HOW JOS CRISES CAN BE RESOLVED — DEFENCE MINISTER
Minister of Defence, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN), has said that the recurrent clashes in Jos, Plateau State, can be contained with the cooperation of local leaders and traditional rulers in the affected areas.
He also said the Army was involved in joint patrol with the police in 22 states across the country, to contain armed robbery and other forms of armed insurrection.
Expressing worry over what he called avoidable loss of precious lives and property, the minister, who spoke in Ogbomos, Oyo State, said he was upbeat that the combatants in Jos would soon lay down their arms.
He spoke in an interview with journalists during the grand finale of the 10th convocation ceremonies of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, on Friday.
The minister was conferred with the doctorate degree of Civil Law (honoris causa) in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of law and the society at large.
The pioneer vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. Olusegun Oke, as well as the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewunmi, and Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Iyiola Oyewale, were also conferred with honorary doctorate degrees.
The outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Benjamin Adeleke, said that the awardees were carefully chosen among other worthy members of the public for their service to humanity and the college.
Specifically, the VC said that the personalities bagged the award in recognition of the huge roles they had played in the advancement of education and human resources development, particularly at LAUTECH.
Insisting that the Jos crisis was surmountable, Kayode appealed for calm and advised commentators against imputing religious or political motivation to the situation.
From available intelligence, the minister said it had not been established that the bloody clashes had external influence or the backing of some countries.
According to him, the 'economic struggle' behind the disturbances had made it to assume another dimension.
He said, 'Jos used to be a beautiful place. So many people from this town, including the Soun, once lived and earned a living there.
'There was religious tolerance and ethnic accommodation until some minor misunderstanding was allowed to blossom into a full-blown crisis, with the attendant consequences.
'The Federal Government, as usual, is disturbed and every possible arsenal is being deployed for a resolution of the crisis so that Jos can reclaim its fading glory. One thing is sure, resolution of the crisis shall not come by violence but by the leaders of the contending forces.
'It is not something the elite should be involved in. Rather, the local people who know themselves and who have been cohabiting with themselves since ages should come together and work out areas of discord for permanent solution.'
The Chancellor of the university, Justice Kayode Eso, called for the diversification of the country's economic base, which he identified as the antidote to mass graduate unemployment.
In his address entitled, 'Agriculture as an alternative to oil in wealth creation,' the retired Justice of the Supreme Court recalled that the oil glut of the 1980s was a blessing in disguise, as it exposed the country to the potential in the agricultural sector.
Two journalists were killed in Saturday's attack in Nassawara Gwong in Jos North Local Government of Plateau State.
Their bodies were discovered at the Jos University Teaching Hospital mortuary after a two-day search. They are Nathan Dabat and Sunday Bwade, Deputy Editor and reporter respectively with the Light Bearer, a publication of the Church of Christ in Nigeria.
Details of the circumstances that led to their death were sketchy at press-time but Vice President of COCCIN, Rev. Soldier Bewarang, who confirmed the incident to our correspondent on Sunday said that after the journalists were declared missing, the church had to go in search of them until their bodies were discovered in JUTH mortuary.
Bewarang said, 'I did not go to church on Sunday because I was going round hospitals looking for them, until their bodies were discovered in JUTH this morning.'
Spokesman of the Special Task Force in Jos, Brig-Gen. Donald Orji, told one of our correspondents that he had heard about the killing of the two journalists but did not have details.
Calm returned to Dutse-Uku area of Jos, Plateau State, after Saturday's clash which left four persons dead.
Crisis had broken out early on Saturday when residents of the area woke up to find a corpse stuffed in a bag.
The area was quiet when one of our correspondents visited on Sunday.