Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State says criminals destroying crops are practicing food terrorism as they want to starve the people of the state at all cost.
Lalong, who doubles as Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, directed security agencies to be ruthless in dealing with such criminals.
Lalong, represented by Prof. Danladi Atu, the Secretary to the State Government, spoke the opening of the 2021 Inter Brigades Warrant Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers Competition on Monday in Jos.
The competition was organised by the 3 Division of the Nigerian Army, Rukuba, near Jos.
Lalong, who decried the rising spate of killing and wanton destruction of farmlands and houses in the state, vowed to deal with the criminals.
The governor assured citizens of the state that his administration would do everything within its powers to end criminality.
“The reported killings in Bassa, Barikin Ladi, Riyom and Jos North Local Government Areas have become worrisome and persistent, even up till yesterday where many houses were destroyed and some people killed.
“We have witnessed the willful and carefully planned destruction of crops in some areas of the state by criminals.
“These acts of provocation are no doubt aimed at taking us back to the days of violence and bloodshed. Also, the action of these criminals is nothing but food terrorism that wants to starve our people at all cost.
“This must stop and I have directed the security agencies to be ruthless with these criminals.
“Let me assure the citizens that our administration will never fold its arms to see few criminals take this state back to those dark days of pain and sorrow
“We are working with the security agencies to fish out those responsible and ensure that they are punished.
“No matter how long it takes and how far they run or hide, they will be identified, arrested and prosecuted to serve as deterrence to others,” Lalong assured.
He promised to continue to initiate policies and programmes that would entrench peaceful coexistence and harmony in the state.
He also pledged his support and cooperation to the security agencies in their bid to curb insecurity in the state.
Earlier, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Ali, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the division, explained that the competition was aimed at enhancing professionalism and competency among officers and men of the division.
The GOC, represented by Brig.-Gen. Williams Dangana, the Garrison Commander of the division, added that the exercise would foster esprit-de-corps, regimentation, enhance leadership qualities and physical fitness of troops.
He also said the exercise was in tandem with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) philosophy of having a “professional Nigerian Army ready to accomplish assigned missions within a joint environment in defence of Nigeria”.
“As you are all aware, competition is an aspect of training which is considered the best welfare that can be given to a soldier, because it speaks to his competence and ultimately keeps him alive in battle.
“It is important to mention that training foster professionalism and it is one of the four-pillar philosophy of the COAS in addition to readiness, adminstration and cooperation.
“So, this competition is designed to improve regimentation, leadership qualities and physical fitness among troops.
“It will also foster esprit-de-corps and healthy rivalry among formations,” he added
Ali further said that the competition would enable troops learn astute organisational ability and improve their level of understanding in accomplishing tasks.
Ali explained that five out of the the six formations of the division would be participating in the competition. (NAN)