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By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – The Plateau State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC has accused “dishonest politicians” of being behind the stiff opposition against the rebuilding of the burnt Jos main market by the Jaiz bank.

Recall that the State Governor, Simon Lalong was to sign an MoU with the bank for the rebuilding of the market which was burnt over 20 years ago but certain components of the said MoU which are not understood by citizens have generated controversy and a court order to stop the exercise.

Rising to the defense of the Governor, the State chapter of his Party in a statement issued at the weekend by the Publicity Secretary, Sylvanus Namang said, the opposition is “purely politically motivated. Religion is only being ostensibly brought in as a mere smokescreen.”

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His words, “…Dishonest politicians, from the opposition, have for their convenience, given a religious colouration to the issue. Everybody, ranging from the Government to the investor, the prospective shop owners, the Clerics and Plateau citizens have unfortunately all become victims of the antics of these opportunists.

“The truth is that the deliberately simulated and orchestrated outrage and resistance to the rebuilding of the Market is all about politics rather than religion- often said to be the Opium of the Masses. These dishonest politicians in the pursuit of narrow political ends, at the slightest opportunity, never hesitate to exploit the divisive and combustible issue of religion to fool the people that they are the worthy protectors of “Plateau Heritage…”

He added, “We wish to reiterate once again, that for providing the entire funding, the Bank would take and sell off 60% of the stalls, i.e., 2621 stalls to recoup its investment and leave, while the State Government, which will provide the land for the project as its equity would take 40% i.e., 1700 Stalls.
“Those who will buy the stalls referred to as Off-Takers would pay and use the stalls for 40 years, after which they would remain the property of the Plateau State Government, under the management of the Jos Main Market Authority.

“The beneficiaries of the 40 years duration are the stall owners who once they pay, would use such stalls for that period when their rent would have expired before ownership reverts to the Government. What the APC in the state finds worrisome and disappointing is that despite the clarity in the terms of the proposals, politics has surreptitiously crept into this purely economic engagement and otherwise laudable project…”