Jang denies link with killings during tenure



IMMEDIATE past governor of Plateau State Jonah Jang has denied that he was responsible for all the crises in Plateau State especially during his eight years tenure as governor.

The former governor, now a senator was reacting to a statement credited to the National Secretary of the Jama’atu Izalatul Bida Waikamatus Sunna (JIBWIS) Aliyu Alhassan Sangei, who has alleged, “the former governor was responsible for the killing and destruction of property in the state. The governor divided people of the state along religious lines.”

In his reaction, Jang through his Personal Assistant and Media Aide, Chris Gyang in a statement titled “JIBWIS: Stirring the hornet’s nest,” asserted that from the outset, the scribe of the JIBWIS has betrayed crass ignorance and bias regarding the crises in the state when he attributed their emergence to his person when he was governor for the past eight years.

Gyang said, “Anyone who has a full grasp of the history of Plateau State and the true underpinnings of the crises surely knows that they predated the Jang administration by far and existed in different forms even before the advent of the state as we know it today. Therefore, you abuse the intelligence of the typical Plateau person who understands his history when you tell him that the crises were caused by a single individual.”

Gyang added that Barrister Sangei’s wild claim that “Over 600 people were killed when Jang gave a ‘shoot at sight’ order” further shows his complete lack of knowledge about the workings of Nigeria’s national security establishment. “As any enlightened Nigerian would know, the Nigerian constitution vests all control over the armed forces and police in the president of the country. Therefore, where and when did the then governor give this order and to which of the branches of the armed forces? Senator Jang, the general public and especially the armed forces would be very anxious to know how a governor was able to give such an order for 600 people to be killed.”

He added, “On these scores, we should dismiss the JIBWIS secretary’s allegations as mere political mischief in the fashion of those individuals who have always made Jang-bashing and vilification a worthwhile venture. But, in order to disabuse the minds of the discerning public and show the world that people like Sangei simply manipulate religion to cover up their true motives and spread hatred, we are morally and duty bound to reply him and JIBWIS. Since they chose to stir the hornet’s nest, they should be ready to face what must logically follow.
“Their real intention is to hide their true causes and motives. In fact, it has been suggested elsewhere that it is this kind of deliberate falsehood and over-simplification to achieve self-serving goals that catapulted Boko Haram into a global brand and is daily misleading thousands of impressionable young people into its fold.”

The statement recalled that long before Boko Haram insurgency assumed dangerous dimensions, Jang had warned that terrorism was gradually gaining ground in Nigeria based on the nature the crisis was assuming on the Plateau, but he was dismissed as a hater of a particular religion. “Now, we all know better.”

“For the avoidance of doubt, at the root of these crises are very fundamental defects that are engrained in the structure and spirit of the Nigeria state. These dysfunctional elections have continually served the interests of certain entrenched forces, which Mr. Sangei represents, to the detriment of others whom Senator Jonah Jang symbolizes. Even before Jang became governor in 2007, J.D Gomwalk had made the supreme sacrifice in the pursuit of this same cause, likewise, many others.”

“In other words, these crises are a struggle for and against domination; these are violent manifestations of a sinister plot for dominance by one group and the willful struggle of the other to resist it. This is the true and larger picture JIBWIS has tried to obscure by watering it down with political sentiments,” it stressed.
“It is therefore ironical that people like Senator Jang, who have been symbols of that resistance, are today being demonized and accused by the very purveyors of the evils he has staked his life to confront. Throughout his tenure as governor, Jang agonized whenever a single life, Muslim or Christian, was lost in a crisis and continued to pursue a robust programme of peace building and its consolidation among communities which was vigorously pursued by the then Special Adviser on Peace Building, Mr. Parlong.”

“At the Senate, Jang will continue to make the search for sustainable peace in Plateau State and Nigeria as a whole topmost on his agenda. Lastly, we advice JIBWIS to always ensure that whenever they must stray into the murky waters of politics, they should endeavour to do so with a modicum of decency and strive to stand by verifiable and informed facts,” the statement concluded.

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