Gov Simon Lalong 3rd left, Sultan of Sokoto Alh Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, Gbong Gwonm Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba and other dignataries, at the 2nd National peace summit held in Jos, on Friday
By Martha Agas
Jos – Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has cautioned religious, traditional, political and opinion leaders against using inciteful and divisive languages in their statements which could cause unrest in the society.
Lalong made the call on Friday in Jos at the 2nd National Summit on Peaceful Coexistence and Nation Building, organised by Dawah Coordination Council of Nigeria (DCCN)
He said many followers held their leaders in high esteem and respected them as role models, and urged the leaders to preach love and tolerance and not hatred, to ensure peaceful coexistence.
He said the theme of the Summit: “Leadership and Good Governance: Bedrock for Peaceful Coexistence” was apt and relevant to the current challenges in the country.
“We must not always exploit the fault lines of politics, religion and ethnicity which can easily make us derail and create disharmony among the people.
“If we do justice to all irrespective of differences, there will be peace and progress. Anything contrary, will make us slide deeper into chaos, “the governor said.
He said the responsibilities of every good leader was to bridge the gap and reduce the factors that triggered mistrust, hatred and bigotry between different ethnic nationalities and religious adherents.
He said this could only be possible with genuine commitment to truth, justice, faithfulness and compliance to the oath of office and the Constitution of the country.
“Another area where leadership and good governance needs to be critically looked at is the management of public resources in a prudent, accountable and equitable manner. This will facilitate the creation of jobs and economic opportunities as well as reducing crime,” he said.
Lalong said Plateau had in the last four years reduced wasteful spending, ensured transparency and created many jobs through the Plateau Small and Medium Enterprises Agency (PLASMEDA) and other agencies.
“At the end of last year, the National Bureau of Statistics declared Plateau State as the second least corrupt State in the country. We intend to be number one in the next report by the Grace of God,”he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar lll, cautioned religious leaders against hate speeches and preaching inciteful messages.
He commended Lalong for his efforts to restore peace in the state, saying peace building was critical to the development of the state.
In his remarks, the National President, DCCN, Malam Mohammed Maidoki , said the objective of the summit was to create a platform for critical stakeholders of peace to make conscious efforts for security and peaceful coexistence.
Maidoki said the organisation had been promoting peace for the past two decades and condemned the recent attacks in Bokkos and Mangu local government areas of the state during which more than 30 lives were lost, saying violence affected everyone.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the governor had during the day also hosted the Second Annual Plateau Day of Forgiveness and Reconciliation where he called for harmonious coexistence irrespective of ethnic and religious differences.
At the event which was organised by the state’s Peace Building Agency (PBA), Lalong said the state was making efforts to find a new narrative that did not only prevent conflict but also encouraged dialogue
“On a day such as this, therefore, I stand before you by the grace of God as the Governor and Chief Executive of Plateau State to on behalf of all the good people of our dear state, ask for forgiveness from everyone who has suffered one loss or the other,”he said.