Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State has directed security agencies in the state to deal decisively with any persons or groups found to be engaged in crisis mongering and incitement of propagation of fake news and hate speech that can steer people to violence.

Lalong who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the state (SGS) Professor, Danladi Atu gave the directive at the Plateau Security and Peace Discourse organized by the Plateau Peace Building Agency (PPBA) as part of activities to commemorate the 2019 United Nations International Day of Peace which was being celebrated every September 21 each year, held at the Hill Station Hotel Jos, last Thursday.

He said that the epoch making event was to assess the agency’s performance in the on-going peace process as well as chart new paths to reinforcing measures already taken to achieving lasting peace in the state.

He commended the agency for bringing communities together as part of a broader effort to entrench peace on the Plateau, adding that the agency was established to promote the culture of peace and to also ensure a harmonious coexistence between the diverse ethnic-religious groups in the state.

Lalong noted that the agency was working closely with several stakeholders at home and abroad to deliver on its mandate of peace promotion through dialogue, education and advocacy.

He disclosed that security agencies, Civil Society Organization (CSOs) Community Based Organization (CBOs) Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) Traditional Institutions and other state actors have all contributed significantly to reducing the spate of violent conflicts in the state.

The Governor said while various strategies have been adopted in the search for lasting peace, people must however begin to pay attention to issues of transitional justice mechanisms such as forgiveness, healing and reconciliation as these were essential tools to achieving and sustaining lasting peace in the state.

He maintained that the task of building peace was usually a slow process but one that would ultimately succeed when there was cooperation and sufficient buy-in from all stakeholders, adding that he recently gave a formal approval for the commencement of operations of the Multi-Door Court House as part of the efforts to encourage dialogue and compromise.

Director General PPBA, Mr. Joseph Lengmang expressed hope and thanked all those that graced the event, saying that the occasion should serve as a reflection to all and called on all and sundry in the state to consider what binds them together as one people and as one human family .

“We need to teach our young people to become a new generation of peace, not violence and not drugs or cultism, a generation that practices compassion and service to others”, Lengmang advised.

Mr. Lengmang also said that “adults must show the young people that diversity can be embraced, not ignored, not feared; and that our differences of race, religion, ethnicity, and indeed culture can make the tapestry of mankind even more beautiful and even more rightful”.

SUNDAY STANDARD correspondent reports that the occasion featured award presentation of special recognition to the DPO of Nassarawa Gwom, SP Musa Hassan for professional approach to conflict, presentation of a Hiliux Van to the agency donated by the ALGON, key-note address by Barrister Haround Audu and discussion among others.

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