Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has expressed delight over the nomination of Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, an indigene of Plateau, as the President of the Court of Appeal by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Lalong, who spoke with State House correspondents after a private visit to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said he was elated to hear the news of the nomination.
He thanked God and commended the president and vice president for the nomination of Dongban-Mensem.
President Buhari had sent the name of Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, Acting President, Court of Appeal to the Senate for confirmation as President, Court of Appeal.
Dongban-Mensem is a serving Justice of the Court of Appeal and was recommended, as is the practice, by the National Judicial Council(NJC) and her name forwarded to the president.
“To me, I think she is qualified to be there by progression; this is the first time for the people of Plateau to have somebody from the judiciary getting to that level; I think, it is a thing of joy for the people of Plateau.
“I was elated when I heard yesterday that the president has nominated one of us from Plateau to that highest position.
“I must say the highest position because as far as I am concerned, nobody has reached that position in the judiciary from Plateau.
“This is the first time we are having it; so we send our gratitude to God and we are praying to God and also our gratitude to the president, the vice president and everybody who thought she was qualified to be in the National Assembly.’’
Lalong said that Dongban-Mensem was coming at a time when there were a lot of litigations.
He advised that, just like the Chief Justice of Nigeria, she had to do everything to restore the image of the judiciary.
According to Lalong, Dongban-Mensem should be free, fair and do justice to people irrespective of political leanings, tribe or language.
The governor said that Plateau women were excited and appreciative of the president’s gesture, adding that women were getting adequate attention from President Buhari’s administration.
“We had a woman as CJN; we had a woman who just left and we have another woman; that is to say the women are coming up, and we will continue to encourage them.
“I think it is a thing of joy to women in my state, all the women gathered yesterday and said they wanted to come and say thank you to the president.
“You can see how women are getting something in this administration, that is to say, this administration has a great empathy for women.’’
On the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, Lalong said that his government was proactive.
“Without any incident, without any index case in Plateau, the way we moved in curtailing the virus gave us a lot of hope.
“What we did was to first of all look at it and when I saw Lagos; when I saw Abuja, I said definitely whether we like it or not, this thing will come to Plateau.
“ What we did was to begin to take proactive actions; first of all get the confidence of the civil servants; get the confident of the people. You know when you want to lock people down you must also prepare for their stomach.
“ So, what I did was to ensure that all salaries were paid; that same week, I fumigated the whole state; after fumigation, I told the people that we were ready for action.’’
He said that Plateau started the lockdown without an index case as all the cases were imported from other states, while the state had recorded two deaths.
The governor said that he was among the governors that were selected by the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by the vice president to give regular advice to the president on the ease of the lockdown.
“So, today, I have to come down to brief our leader the vice president on what would happen and what we also think should be done to make the people happy.
“That is, instead of continuing to put a stiff lockdown on people, we are now thinking on how to ease the lockdown just as we are doing in Plateau’’ he said.