Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau said he had set up a Special Task Force against land grabbing as part of his administration’s peace initiatives in the state.
Lalong disclosed this while inaugurating officials of the Plateau Youth Council on Thursday in Jos.
“I have just set up a special task force against land grabbing, it will be inaugurated on Monday. If you know your land has been grabbed , just report to them and they will move in to reclaim your land and give it back you.
“It is unfortunate that in recent times, some politicians have taken pride in trying to incite the youths against the Government by insinuating that the Governor or the Government does not care about the people, or is allowing land belonging to Plateau indigenes to be grabbed by foreign herders.
” This is an apparent lie that has no basis in the face of facts. Contrary to this mischief, our Government is the first in the history of Plateau State and one of the few if not the only one in Nigeria, to sign anti-land grabbing law which we initiated as an Executive Bill,” he said.
He urged Plateau youths to be vanguards for peace, unity, integrity, and security, while appealing to them to eschew violence, hatred, intolerance and bigotry, saying the attainment of real peace lied with the people of the various communities in the state.
The governor also cautioned against the negative use of the social media and some conventional media for the propagation of hate speech, fake news and ethno-religious profiling, noting that the act was fueled crisis.
He warned that the government would deal with those found perpetrating such acts.
He also decried the spate of attacks in the state and urged the youths to desist from indulging in drug abuse, which he said was causing involvement in violent crimes.
Lalong described the inauguration of the youth officials as apt, as the State and Nigeria were in dire need of unity, vibrancy, support and positive action of the youths more than ever, adding that the youths formed the bulk of the nation’s population.
He assured the youths that the State Government would continue to create employment opportunities, creativity and industrial development.
He urged them to support their leaders in championing their interests and those of the state.
The governor said his administration would support the council in organising a Youth Summit in the state, where they would engage with local and international stakeholders in different sectors, and also galvanise their needs for appropriate action.
“Government shall work closely with the new leadership of the PYC, to ensure that our youths are kept abreast and involved in all empowerment programmes of the State and Federal Governments,” he said .
He said the new officials had a big task ahead to galvanise support from the youths and show good direction to them, while wishing them a successful tenure.
Earlier, the State Commissioner of Youths and Sports Development, Mr Victor Lapan, charged the new officials of the council to be change agents in the society, as the future of the state and Nigeria depended on them.
Responding, the new Chairman of PYC, Mr Lot Adas,urged youths to be united irrespective of their ethno religious backgrounds and political affiliations , saying, “we must rise above our differences”.
Adas promised to improve the well being of the Plateau youths through scouting and lobbying for employment opportunities and organising skills acquisition programmes for them.
“I shall pursue admission for qualified less privileged Plateau youths.
” I shall liaise with the National Association of Plateau Students to lobby for both local and foreign scholarships for our best trains .
” I shall organise football competitions for youths (strictly amateur). This shall further promote unity and also provide opportunities to identify new talents,” he said.
He said he needed government’s support to achieve his targets, describing Gov. Lalong as a youth-friendly leader who revived the council after ten years of inactivity.