by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
Traditional Rulers in Plateau State have been warned to stir clear of promoting ethno-religious hatred, injustice, disharmony or shielding criminals, as anybody found so wanting will not only be dethroned, but will be made to face the laws of the land.
In line with this order, any community leader or traditional ruler, who is unable to assist security agencies towards arresting criminals within his domain, will be held to account.
This warning was given on Tuesday by the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, at the installation and presentation of 2nd-Class Staffs of Office to their Royal Highnesses – Chief Lot Nden, as Ponzhi-Kadarko, and Alhaji Muhammad Asi Tafida, as the Aku-Jukun of Mavo Chiefdom in Wase local government of Plateau State.
While congratulating the two Chiefs and members of their Traditional Councils and the entire people of their Chiefdoms on this well-deserved installation and presentation of Second-Class Staffs of Office, the governor reminded them to bear in mind the fact that this honour is a huge burden that they must discharge with diligence, honesty, justice and the fear of God.
“As custodians of the culture and tradition of your people, I expect you to uphold the highest virtues of decency, morality as well as be a unifying factor for all the people residing in your domain,” he urged.
With the Staffs of Office in their hands, the governor said, they cease to be champions of one particular clan, tribe, denomination or religion. “You are fathers to all that reside in your domains, irrespective of where they come from,” he noted.
He cautioned them to always remember that the traditional institution has played, and will continue to play, a significant role in the peace, unity, progress and security of Plateau State.
“These are the virtues we expect you to promote and uphold, as we consolidate on the peaceful ambience we have worked hard to restore, which is bringing back Plateau to its place as the Home of Peace and Tourism,” the governor urged.
“We cannot afford to go back to the dark days of violence and insecurity. I have since read the Riot Act to all community leaders and traditional rulers to fully cooperate with relevant government establishments, security agencies and other stakeholders in fishing out criminals within their domains,” he said.
The governor further noted that, the people deserve nothing but the best, saying, “That is why we have come up with many programmes to empower them with skills for wealth creation and poverty eradication.
“We count on you to assist in mobilizing them and explaining to them these programmes and initiatives of government so they can key into them and benefit from them,” he noted.
He assured that government continues to provide necessary infrastructure and amenities in their domains, just as they are doing in various parts of the state in roads, schools, hospitals and others under its ‘Legacy Projects.’
According to him, government’s goal is to ensure that it leaves behind lasting legacies that will benefit this generation and the generation to come; and also asked the traditional rulers to join in the advocacy and awareness against COVID-19.
“As we continue to fight the pandemic, we need your support towards enlightening our people, especially now that we have commenced vaccination. You need to join us in dispelling conspiracy theories about the vaccine and sensitizing the people on observing COVID-19 protocols,” he urged.
The governor urged the citizens of Kadarko and Mavo Chiefdoms to cooperate and support their Royal Highnesses so as to create the enabling environment for them to provide purposeful leadership for development.