Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, has tasked residents in the state on community surveillance to fish out criminals perpetrating unrest.
The governor made the call when the North Central People’s Forum, led by General Jeremiah Hussein, paid him a courtesy visit on Tuesday at Government House, Jos.
According to reports, the visit was also to condole the governor on the recent security challenges in the state, and to install him as the patron of the forum.
Mr Lalong said communities should monitor strange persons amongst them, and also hold hosts of such persons accountable, to address the infiltration of criminals into the state.
The governor stressed his passion for security and peace, and implored Nigerians to tolerate each other irrespective of religious or ethnic affiliations, to ensure peaceful coexistence.
“The lack of tolerance causes crisis,” he said.
Mr Lalong lauded the Chairman of the North Central People’s Forum for the initiative, saying it would fast track peace and shore up development in the region.
“Whatever our challenges, it is efforts such as this, that will bring back Nigeria together.
“If there is peace in the North Central Zone, I do not think there will be insecurity in any part of the North.
“We must accept the principle of peace, which is Justice and fairness.
“We need a forum where we will put our views, respect each other and coexist peacefully while learning from success stories of each other,” he said.
The governor expressed optimism that the forum would foster unity for rapid progress, saying, “We do not want issues of separatism.”
He thanked the forum for the honour to serve as their patron, and assured them that he would garner support from the North central governors for the success of their activities.
Earlier in his remarks, the chairman of the forum, Jeremiah Useni, said that the North Central People’s Forum was established to confront the socio-economic, political and security challenges facing the region, for appropriate action.
According to Mr Useni, the forum would unite the people of Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger, Plateau and the Federal Capital Territory, for peaceful coexistence, industrialization and promotion of policies that would develop the region’s mineral resources.
He commended governor Lalong and his colleagues for their efforts against insurgency, kidnapping, banditry and other various crimes affecting the zone, while assuring them of the forum’s support.
The chairman said the forum would organise a security summit in September to discuss the region’s peculiar challenges.