Plateau State Governor, Barr. Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang, convened the reconstituted Plateau State Elders Forum at the Banquet Hall, New Government House, Little Rayfield, Jos, on August 21, 2023, to address critical issues of unity and security. Acknowledging the elders as vital reservoirs of wisdom and experience, the governor emphasized their pivotal role in nurturing unity and peaceful coexistence within the state.
In his address to the assembly, Governor Mutfwang candidly acknowledged the challenging circumstances he inherited upon assuming office, particularly the struggling Civil Service and a budget deficit that surpassed initial expectations. He stressed the necessity of collaborative efforts to tackle these pressing matters and catalyze positive transformation across various sectors in the state.
Amid ongoing security challenges, the governor countered assertions of communal conflicts by underlining the prevalence of insurgency and terrorism. He commended the unwavering dedication of security chiefs in the pursuit of restoring tranquility. Notably, Governor Mutfwang lauded the professionalism of the new GOC and the STF commander. While he acknowledged progress in security measures, he expressed concern over sporadic recent attacks, including the tragic slaying of a couple on duty in the Hiepang community.
Addressing these challenges head-on, he stated, “We are disheartened by recent sporadic attacks, such as the heart-wrenching murder of a couple at a local high school in Hiepang. To reclaim security and ensure lasting peace, we are reinvigorating ‘Operation Rainbow,’ which is set to be fully operational within 2 to 3 weeks. Our collaboration with security agencies for the training of personnel is well underway. Moreover, we have mobilized 30 tractors through the ASTC to cultivate nearly 900 hectares, preventing abandoned lands from becoming sources of conflict.”
Governor Mutfwang revealed that 70% of May’s salaries had already been disbursed to civil servants, with the remaining payments scheduled to be completed by week’s end.
The governor placed paramount importance on unity and implored the elders to leverage their influence in fostering reconciliation among diverse communities. He highlighted that achieving harmony between communities necessitated addressing internal conflicts. He called for collective action to surmount challenges and construct a harmonious future for the plateau.
In a solemn moment, Governor Mutfwang requested a minute of silence to honor lives lost due to security challenges. While acknowledging the trials faced, he expressed optimism for a unified and peaceful plateau, emphasizing the age-old adage, “United we stand, divided we fall.” He rallied the elders to serve as agents of unity, leading the charge toward a brighter future.
Furthermore, Governor Mutfwang reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to revitalizing the state’s security network, “Operation Rainbow.” Established in 2010 to combat insecurity, this initiative is poised for comprehensive rejuvenation under his leadership. He assured that the operation, officially licensed by the Federal Government, would receive full support to ensure community protection.
He concluded by outlining plans to reinvigorate the rail system traversing Plateau, a venture synergizing with the recently inaugurated direct flight service between Jos and Abuja, offered in partnership with ValueJet Airline. The enhanced rail infrastructure aims to provide cost-effective transportation solutions, particularly benefiting marginalized populations.
Governor Mutfwang’s vision for a secure, unified, and prosperous Plateau State remains steadfast, promising transformational actions in the days ahead.