By Chimezie Godfrey
A group, Make Jos Great Again Forum (MJGA) has called on the government to redouble efforts to prevent and forestall future ethnic and religious crises and conflicts in Jos, the capital of Plateau state.
The Forum in a statement decried the fact that Jos which used to be a great city characterised by peaceful co-existence is to a large extent no longer the case.
Make Jos Great Again (MJGA) is a Forum composed of men and women from all walks of life, cutting across different ethnic and religious creeds, who in time past lived in the city of Jos, the capital of Plateau state.
Many of the members at some time relocated and settled in different parts of the country such as Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Benue etc. Yet members continue to reminisce on the serene, hospitable, beautiful and social life that characterized Jos in their youthful days.
The Forum disclosed that as a group, they lived together in peace and harmony for a considerable number of years, before and in the 1960s, 1970s,
1980s, 1990s to date.
According to them, they enjoyed social, economic, educational and working experience in the great city of Jos.
“Regrettably, Jos which used to be a great city of peace characterised by peaceful co-existence is to a large extent no longer the case.
“Jos city, the envy of all, has since 2001 witnessed several ethnic and religious crises and conflicts which displaced some of its inhabitants, eroded the feeling of brotherliness, created suspicion and animosity among the people and brought the once great city of glory down to its knees.
“For the past six (6) years, Plateau state has been enjoying relative peace, courtesy of the efforts of the present state Government until recently when there was a resurgence of violence resulting in loss of lives andproperty.
“On August 14, 2021 there was an unfortunate incident that occurred along Rukuba Road in Jos the state capital, where several lives were lost.
“The attack on commuter buses that were transiting through the state capital was alleged to be retaliatory to an earlier mayhem that occurred in Miango and some other parts of Bassa Local Government Area. Worse still, few days later, there was another apparent reprisal
attack at Yelwan Zangam in Jos North Local Government Area, resulting in loss of lives and property.
“The decisive action of the State Government which quickly moved in with restrictive measures greatly helped in dousing tension, preventing further escalation of the crises and restoring sanity.
“The cycle of crises, conflicts and disputes
in the state is generally characterised by attacks and reprisal attacks amongst the people that hitherto coexisted in complete peace and harmony for ages.
“It is the objective of the MJGA Forum to join hands with the State Government and all other stakeholders to regain the peace and harmony that prevailed in Jos in particular and Plateau State in general.
“The MJGA Forum joins many other well-meaning men and women of goodwill in strongly condemning all acts of violence perpetrated by individuals or groups, in the name of ethnicity or religion.
“No religion condones taking another person’s life, no matter the provocation.
“We appeal to all citizens of the state to live peacefully with one another, to restore the state to its pristine past which earned it the enviable sobriquet of “Home of Peace and Tourism”.
“We are calling on both the Federal and State Governments to redouble efforts to prevent and forestall a repeat of such ugly incidents in the future,” the Forum stated.
The MJGA Forum commiserated with the families of all those that lost their loved ones in the unfortunate incidents.
They also commend the efforts of the State Government in taking decisive action
to contain the deplorable situation and adopting measures to prevent further bloodshed and loss of lives and property.
The Group expressed their determination to work with the State Government in its efforts to re-awaken the hospitality instincts inherent in the good people of the state to its glorious days when all and sundry, irrespective of tribe or religion cohabited, interacted and related freely in peace and harmony.
The statement was signed by 22 members of the Forum including, Chief Samu’ila Danko Makama, CON. (Chairman of the Board), HE Col. Lawan Gwadabe (Rtd), Maj. Gen. Ahmed T. Jibrin (Rtd), Senator Jack Tilley-Gyado, OFR, Arc. Salis Garba Mohammed, OFR, Engr. Hassan Hussaini, Mni, Professor Vicky Sylvester, Elizabeth H. Rimdans (Mrs), Lillian Kachollo, Rwang-Ishaku Iliyasu (Mrs), Alh. Ibrahim Saleh Hassan, Hon. Ibrahim Dasuki Salihu Nakande, Chief Sam Edet Bassey, and Umar Abdulhamid (Babuga).
Others are Odessa Chuwang (Ms) (Honourary Secretary to the Board), Senator Solomon Ewuga, Senator Davou Zang, Otunba Michael Eferemo, Brig. Gen. I. A. Sabo (Rtd), Mallam Yakubu Ibn Mohammed, Capt. Aliyu Mohammed Garba (Rtd), Kamal Ahmadu Arabi,
and Nde Joshua Mukan.