A former Governor of Plateau state, Mr. Jonah Jang, is playing the religious card with his commissioning of the 10 Commandment Prayer Altar in the state which held recently, the state Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Town Planning, Mr. Yakubu Dati has said.
Dati told journalists that Mr. Jang’s intention is to use the commissioning of the prayer altar to curry favour and thus divert public attention away from the N6.3 billion he allegedly mismanaged while in office, but insisted that the Plateau people are wiser.
Dati said the case of the embezzlement, which had been ongoing for some time now, was aimed at recovering the huge sum from the governor, stating that many witnesses had appeared to testify and give evidence that would facilitate justice and hopefully, repatriation of stolen funds.
He stated that Plateau had never lacked a place of worship, stressing that the state was headquarters to many religious organisations with ample number of sites to pray in.
The Commissioner insisted that rather than trying to hoodwink the people, Jang should first clear himself of the N6.3 billion charges, adding that he lacked the moral standing to offer a spiritual lift.
Dati said: “It is also a decoy to take the minds of the people off the current attempt by the Governor Simon Lalong-led administration to recover monies allegedly stolen during the tenure of Jang and for which the latter is standing trial.
“But, as the people are astonished with these testimonies, Jang tries to play on their emotions by playing the religious card. The offer of a place of prayer is particularly interesting because the people of Plateau have never lacked a place to pray. Plateau State is headquarters to many religious organisations with ample number of sites to pray in.
“It is therefore surprising that someone will try to make an issue out of building a business enterprise with a small cubicle for prayer. What however is not surprising is that Jang would again be playing the religious card as that has been his stock in trade- to use religion to deceive the people.
‘When he was governor, he relied on this gimmick to deceive the people and now, instead of making restitution, he is at it again. The most unfortunate aspect is inviting unsuspecting leaders like former president Goodluck Jonathan to grace the occasion. Not a single Governor showed up. Even his former colleagues avoided the event like a plague.”
He further explained that the invitation to former President Jonathan was to give credibility to the event, which he knew would not go down well with the average citizen on the Plateau familiar with his antics, stressing that as a self-acclaimed pastor, Jang knew well that there are certain standards expected of a man who wishes to please God.
He alleged that when Jang was the governor of Plateau State, the state witnessed one of the worst spates of bloodshed in its history with many lives and property worth billions of naira destroyed.
Besides, Dati queried where the former governor got the resources to build the facility, declaring that he could not defend the sources of the fund for the project.
“The people of Plateau deserve a better place to worship, where they can do so for free and they would not have to look over their shoulders to see whether officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are hanging around to confiscate or seal the property while they’re praying.
“Part of the monies allegedly diverted by the former governor includes the N2 billion meant for the setting up of small and medium scale businesses on the Plateau.
While he had done nothing to improve the economy of the state, but had rather impoverished the people through his harsh policies and lack of economic plan, it is difficult to reconcile how he can now offer a spiritual lift as a panacea,” he added.
He pointed out that the Simon Lalong administration has done much to correct these anomalies with sound economic programmes and people oriented policies, stressing that the state government had also enhanced commerce and religious activities in the state by improving on the security architecture of the state.