My dear citizens of Plateau State. I am addressing you today on the recent developments in our State following the #ENDSARS protests that have been going on across the country and in some parts of the State.
Government has watched closely these protests which are normal in a democracy that guarantees the rights of citizens to ventilate their grievances over any matter.
However, it is rather unfortunate that in the past few days, the #ENDSARS protests which began as peacefully have gradually degenerated to the situation where hoodlums have attacked and molested innocent citizens who are going about their normal businesses.
This development took a new turn on Tuesday 20th October 2020 when the protests led to the destruction of properties, cars and looting of business premises along the Ahmadu Bello way as well as the burning of a place of worship along Gyero Road in Bukuru. In addition, three deaths have been recorded.
Based on this scenario, I summoned an emergency Security Council Meeting to evaluate the situation and take decisive actions to stop further escalation.
Having received briefing from security agencies and after a careful assessment of the situation, Government is left with no choice than to impose a curfew to stop further loss of lives and properties.
Accordingly, I have directed the imposition of a 24-hour curfew in Jos South and Jos North Local Government Areas with effect from 8:00 pm today Tuesday, October 20, 2020 till further notice. By this directive, all forms of protests are hereby banned in the two Local Governments Areas of Jos North and Jos South.
Furthermore, all public and private businesses are to shutdown activities immediately while parents are strongly advised to rein in their children, youth and wards to forestall further breakdown of law and order. Only those on essential services will be allowed to move around to their duty posts.
Security agencies have been directed to ensure that the curfew is enforced as defaulters will be arrested and prosecuted.
While the Government of Plateau State concedes to the constitutional rights of its citizens to undertake legitimate protests, it cannot sit and watch hoodlums take the law into their hands to cause mayhem on innocent citizens and the entire State.
I wish to reiterate the resolve of our administration in working assiduously to maintain the peace that the people of the State have laboured hard to build over the years.
Let me again call on the protesters to pursue the path of constructive engagement and dialogue since the Government has started implementing their demands.
Only yesterday, I inaugurated the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and other related extra-judicial killings in Plateau State, headed by Justice Philomena Lot, a retired Judge of the High Court of Plateau State. This was also followed by strategic engagement with different groups and organisations.
As the panel prepares to commence its sitting, it will be helpful for all those who have complaints against members of the disbanded SARS and other police units to take their complaints to the panel for necessary action. Our administration will also do everything possible to implement the outcome of the panel’s recommendation as it applies to its jurisdiction.
Fellow citizens, these are difficult times that call for unity and understanding which is needed to enable us overcome the current challenges in our march to nationhood. We have to stand together and avoid any act that could jeopardize our collective existence and the future of our children.
As your Governor, my administration shall continue to support the agitation for a wholistic reform of the policing architecture in our country as well as advocate for further reforms towards the rapid implementation of community policing which I have strongly canvassed for.
Plateau State cannot afford to slide back to the days of crisis which we have substantially put behind us thanks to the collective efforts of all citizens, security agencies and relevant stakeholders.
God bless Plateau State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Rt. Hon. (Dr.) Simon Bako Lalong, KSGG.
Executive Governor, Plateau State
20th October 2020.