Mr. Simon Lalong, Governor of Plateau State.
By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos – The Plateau State Government has denied installing an emir in the Yelwa community of Shendam local government area of the State saying the allegation is the imagination of mischief makers.
Recall that there was tension in the area on Friday as residents invaded the palace of the paramount ruler of the Goemai people, the Long Goemai to register their displeasure and this forced businesses to close in the area.
Recall also that the State Governor, Simon Lalong is from Shendam local government area and the Yelwa Nshar community had witnessed brutal religious crises in the past hence, residents were on edge when it was reported that an emir was being installed in the area.
But the State Government in a statement issued on Saturday by the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dan Manjang said “Our attention has been drawn to fake news circulating in some conventional and social media platforms alleging that there are plans by the State Government to establish an emirate council or install an emir in Yelwa, Shendam Local Government Area, leading to tension mounting in the area and culminating in criminal elements pelting some prime buildings in Shendam town including the palace of the Long Gamai and looting some shops…
“The Government wishes to put it on record that there has never been any time that such idea was contemplated or even discussed. This is the imagination and machination of mischief makers aimed at throwing the State into the dark old days thereby drawing the hands of the clock backwards and making nonsense of the peace we have achieved…”
However, the Chairman of Shendam local government council, Alex Naantuam, added, “What happened in Shendam on Friday morning was that there were plans to install a Ward Head in Yelwa and this did not go well with citizens of the local government and some youths stormed the Palace of our traditional ruler to protest, unfortunately, the protest was highjacked by hoodlums who blocked some major roads to the council.”
The Plateau Peace Building Agency, PPBA saddled with the role of enforcing peace in communities expressed worry that the development is threatening the peace of the area and that of the state in general.
The Director General of the Agency, Joseph Lengmang stated, “We should not be in a hurry to forget the ugly events of the recent past in Yelwa-Shendam where scores of precious human lives and property worth many millions of Naira were destroyed through mindless and needless violence that served no one any good. The protest was for the name “Yelwa” to be expunged from the newly-created Yelwa-Nshar District with the Shinbu automatically assuming the position of District Head and; not against the installation of an Emir as being bandied around by some curious individuals and groups…”