Following the alleged grievances of Land grabbing and unlawful arrest which led to the Saturday morning protest and road blocking by Youths of Angwan Rukuba community, in Jos North Local Government Area in Plateau State,
The Chairman of Jos North L.G.A, Shehu Bala, has in a press statement through the senior information officer, Philip Eplong, called for peace and promised to settle the hospital bills of the youths injured during the faceoff.
The statement went on to explain the given circumstance which led to the arrest of Youths of Anaguta extract at the secretariat of the council and later degenerated to the Agwan Rukuba Protest (HERE) on Saturday morning.
Read Statement as issued by Jos North LGA:
It has come to the attention of the Chairman, Jos North Management Committee, of fresh attempts to disrupt the government’s moves to settle the land dispute going on for years at the East of Bauchi Ring Road orchestrated by some few trouble makers parading themselves as representatives of a tribal group in Jos North.
When the land dispute reared its ugly head again, the Chairman, immediately set up an all-encompassing fact-finding committee to look into the problem and make recommendations to the government on how to settle the dispute. The ten-man Committee carried out its assignment successfully and only submitted a report after working for months on Wednesday 17th February. While the Jos North Local Govt was set to study the report and implement the recommendation, certain youths were reported to have taken the law into their hands and started demolition of houses on the disputed land. On getting the news of this lawlessness, the chairman alerted the police who were drafted there immediately to restore law and order and keep the peace.
The youths became more unruly and violent which led to reinforcement from men of the Operation Safe Haven.
On getting the report of the behaviour or the Anaguta youths, the chairman promptly summoned a meeting of all stakeholders, including the representatives of the Anaguta Community at his office. In that meeting, representatives of the Anaguta were allowed time to vent their grievances and the chairman assured all that justice will be done to all affected without fear or favour.
Unknown to the Chairman, security men have made some arrest of those there were violent and overzealous in the demolition of buildings at East of Bauchi Ring Road. Those arrested at the scene mentioned that those that instigated them were in a meeting with the chairman at the Jos North Local Govt Council secretariat. Sadly, those mentioned were picked up within the secretariat after the meeting. Attempts by the Chairman to plead on their behalf was unsuccessful.
The chairman took the matter up with heads of security in Jos insisting that the dispute can best be resolved through dialogue. When the chairman learnt that some of the youths sustained minor injuries at the scene of the incidence at Bauchi Ring Road and were recurving medical attention at Plateau Specialist Hospital Jos, he rushed there to see them and settled all their medical bills.
The Chairman assured all peace-loving citizens of Jos North and the state at large that he will not allow anyone no matter how highly placed to set the hands of the clocks of peaceful coexistence achieved by the rescue administration backwards. The cardinal principle of the Chairman stewardship of affairs of Jos North since he assumed office is centred around justice and fair play. He will not relent on this no matter the intimation.
Already, machineries are set in motion to fully unearth the brains behind these fresh attempts to cause disaffection and breach of the peace in Jos North using the land dispute at the East of Bauchi Ring Road as an excuse. The chairman is aware of some text and social media messages already in circulation that are capable of causing the breach of peace. Those behind it will be fished out and dealt with according to the law.
The council will take every measure necessary with the helping of the state government and all security agencies in the state to ensure peace in Jos North.
Issues of land grabbing within Bauchi road has been an issue that successive Governments are yet to address and it is now a time bomb waiting to explode. With early warning signals on the likelihood of crisis that will emanate from the Anaguta youths and the settlers encroaching on the land.
The Governor Simon Lalong administration has passed legislation on land grabbing and anti-kidnapping, but no prosecution has been effected on defaulters yet. Government and locals must come to a round table in order to forestall future disputes that will escalate into any form of violent conflict.