By: Valentine Adese, Alfred Saiki and Reuben Egbah,
It is not debatable that peace has returned to Plateau State, Nigeria, especially, with the forceful comments of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the state administration, led by Governor Simon Bako Lalong in several fora.
One achievement that has been made more public by Governor Lalong’s administration and the ruling party in the past two and half years is the return of peace to the state.
It is also a fact that, owing to the return of peace to the state, communities are expected to be livelier and boosting with socio-economic activities.
It is also expected that, with the much drummed peace in the state, as celebrated by the administration, residents in the 17 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and the communities around them should have started sleeping with their two eyes closed.
However, from REALITY investigation, these expectations have turned out not to be so!
First, is the fact that, immediately the Lalong led administration insisted that peace has returned to the state, the level of security concern and response dropped. In some cases, threats and attacks in the state are been treated as, “One of those isolated issue(s)”, since the matter of securing the state and enforcing peace is already out of the drawing board.
Hence, the alarm raised by the government through the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC), that there are palpable security threats towards the now botched Local Government elections in the state, earlier slated for 17th February, 2018, may need more efforts to push the desired response from the security outfits and operatives.
Secondly, the mere mention that peace has finally returned to Plateau State by the duo, the comment drove away foreign Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) attention from the state. They now are looking at states like Benue, Borno, Zamfara, Kaduna, among other crisis and attack prone states.
Furthermore, to suggest that the Federal Government would still put Plateau State as desirable states that need direct security concern/assistance, after the claim that peace has returned to the state would be a far hope, as the just established Operation Cat Dance, does not have Plateau in its list of coverage areas.
As a chain reaction, the pulling out of these NGOs from the state has also further created loss of jobs that is directly affecting the economy and the individual per-capital income, ability to pay tax and buying power.
Far reaching, is the disagreement in the assessment of the state of peace in the state, between the residents, the government and the Governor. These differences as observed by REALTY during the conduct of the investigation, allows the rumour mills to gain more materials and makes information from that industrial sector to destabilize the state anytime information is disseminated from there.
Pundits who tend to agree with these finds, have opined that, “What the government must address from these observed facts, would be for it to go back to the drawing board to reassess the situation and be on the same page with the victims of the crises, the security outfits operating in the state among others in order not to make the state more vulnerable than it certainly is now.”