Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has signed into law the anti-kidnapping, anti-land grabbing, cultism and other anti-violence related matters bill passed by the State House of Assembly.
Lalong, while signing the bill, said the law was long overdue following the increase in cases of kidnapping, land grabbing and other violent crimes within the state.
In recent times, communities in Plateau State have witnessed incidents of land grabbing and bandits attacks especially in the Northern Senatorial District of the state.
Such attacks had resulted in outright violent take over of homes, lands, livestock and economic trees of victims.
TheInfoStride recalls that over 200 persons were killed and over 38,000 displaced from their ancestral homes when suspected herdsmen attacked some communities on June 23th and 24th, 2018, in Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGAs of the state.
In the wake of the attack, Governor Lalong on the 14th of November, 2018, visited a site of a proposed Mobile Police Squadron in one of the affected communities, Gashish District in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area.
After his assessment, an angry Lalong told the “foreign” occupants that those who forcefully annexed ancestral homes and villages of Plateau people would soon be forced out.
“Nobody will take the land from the original owners. If you are occupying somebody’s land or house, know that you are living on borrowed time.
“It is not a matter of choice, you will be forced out soon”, he stressed.
“This is not just in Gashish; it will cover the entire state. We will not allow anybody to take over another person’s property,” he declared.
He had advised the illegal occupants of the houses to vacate them, saying that the government would restore peace and resettle displaced persons to their original places.
Sequel to these attacks the anti-kidnapping, anti-land grabbing, cultism and other anti-violence related matters bill was introduced, following Lalong’s vow that the government would find a solution.
“As a responsible government, we cannot fold our arms to see people being terrorized by criminals who are clearly out to cause mayhem.
“This new law will deal with anyone caught in the act and I urge security agencies to be on their toes and ensure that culprits are apprehended and made to face the law”, he warned.
He called on communities to rise up to the challenge by identifying and fishing out criminals within their domains and passing relevant information to security agencies to act.
The new law provides a death sentence for those convicted for kidnapping, while those found guilty of cultism will be jailed for a minimum of 7 years.
Those involved in violence against persons also risk spending up to 10 years in jail upon conviction.