Opposition against the conduct of the local council’s polls scheduled for Saturday, October 9 throughout Plateau state has continued to mount with increasing tension as the scheduled day draws nearer.
Anti-riot police took over the under the bridge by the Secretariat Junction fly-over as early as 6am to frustrate plans and strong mobilization by women to initiate a mass protest from the same area against the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) and reinforced by a technical rule of the court to stop the PDP from participating in the forthcoming LG polls.
There were also strategic deployments of the police and other security personnel to critical areas of the Jos Metropolis such as Bukuru, Terminus Area, Hill Station junction, Gada Biyu, and Bauchi Road as it was learned that security report indicates “vulnerability and danger” of possible breakdown of law and order.
In a press conference on Wednesday, a group under the aegis of “Concerned Elders of Plateau”, called on the state government not to go ahead with the elections as scheduled, noting that the security situation especially in Jos North, Bassa, Jos East, Jos South.
The statement, signed by Elder Dr. Dachollom D. Jambol, said “you will recall that following the breach of the peace which led to the killing of no fewer than 38 people in the Yelwa Zangan community, a village behind the University of Jos while the 24-hour curfew imposed by the PLSG was still subsisting, State governments and parents of students across the entire country had to make emergency arrangements to evacuate their children.
“While we do not pray for any re-occurrence of the mindless violence that necessitated the closure of the University, we strongly insist that any event that could result in a breach of the peace in the State, or any part thereof, be postponed to allow students finish their 2019/2020 academic year without any threat to their lives,” the statement read.
The Concerned Elders added that “our demand is justified by the contentious history of local government elections in the State from 1999 to date. It is on record that these elections have most of the time resulted in violence”.
The group also called on the Plateau state government to “show more empathy towards the situation of numerous indigenous communities who are still living in IDP camps, having been displaced from their ancestral homes due to the violence unleashed on them by land grabbers. It will be a great betrayal to disenfranchise these thousands of people by being in a haste to conduct elections”.
“We are informed that the election expenses were not captured in the 2021 Appropriation Law. We are also informed that no supplementary budget has been presented to the State House of Assembly to appropriate funds for this crucial public expenditure”. The group asked for who is actually funding the elections.