Muslim communities in the crisis-stricken Jos North local government area in Plateau state rose from a stakeholder meeting on Sunday with a pledge to provide needed coverage to churches in their area.
They said the decision became imperative as stakeholders realized that some politicians were using religion to achieve their selfish goals.
The meeting followed the murder of some faithful Muslims from Ondo State returning from Bauchi State where they had gone to attend an Islamic ceremony, but attacked in Jos by disbelievers.
Also last Friday, Deputy State Governor Sunny Tyoden led a high-level delegation to Ondo State where they handed over 49 survivors of the attack, and also asked the people for forgiveness. of Ondo.
In a statement after the peace talks in the conference hall of the Jos Central Mosque, the meeting called for peace and decided to support efforts to achieve a return to normalcy in the state.
The meeting was held at the initiative of the Jasawa Community Development Association (JCDA), an umbrella organization for Hausa and Fulani Muslims in Jos.
Speaking to reporters after the talks, JADC National President Shehu Ibrahim Masallah said it became necessary after the recent murder of some 28 travelers around the Gada-biyu-Rukuba road.
In a nine-point statement read by its national secretary, Alhaji Aminu Mato, the meeting agreed to protect all churches in the region.
He said: âWe have resolved to protect all churches within Muslim communities. It is our resolution that no one should or should destroy, burn or vandalize a church within us. This is because we have realized that some politicians take advantage of this kind of opportunity to achieve their surreptitious goals knowing full well that religion is very sensitive.
âThis will go a long way to preventing another crisis in Jos and its surroundings. We have also decided that vigilante groups within our estates will work and assist security agencies in ensuring peace and harmony in Jos and the surrounding area and have agreed that anyone caught attacking innocent citizens or causing any problems will be handed over to the security agencies.
The statement further urged the state government to be proactive before a crisis escalates in a community and to ensure justice for those wronged.
âWe urge parents to ensure adequate and appropriate supervision of their children and their wards. We have all resolved that the issues of dropping out of school among our young people and of the unemployed among them will be addressed with the aim of reducing the threat of crime.
“We will liaise with the necessary government agency to also ensure the rehabilitation of young people who have engaged in illicit drugs,” the statement added.
Religious and community leaders inside and outside Jos, as well as other stakeholders, attended the talks.
Ogun evacuates the students
In a related development, amid the growing threat to life and property in Plateau State, the Ogun State government evacuated University of Jos (UNIJOS) students from the State.
The murder of dozens of travelers, including four students and many injured in Jos by suspected thugs, has forced UNIJOS management to suspend the current second semester exam for the 2019/2020 academic session.
Special assistant to the governor for student affairs, Mr. Azeez Adeyemi announced it on Sunday during an interview with journalists in Abeokuta.
Adeyemi said Governor Dapo Abiodun provided five buses and security escorts to ensure the safe return of stranded students.
He said the evacuation was carried out in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including security agencies, the Nigerian National Student Association (NANS) and the Ogun State National Student Association (NAOSS ).
“In accordance with Governor Dapo Abiodun’s policy of protecting the life and property of every native of Ogun State, the governor ordered the immediate evacuation of all natives from the student state at the University. by Jos.
âThis follows the crisis that erupted following the assassination of four students of the institution.
âWe have provided five buses and security escorts to get our children home safely.
âNo native of this state will be allowed to suffer or be abandoned, regardless of political or religious affiliation. They are Oguns and it is our duty to keep them safe, âAdeyemi said.
Also speaking, NAOSS Chairman Oluwagbemileke Ogunrombi said state officials have already evacuated around 80 students and some members of the corps who are natives of the problem areas state.
âWe requested two buses, but the state government generously released five buses, not only buses but with a military escort. Thus, the students were evacuated and taken to a haven of peace.
âLike last time we spoke with the team, around 80 students have been evacuated. Then they said some Corp members were joining them as well, âOgunrombi said.
ASUU denounces the attacks
Meanwhile, the University of Jos branch of the University Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) condemned the attacks and killings of students and members of the university community during most of the civil unrest in Jos.
UNIJOS ASUU President Lazarus Maigoro said this in a statement to Jos on Sunday.
Maigoro called the recent attacks on university students “sad and unhappy”.
He said: âASUU at the University of Jos, with deep concern and sadness, wishes to draw the attention of the general public to the recent developments in Jos and its surroundings and their negative impact on the University.
“We have suffered untold damage in terms of loss of life and property, in addition to the regular suspension of academic activities whenever there is a security breach in Jos and as a union we have tried to understand how the university community is always at the end of receiving every crisis in Jos.
âDespite all the provocations, we continued to provide community service to everyone, regardless of religion, culture and tribe; university administration has, over the years, made overtures to host communities in terms of undergraduate admissions and staff employment, but our students and staff are being killed at the slightest provocation, even if the he epicenter of the crisis is far from the institution.
âThe university is a citadel of learning which houses various categories of people regardless of their ethnic and religious affiliations, as such should be spared whenever there is a breach of security in other parts by Jos.
He also expressed his fear that the suspension of academic activities and the closure of the school would constitute a serious setback for the academic stay of the students.
âCurrent exams have been suspended and students are asked to return home, thus brutally destabilizing the semester and the academic session in general.
âIt also means that students are staying in school longer in the face of the current harsh economic realities of the country.
âAs teachers, our thoughts are with these students, especially the families who have lost loved ones.
“They are also our children and no parent will want their child killed for going to college to get a degree.”
The ASUU chief called on the government and security agencies to step up their efforts and end the cycle of violence in the state, especially in rural areas.
Maigoro further called on the government to deploy more security personnel at the university to ensure the safety of its staff and students.
He advised the government to compensate all those who suffered losses in the recent attacks and ensure justice for the dead.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) recalls that the acting vice-chancellor of the university, Gray Ejikeme, had confirmed the murder of a university student during the recent attacks in Jos, adding that investigations were in progress to determine the real state of affairs.
Mr. Ejikeme, however, promised to provide detailed information on the number of students killed and injured in the recent attacks. (NAA)