President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday commissioned the Mararaban Jamaa road renamed after him, following his arrival in Jos on a two-day working visit of Plateau State.
The visit is in continuation of a tour of states ravaged by communal strife, mostly between herders and farming communities.
He kicked off the tour on Tuesday in Taraba and is scheduled to also visit Benue and Zamfara states where hundreds of lives have been reported lost since the beginning of the year in these conflicts.
The president landed at the Heipang Airport in Jos at about 12:05 p.m. for the Plateau State leg of the trip and was received by Governor Simon Lalong, his Nasarawa State counterpart, Tanko Almakura, and a crowd of political office holders from across the political divide in the state.
Plateau citizens express expectations from visit
The Minister of Youth and Sport Development, Solomon Dalung, in an interview with journalists at the airport, called on Mr. Buhari to include Plateau among states to be rebuilt from devastation by civil unrest.
“In spite of the relative peace we are currently enjoying in the state, people of Plateau State are still pained by the high level of devastation caused by incessant crisis,” Mr. Dalung, an indigene of the state, said.
“The federal government should not concentrate only on rebuilding states in the north-east that were affected by civil unrest, we are all witnesses that it all started here in Plateau State.”
The senator representing Plateau Central district, Joshua Dariye, urged Mr. Buhari to award contracts for the completion of the road linking Nasarawa and Plateau states through Wamba local government area.
According to Mr. Dariye, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, the said road has become a death trap and a haven of armed bandits due to its deplorable condition.
“Many have died on the road,” the senator, who is a former two-term governor of the state, said.
Mr. Dariye’s father was kidnapped and taken away through the road before the 2015 elections.
Istifanus Gyang, the Peoples Democratic Party member of the House Representatives for Barkinladi/Riyom Federal Constituency, decried alleged lack of federal government presence in Plateau State.
He called on President Buhari to correct the alleged neglect by executing projects in the state.
Sulemain Kwande, the APC member of the House of Representatives for Bassa/Jos North, and his PDP colleague for Pankshin, Kanke/Kanam Federal Constituency, Timothy Golu, PDP, said the president’s visit would allow him see for himself the challenges facing the state.
On his part, the state chairman of the APC, Latep Dabang, said citizens of the state expect the President to address critical issues confronting the state.
Mr. Dabang pleaded with Mr. Buhari’s administration to complete the abandoned inland dry port that was started during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Also at the airport to welcome Mr. Buhari were former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, who is now a senator; former deputy governors Ignatius Longjan, Pauline Tallen and Edward Pwajok; federal and state lawmakers, traditional rulers with hundreds of ordinary citizens.