BY CHAMBERLAIN ODEY, JOS – The fragile peace in Wase Local Government Area in the southern part of Plateau state was on Friday afternoon breached following protests by some pro-establishment youths in support of the mining companies that are regularly extorted at illegal checkpoints manned by some youth groups in Bashar area of the Local Government.
It was gathered that the protesting groups insisted that Solid Unit Nigeria Limited (SUNL) and other mining companies doing legitimate business, especially in New Zurak, should not be harassed by a section of Bashar youths, who appear to be acting a script not favourable to the overall development of the area.
Accordingly, after series of meetings and consultations, they mobilised a counter force that went and engaged the illegal checkpoints operators, and attempted to disband them as the protests attracted other people among the youth population, who joined to declare support for the mining companies, and insisted that the companies be allowed to transport their goods unhindered through Bashar to other parts of the world.
As earlier reported by Forefront News, the protesting youth lauded the community development policy and programmes of SUNL, and noted that the company’s investments back in their communities have helped to improve the state of infrastructure in the areas.
The protesters argued that as a legal operator mining firm, coupled with its practical and effective community relations’ package, there should be no blocking of access between the company and the global market, noting that if the company continues in business and sustains its community development responsiveness, Bashar and the environs will be the better for it.
Though no deaths or injuries were reported, the protest is said to have disrupted the peace in Bashar town, with businesses and other social activities locked down by the protesters.