BY CHAMBERLAIN ODEY, JOS – Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong, said preliminary assessment of the public and private property destroyed by violent #EndSARS protesters in Jos last week stands at over 75 billion Naira.
Lalong said the massive destruction affected both public and private property, with about 32 buildings property spread across Jos North and Jos South Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the State.
Addressing a youth parley at Government House Jos on Friday, Barrister Lalong said; “These are very challenging times for the nation and for our State because of recent events which have left us counting our losses. Lives have been lost, property destroyed, and the voices of the youths loudly and clearly heard across the nation and beyond”.
He used the opportunity to commiserate with the families that lost loved ones and others who have suffered injuries or lost property as a result of the protests.
The governor recalled that “despite efforts to meet with the #EndSARS protests here in Plateau State, no one agreed to engage the government as the protesters claimed that they had no leaders”. He regretted that “this continued despite our appeal for the protests to end and the path of dialogue adopted”.
According to him, the government had warned about the possibility of the protests being hijacked by “hoodlums and criminals who will want to hide under the situation to cause havoc”, regretting that “sadly, this was exactly what happened on Tuesday, October 20, when violence errupted and led to the destruction of lives and property in Jos and Bukuru metropolis”.
He said; “government was left with no option than to take the painful decision of imposing a curfew in Jos North and Jos South LGAs in order to stop further destruction of lives and property.”
Governor Lalong, who urged the youths to reappraise their position and make meaningful contributions to nation building, further said; “my dear youths of Plateau State, we have gathered here in continuation of our consultations with stakeholders towards our journey to progress and development”.
Noting that the engagement with the youths was supposed to come up earlier, the governor said the effort “was obstructed by the uncertainties that arose because of the #ENDSARS protests and subsequent disturbances.”
To commemorate the engagement with the youths, Governor Lalong commissioned a new auditorium in the Government House, and named it Mrs Victoria Gowon Auditorium.
He said Mrs Gowon stood effectively by her husband, General Yakubu Gowon when, as a youth, he took charge of the affairs of this country.