EDITORIAL: PLATEAU: UNKNOWN COMMISSIONERS, THE LINES OF THE DIRECTOR OF PRESS AND THE ANTI-LAND GRABBING LAW.

The Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides in Sections 192 (1) that, there shall be such offices of Commissioners of the Government of a State as may be established by the Governor of the state.

The Constitution also provides in section 192(2) that, any appointment to the office of Commissioner of the Government of a State shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the House of Assembly of the State, be made by the Governor of that state and in making any such appointment the Governor shall, conform with the provisions of section 14 of this Constitution.

The fact is, the 1999 Constitution (as amended) also made it clear in section 192 (4) that, no person shall be appointed as a Commissioner of the Government of a State unless he is qualified for election, as a member of the House of Assembly of the state.

As they are appointed, they are expected to be aware of the Laws and their various operations in the state, as they (Commissioners) may be assigned to handle issues within any Ministry and within their assumed capacity by the Governor of the state.

After their appointment to office, the Constitution made it a deliberate duty for the Media and Media Practitioners (Journalists) to watch them and report their activities to the masses, despite their internal supervision and valuation by the Governor that appoints them and the State House of Assembly that confirm them through defined oversight functions.

It is this sad reality of not wanting to be observed, and interviewed by Journalists by the UNKNOWN Commissioners in Plateau State that comes to mind.

Of all the Commissioners appointed by the Governor of Plateau State since, 2015 to date, only those who had and are still occupying the offices of the Ministries of Information, Lands, Survey and Planning, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, and Finance that may have been visible in their activities and are also known and accessible by Journalists in the state.

Of all the huge media presence in the state, it would surprising to note that, most journalists in the state cannot name, off-hand, the Commissioners occupying most Ministries in the state.

This reality can easily be seen in the slow reactions to their responsibilities and the high level of unawareness constantly displayed by most of these Commissioners.

Sadly, in most cases, they are made aware of what is going on in their Ministry, only after it may have been published in the Media.

In most cases, they lack the capacity to explaining the happenings in their Ministry, as they rather cover their inaptitude, lack of capacity and the poor management of their Ministries by reiterating the achievements of the State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong.

Secondly, where they may have repeated this narrative severally, they invoke avoidance attitudes, to put the Media and Journalists away.

No wonder, the Plateau State Ministry of Information has become the Supper Ministry since 2015, as it has never shied away from its responsibilities from the day of Mr. Yakubu Dati to date, with Hon. Dan Manjang.

It is sad to also note that, while the Ministry of Information and other offices of information are coordinated in their Information and Communication responsibilities, other Ministries are rather relying on what the Commissioners of the Ministry of Information say to earn their wages, salaries and any other allowances without delivering service(s) as expected for the safety and welfare of the masses in the state.

Our attention is most drawn to the fact that, the Governor himself was surprised that the masses are yet to take advantage of the Anti-Grazing Bill, which he passed into Law.

This was contained in the press release lines of his Director of Press, Dr. Makut S. Macham, dated 9th September, 2021.

It is expected however that, the Governor would have first asked the Commissioner occupying the Ministry of Justice, whether his Ministry had taken the responsibility of educating the Plateau state indigenous citizens of their rights, as it relates to the Law.

Secondly, one would have expected the Governor to ask most of his Commissioners, who have largely remained UNKNOWN, if they have transmitted the knowledge to their immediate communities and Local Government Areas (LGAs), which they represent in the Government of the State, as provided for in Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution.

GOV. LALONG

More sadly is the recent curfew imposed by Governor Simon Bako Lalong on the state to check and calm the recent violence in Jos-North Local Government Area and its environs. It took the hand and the pen of Dr. Makut, for Plateau Citizens to understand the conditions buried in the lines of the Governor’s speech, which imposed the curfew.

You would recall that, the lines of the Governor’s speech imposing the curfew in Jos North and that which also relax its effects, to a large extent remained the same, but got several interpretations and enforcement by security operatives in the state, who took advantage to extort the unsuspecting masses to the point that it was degenerating into a planned protest because of the huge hardship it brought on the common man.

In the height of this lack of explanation of the nature of curfew that was not ambiguous, the Ministry of Transport and that of Justice were silent, waiting for the Ministry of Information.

It was however, glad to know that the Ministry of Information and the office of the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor led by Dr. Makut Simon Macham, never shied away from such responsibilities.

Base on the above, we humbly make a call to the Governor to reduce the number of Commissioners in the state or that those, who do not know their responsibility in office to humbly resign to save lives, the state from embarrassments and extortion of citizens.

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