ov. Simon Lalong of Plateau State pleaded with residents of the State on Sunday to forgive government over the current hardships being experienced by the cashless policy and fuel scarcity.
The governor made the plea at an interdenominational service at St. Monica Catholic Church, Jos, to mark the 2023 Plateau Forgiveness Day.
He said that the situation had been of concern to governors who were having series of meetings with the president to address the situation.
“On behalf of all of us, we apologise for the pain being inflicted on the society and we ask for forgiveness,’’ the governor said.
Lalong prayed that the Federal Government would look into the hardships and review the policy.
He said the Plateau Forgiveness Day celebrated annually on Feb. 7 was conceived as part of efforts to continue the restoration of peace.
It was also conceived to remind the younger generation that the state is home of peace, hospitality and tourism, he added.
The governor explained that the day was marked to strengthen peace processes, using the Plateau Peace Building Agency to coordinate its initiatives.
“The Day of Forgiveness which was unveiled and launched by Mr President in 2018 has since then been implemented by the Plateau Peace Building Agency.
“We established it as the first in the country with the sole responsibility of coordinating and implementing all our efforts towards removing toxic narratives, crisis merchandising, violence and tackling root causes of disharmony and intolerance.
“The day is to appeal to our conscience and take us to the path of forgiving the past, and looking ahead to the future that will be devoid of ugly experiences,’’ Lalong said.
He thanked the Church for supporting him in the discharge of his duties and for preaching forgiveness which is one of its pillars, stressing that forgiveness is not a sign of weakness but of strength.
He dispelled rumours that many villages had been taken over by herdsmen.
“I can say authoritatively that there is no report on my table that any village has been taken over,’’ he said.
The governor added that the Anti-Land Grabbing Law of 2020 was enacted to prevent such situation and urged communities to report such attempts instead of going to social media to politicise it.
In his remarks, the Catholic Archbishop of Jos Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Audu, thanked the governor for conceiving the Forgiveness Day and urged him to legislate it for continuity.
He advised the involvement of stakeholders, especially those in the rural areas affected by insecurity, to achieve the objectives of the Forgiveness Day.
The archbishop urged Plateau people to vote for credible persons irrespective of their parties, saying that only the action would ensure good governance.
Audu in his homily also urged Christians to be the light of the world, and to make positive difference wherever they found themselves.