A former Governor of Plateau State and senator representing Plateau North in the National Assembly, Jonah David Jang, has dismissed his alleged indictment in the recent massacre of over 200 Berom in three local government areas of the state.
He described the allegation as ‘senseless and unreasonable’.
Jang, who spoke to journalists, in Jos, queried: “Doesn’t that sound funny that Jonah Jang, a Berom man from Plateau State is organising Fulani herdsmen to come and kill Beroms or which killings are they talking about?
“Over 200 people have been killed in some local government areas here including Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Bassa, Bokkos, Mangu and somebody is protesting in Abuja that I am behind the killings.
“So, I am the person who put the arms in the hands of Fulani herdsmen to come and kill my people so that I will be the only Berom man to live with my family or what? Does that make sense?”
The senator said that he had been hearing comments alluding many things from someone he failed to mention, and that he had directed his lawyers to write him and let him explain or else he will go and explain in the court.
He lamented that, “It is a pity that politics is turning to what it is in Nigeria. I believe that everything is being done to find a reason to incarcerate me so that I will not participate in the ongoing politics.
“I am the senator representing Plateau North. I may be re-contesting the Senate, and I may be contesting a higher position.
“That decision is in the making and the PDP is working very hard to win the election on the Plateau and I am a key figure here on the Plateau.
“So, there seems to be a very deliberate plan to get me out of the way so that I don’t participate in any of the electoral processes.
“I just want to make it very clear that if this is the way our politics is going to be, then I am sorry to say that the democracy that we worked hard for.
“I was part of the G-18, G-34, that fought for this democracy to come, and the G34 formed the PDP, and PDP nurtured democracy for 16 years.
“But now, the APC as a party has come and wants to destroy it by trying to make sure that there is no opposition.
“They want Nigeria to become a one party state, and I believe that this is a subtle way of destroying democracy in Nigeria. But by the grace of God, it will not happen.
“This democracy has come to stay, and we are going to participate fully and no amount of threat will stop us from taking over power as a party in Nigeria in 2019.”
Jang observed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not intimidate the APC. “When they won, we handed over power to them without any crises.
“Today, President Jonathan is being acknowledged as one of the greatest democrats; he did not argue, he congratulated President Buhari when it was announced that President Buhari won the election and they shook hands.”
Sen. Jang urged the APC to also be prepared to congratulate the PDP and hand over power in 2019 when its candidate wins.
He continued, “That is how democracy works. But when you say you want to start intimidating opposition so that you remain in power, it will not work in a country like Nigeria, we are not a banana republic.
“We are a nation getting to about 200 million people; the biggest black nation in the world and every black man is looking up to Nigeria to set the pace and I don’t think this is the way we can go about it.”
Jang charged the security agencies to live up to expectations, “When I took over power as Plateau Governor in 2007, this crisis was on; for eight years, I was struggling with the security to get this crisis resolved.
“Now again, it has gone into a wider dimension. We were talking about Plateau then, but now, we are talking about Plateau, Taraba, Benue, Zamfara, it is going even down to the southern part of the country.
“The security must stand up and live up to expectation. If the security is saying that the matter has gone beyond them, let the President ask the United Nations (UN) to come in.
The Senator, who was initially expected to visit some Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, on Monday, postponed the visit to enable him make the resumption of plenary in the National Assembly, on Tuesday, because would have to raise a motion on the incessant killings that have happened on the Plateau.
“I believe that if I have to go to IDP camps today, it’s not something I will just wave and say ‘sorry’ and go away. They are my people. I need to sit down, talk with them, and console them.
“So, I will go and attend the sitting tomorrow, and then come back to see the displaced people”, Jang noted.
Meanwhile, in view of the gradual restoration of peace in the state, the Plateau State Government has reviewed the curfew it imposed on three local government areas of the state last week.
A statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Rufus Bature, said, “The Executive Governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, has approved the relaxation of the earlier dusk-to-dawn curfew to 10pm to 6pm with effect from 2nd July, 2018.
However citizens are advised to exercise restraint as they go about their legitimate activities without fear of any form of molestation.”