Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to Governor Darius Ishaku, Emmanuel Bello, has said those accusing the governor of instigating genocide against their people are displaying an inability to properly use the term. Bello, who made the assertion Saturday, said the governor’s traducers are either mischievous or don’t know how to define the word within the state’s recent history.
He said, “I think those who are using that word are either ignorant of its historical meaning or merely trying to play the ostrich. It is not a word to be used loosely unless your intentions are malicious, evil and downright wicked. Let me attempt to shed light on the seriousness of that word.
â€œBy way of definition, the word means the obvious and conscious plans to eliminate an entire ethnic group within a given polity. Normally, it starts with clear cut instructions given to people by an ethnic bigot to embark on wiping out a group. This is the simplest definition I wish to give.
â€œNow by this, the accusers of Governor Ishaku are saying that he, at some point, actually gave orders by way of a broadcast or in some secret location that a certain ethnic group should be wiped out of Taraba. The accusers must have a tape recording of such instructions or directives. They probably have a memo by the governor where he clearly gave the plans for eliminations, stating timelines.
â€œThey also probably know the armed militia he has planned with to carry out the dastardly act. Now, if they don’t have all of these as I’m sure there is nothing like that, then it is amazing how they could sit before journalists and tell a civilised world that a genocide has been planned against them. If they want to see genocides, ample examples are there but certainly not in our dear Taraba state. We don’t profile people in this very lovely state or plan the eliminations of same. Life is sacrosanct here.”
Bello further said he wondered why the term has not been used in other places where the nation witnessed horrendous cases of crimes against humanity. He said, “compared to the very unfortunate skirmish at Ngoruje where casualties were recorded on both sides, Agatu, for instance, was a first class tragic sight. Yet we didn’t hear of genocide.
â€œWhen towns and villages were ransacked in southern Kaduna, no word was said about genocide. The marauders were in Benue state and took many lives. It wasn’t genocide, I guess. It seems to me that there is a new definition of the word because it appears it only comes up when it is convenient to be used by certain people.”
Bello said bloodshed must be condemned where ever it happens not only when one group decides it has been affected. “In Taraba,” he said, “all human lives are precious to us. That’s why Governor Ishaku keeps pushing for peace. That’s even his mantra: he says give me peace and I would give you development. He is too refined, too peace loving to engage in any kind of blood-letting or encourage such. The governor is a very civilised man of the world who has interacted with various segments.
â€œHe grew up both in Taraba and Kaduna states where he’s made lots of friend across tribes and religions. This is not your average local power monger. A former university lecturer in architecture, he is urbane and classy. He has been minister of Niger Delta, environment and power- areas that brought him into contact with all sort of people. He believes in saving lives. Not taking them.
â€œUnlike some people, the figures of casualties of crisis are not his immediate pains. That any life at all is taken is his major concern. For a man investing billions in hospitals, food security, peace and safety and generally the better life for Taraba people, how can he wish any segment of it harm?
â€œHow can you accuse a man who , for instance today, refused to attend a wedding in Takum because he is spending all his time to ensure lives are safe in Sarduana, of harbouring genocidal thoughts? Those who are screaming genocide either don’t know what they are saying or are plainly engaging in a curious variant of reverse psychology.”