by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The Plateau state government has lamented that it is rather unfortunate that in the past few days, the #ENDSARS protests, which began as peacefully, have gradually degenerated to the situation where hoodlums have attacked and molested innocent citizens, who are going about their normal businesses.
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state disclosed this on Tuesday, while addressing citizens of on this development that took a new turn same Tuesday when the protests led to the destruction of properties, cars and looting of business premises along Jos Ahmadu Bello Way as well as the burning of a place of worship along Gyero Road in Bukuru. In addition, three deaths have been recorded.
According to him, “Based on this scenario, I summoned an emergency Security Council Meeting to evaluate the situation and take decisive actions to stop further escalation.
“Having received briefing from security agencies and, after a careful assessment of the situation, government is left with no choice than to impose a curfew to stop further loss of lives and properties.”
According to the governor, he has directed the imposition of a 24-hour curfew in Jos South and Jos North local government areas, with effect from 8:00 pm today (Tuesday), October 20, 2020, till further notice.
“By this directive, all forms of protests are hereby banned in the two local government areas of Jos North and Jos South,” he stated.
The governor further stated that, all public and private businesses are to shutdown activities immediately, while parents are strongly advised to rein in their children, youth and wards to forestall further breakdown of law and order.
According to him, only those on essential services will be allowed to move around to their duty posts, adding that security agencies have been directed to ensure that the curfew is enforced, as defaulters will be arrested and prosecuted.
“While the government of plateau state concedes to the constitutional rights of its citizens to undertake legitimate protests, it cannot sit and watch hoodlums take the law into their hands to cause mayhem on innocent citizens and the entire state,” he noted.
He said government has resolve and is working assiduously to maintain the peace that the people of the state have laboured hard to build over the years.
He called on the protesters to pursue the path of constructive engagement and dialogue since the government has started implementing their demands.
According to him, this action followed the inauguration the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and other related extra-judicial killings in Plateau state, headed by Justice Philomena Lot, a retired Judge of the High Court of Plateau State.
He said, this was also followed by strategic engagement with different groups and organisations, adding, “As the panel prepares to commence its sitting, it will be helpful for all those, who have complaints against members of the disbanded SARS and other police units, to take their complaints to the panel for necessary action.
The governor emphasized that his administration will also do everything possible to implement the outcome of the panel’s recommendation as it applies to its jurisdiction.
“These are difficult times that call for unity and understanding, which is needed to enable us overcome the current challenges in our march to nationhood.
“We have to stand together and avoid any act that could jeopardize our collective existence and the future of our children.
“As your governor, my administration shall continue to support the agitation for a holistic reform of the policing architecture in our country as well as advocate for further reforms towards the rapid implementation of community policing, which I have strongly canvassed for,” Lalong stated.
The governor noted that, “Plateau state cannot afford to slide back to the days of crisis, which we have substantially put behind us. Thanks to the collective efforts of all citizens, security agencies and relevant stakeholders.”