By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Abuja, Jan. 10, 2020
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, says the 19 Northern states have gone far in their efforts to introduce community policing in the region.
Lalong spoke with State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said he was at the Presidential Villa to brief the president on security issues in Plateau, particularly the Jan. 9 attack in which 13 people died in Mangu Local Government Area, and the efforts being made to contain the situation.
Lalong said that his timely intervention and presence in the villages where the attack and reprisals occurred helped in restoring calm in the area.
On the new security move by the South-West, tagged “Amotekun’’ Lalong said that the North had made serious arrangements on community policing.
“When you talk about North Central, I am the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum; I think we have taken a decision sometimes last year; when this issue came, you understand, at one time, I met the president; and we told him what we are doing.
“We set up committees and the committees have worked very hard; we started our meetings even from the North-West; we had a meeting in Katsina; we are going back to have another meeting in the North-Central.
“ The situation in the South may not be the same in the North but in the North, we are also looking at some ways we will also address these issues.
“So, we have gone ahead to put in committees and those committees have done their work and we are now expecting to have a meeting to address the issues and look at ways of addressing these issues once and for all.
`Two, in the North, we have also agreed to key into community policing; at the level of the committee, they are already very far; each state is already neck deep in respect to community policing; the one in the South, I have not read the document.’’
The governor said that investigation into the Mangu attack confirmed that it started when a group of cattle rustlers took away over 100 cows.
He said that the rustlers were stopped by the youths who rescued more than 100 cows and arrested no fewer than four of the rustlers who were taken to the police station.
“It is like the rustlers who escaped; part of them came back and started attacking and killing people in the villages.
“It was quite unfortunate; at the time they got there, security too got there; I must say the security personnel did very well because they were also there otherwise the level of casualties would have been much.
“Those people had heavy arms and the youths had no arms but they did their best; two of them sacrificed their lives and the next thing before I got there was that the people were beginning to do reprisal attack.
“So, by the time of the reprisal attack, about three people were killed; so, it makes a total of about 13 people.
“We were able to address the people and the people understood and they are very calm.
“Life has gone back to normal but investigation is still going on and we have put in heavy eyes on security to follow and get the culprits,’’ he said.
Lalong said that the state had not witnessed cattle rustling or kidnapping for a long time; adding that the latest incident would make him re-strategise.