- Tells Alhassan to stop playing politics with lives
By Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
In a bid to find a permanent solution to the violent clashes between Fulanis and other ethnic tribes in the Mambilla plateau, Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, has set up three committees to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of last weekâ€™s violence in the area.
Announcing the setting up of the committees after an emergency marathon meeting with all the stakeholders in the Mambilla plateau including the GOC, 3rd Division, Jos, Brig. Gen Benjamin Ahanotu, and other security chiefs, Ishaku said the committees would include a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that would afford all the parties to frankly discuss what transpired to pave the way for genuine reconciliation.
Besides the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, other committees set up by the governor are an administrative panel of inquiry and a peace committee comprising representatives of the stakeholders.
Membership of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, according to the governor, would be made public after due consultations but noted that Christian and Muslim leaders would be part of the committee.
However, the peace committee, according to Ishaku, would comprise five Fulanis, five Mambillas, one Kaka, one Paso, one Kambu and a non-indigene all of whom are to be selected by the paramount ruler of Mambilla, Audu Baju II.
Fielding questions from journalists after the emergency meeting, Ishaku expressed confidence that the current efforts would bring permanent solution and lasting peace to the area.
According to him, â€œI really commend all the people that made comments during the meeting because everything said were quite revealing and would help us to speed up the process of genuine reconciliation and enduring peace on the plateau.â€
Condemning the wanton killings and destruction of property in strong terms, Ishaku stated: â€œWhat happened is highly unfortunate, totally uncalled for and must be condemned by all men of conscience. No life is worth taking for whatever reason and we must all commit ourselves to ensure it never happened again.
â€œSardauna local government is not only strategic to the state, but to the entire country considering the enormous potential that abound in the area, especially in agriculture, tourism, mining and the 3,050 MW Mambilla Hydro Power Plant which is the biggest single power project in Africa.â€
Also, Ishaku has charged Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan, to stop playing politics with the crisis that broke out on Mambilla plateau.
Speaking on behalf of the governor in a statement made available to journalists, by his Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Emmanuel Bello, Ishaku said rather than see the sad and unfortunate incident that claimed several lives and property as a platform to kick-start her campaign for 2019, the minister should come up with credible alternatives to what the governor already proposed.
The minister had at the weekend called for the resignation of the governor, saying she would back any move to impeach him by the state House of Assembly.
But in a swift reaction, Bello said the minister got it wrong, saying she was only crying wolf and playing to the gallery to hoodwink unsuspecting members of the public.
According to him, â€œFunny enough, as Alhassan was delivering her speech at the press conference, accusing him of doing nothing, Ishaku was actually locked in a close to 24 hours meeting with stakeholders from Sarduana, seeking answers and looking for solutions.
â€œIt is funny too because she said the governor went to Kaduna while the area is in crisis. Thatâ€™s not true unfortunately. Rather, as soon as the governor got back from his trip to Germany, where he met with investors in the solid minerals sector, all he has done is to deal with this crisis. He hasnâ€™t done anything else. Heâ€™s meeting stakeholders, security personnel, Abuja-based officials, in short all the groups. He has eventually formed more committees to deal with the matter, even as he also has arrived at some sound solutions.â€
Bello said it was disheartening that while the governor was doing all of these in Jalingo, Alhassan was engaged in harsh criticisms in another part of the town rather than acknowledging the efforts of the governor to resolve the crisis as other well meaning people of the state have done.
He said: â€œTaraba people are watching the two. While the governor was confronting the problem and doing the hard job, others are busy fanning the embers of hate. Alhassan once tried to be governor of Taraba State. Let her put herself in the governorâ€™s position. Is this the time to play politics or join the governor to find solutions? Has she adduced a better action plan than what the governor hashed out yesterday?
â€œIndeed, is she rejoicing that the governor has a challenge on his hands? Elsewhere in the world, opposition leaders would even team up with the incumbent to find solutions. This time calls for leadership. Not politicians who have started campaigning for 2019. Ad Ishaku was busy looking for lasting solutions, others are campaigning. Are they going to rule over dead people should they ever even win?â€
On the ministerâ€™s call for the governorâ€™s impeachment, Bello said the House of Assembly has better things to do than heed her call, saying it was a comical call because the same assembly is teaming up with the governor to find lasting solutions in the state.