The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State has described Governor Simon Lalong as a man who has lost his conscience, saying “with this continuous shameful outpouring and vituperations, our supposed dear Governor lost his conscience”.
The PDP through its Publicity Secretary, John Akan was reacting to Governir Simon Lalong’s claim that farmers like herdsmen carry AK47 rifles.
It would be recalled that Governor Simon Lalong, chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum had on Tuesday said Fulani herdsmen alone should not be singled out for blame for carrying AK-47 as farmers are also guilty of the same offence.
Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed had incurred the wrath of Nigerians last week when he said herdsmen are compelled to carry AK-47 and other firearms for self-defence.
However, speaking on Channels Television programme ‘Sunrise Daily’, Lalong said an investigation by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum also showed that farmers also carry AK-47 and other firearms for protection.
According to him when the farmers-herdsmen crisis occurred in Plateau state, both herdsmen and farmers were arrested with AK-47.
He said, “I am not justifying anybody carrying AK-47 but don’t forget in the cause of our deliberations and investigations, it was not only Fulanis that were carrying AK-47, but even farmers are also carrying AK-47.
“Farmers are also carrying AK-47 because when you talk about them, it is just a proliferation of arms with respect to guiding and everybody trying to protect himself. We shouldn’t allow people to have self-help. When they talk about AK-47, I have not seen anybody talk about that.
“But at the time there were farmers-herdsmen clashes here, we arrested people. Farmers were holding AK-47 and the herdsmen were also holding AK-47.
“So, if you want all of them not to hold AK-47, you must put deliberate efforts towards curtailing the influx of light arms and secondly, to also find ways of taking these people away from their old ways of farming and then introduce them into the modern system” he maintained.
However, the PDP Spokesman said, “It is indeed another sad and shameful moment for the people of Plateau state, as the man saddled with the mandate of Governorship, Barr. Simon Bako Lalong a lawyer who has attained high status both in church and the society as the former Speaker has now turned to a tout and a yesman.
“This is a clear indication that with this continuous shameful outpouring and vituperations, our supposed dear Governor has lost his conscience and we believe his attitude is pointing to the known fact that the APC led administration in the state is not only insensitive to the plight of the people, but they are out to destroy the heritage of Plateau, that’s why Mr. Lalong keeps disgracing himself thinking he is serving his master(s) diligently.
“It is very unfortunate that Plateau never got it this bad before, this is really sad for this great land, we are loosing our youths, women and children as a result of bandits/herdsmen attack, yet our Governor is still singing praises on the graves of the victims of gruesome murder, siege and land grabbing”, he lamented.
Akans said the Governor ought to resign from his position as, “it is clear that he is not competent to remain as Governor of our dear Plateau state”.
According to him, “The Peoples Democratic Party is not surprised by such disgraceful outpouring coming from a man that has since sold his conscience for his personal depravity of life against his people.
“It is sad and horrible to experience another statement from our accidental Governor of Plateau State Barr. Simon Bako Lalong, on Channels TV “Sunrise Daily” 23/02 /2021 where the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum labeled our hardworking farmers as gun wielding people.
“As a political party that is people centred we find this statement self-serving, derogatory, unpatriotic, misleading, malicious, satanic and not only a big lie but aiming at causing more disaffection to already fragile relationship between farmers and herders”, he explained.
The Publicity Secretary further stated that, it was obvious that the Governor has abandoned the herculean task of governance, but instead has taken to making unguarded statements.
“Governor Lalong’s submission on national television does not in any way reflect the position of Plateau people but his personal interest”, he stressed.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the Plateau wish to caution Governor Lalong’s bad intentions against the peace, loving and hardworking farmers.
“We call on him to desist from lying and employing the hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob.
The PDP added that the Governor’s behaviour has not only destroyed APC in the state, “but it is aimed at destroying the cultural values and heritage of Plateau people, this alone is a worthy call for Plateau leaders, critical stakeholders both traditional and religious to come together and save the soul of Plateau” indeed a soup cooked with the firewood of treachery will erupt to wipe out the flames”.
It would also be recalled that the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in the State said that no farmer in the state has been reported or arrested with AK 47.
Chairman of the Association in the state, John Wuyep said, “Carrying AK-47 is a big offence, farmers in the state are law abiding, they go about their business peacefully .
“So far in Plateau, there has been no case of any farmer caught with AK 47 or any weapon”, he maintained.