of his administration in 2015 claimed over 7,000 lives and several communities were destroyed in most parts of the state.
Lalong commended Buhari’s campaign against corruption which has attracted international recognition, and said Plateau was following suit in the state – working in collaboration with EFCC to prosecute past government officials who have been indicted of corruption.
Lalong said the state had committed N20 billion into the construction of federal roads in Plateau and only N2 billion has been released as reimbursement, appealing to the President for the quick release of the funds for adequate intervention on most roads that have turned into death traps.
He urged the President to award the contract for the dualisation of the dilapidated Abuja-Jos road on which many travelers have died in motor crashes.
Lalong said his administration inherited a debt profile of N250 billion from the past administration, 6 months salary arrears of civil servants and 13 months pension arrears, which has since been cleared, and that the state was up-to-date in the payment of salaries.
Former Governor of Plateau State and Senator Representing Plateau Central, Joshua Dariye, assured the President of the support National Assembly members from Plateau and encouraged politicians to spur their constituents to register to vote.
He said that opposition PDP is dead in Plateau State.
Former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Chief Jethro Akun, urged the President to honour the call of Plateau elders to contest the 2019 Presidential election in view of the performance in the fight against corruption and the terror insurgency.
“Plateau elders met and decided to endorse the President and Governor Simon Lalong to contest the 2019 Presidential and Governorship elections because of your quest for peace and the fight against corruption and insurgency in the country,” he stated.