Taraba Gov: I will Rather Sacrifice Myself Than Lose More Citizens


• Extends time frame of judicial commission of  inquiry into Mambilla crisis

By Wole Ayodele in Jalingo

Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State has reiterated his earlier stance that all lives matter as far as the state is concerned.

Ishaku spoke at a dinner he held with some select editors of various newspapers in Abuja.

He  said as a father to all, he does not discriminate, stressing that his philosophy is to equate one life with all other lives and that the death of any one is injurious to him.

He said: “Perhaps I’m the only one who knows how deeply hurt I feel when I hear of the death of any Taraba citizen due to crisis or, as a matter of fact, for any other reasons. Of all the things Taraba people look up to me for, the preservation of their lives and property is number one. If I fail to protect them, then I have really failed. So that is why I said I will give my life; I would rather be sacrificed than for any Taraba person no matter their tribes, religion or status  to die because of any violence. It won’t happen under my watch and I mean it. I will not sleep until there is peace everywhere.”

In his opening remarks, the governor said the era of keeping the media out of government activities is gone as the emphasis is on partnership.

He said he is a beneficiary of the work of journalists especially in ensuring that people’s mandate are protected.  He noted that the dinner was designed to foster better relationships between the state and the media. 

On the crisis that engulfed the Sarduana Local Government Area of the state, the governor said it was all about land, noting that it was not ethnic or religious. He said the three person population of the Fulani in Mambilla owned practically all the land. He said while this is not their fault, the 90 per cent Mambilla are left scrounging for land.

 He noted that this was the basis for the conflict much like in some parts of the South-eastern part of the country.

He said the challenge would be to solve the land ownership problem which the government is looking into.

He said people with claims over lands would have to prove it.

He promised that there is no policy to forcibly take land away from their owners but that justice must be done.

He said those resisting justice might be the ones enticing people to go cause trouble.

Ishaku also said he would be willing to hear an alternative to ranching as a way of stopping the clashes of herders and farmers.

Also, the governor extended the time frame of the Justice Nuhu Adi Commission of Inquiry into the recent crisis in Mambilla.

In a statement signed by the Secretary of the commission, Mr. Jibrin Hamidu Gimba, the commission now has two months to complete its work instead of the initial three weeks.

 Consequently, the commission requested the public particularly interested parties to submit written memoranda on the crisis on or before July 24, 2017.

Such memoranda, which are to be made in 15 bound copies, are to be addressed to the Secretary of the commission at the state Ministry of Justice, State Secretariat Complex.

The commission further disclosed that it would commence hearing/sitting on August 3, 2017 at Gembu, headquarters of Sardauna Local Government Area.

Meanwhile, the governor has declared that normalcy has completely returned to Mambilla after the unfortunate incident that claimed several lives and properties.

In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Hassan Mijinyawa, Ishaku admonished the people of the state to eschew violence and promote peace, saying it is the fundamental ingredient for achieving sustainable development.

Ishaku who stated that his administration has articulated strategies to enhance the people’s wellbeing and safety concerns noted that the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has distributed relief materials to the affected communities on the Mambilla plateau.

 He further disclosed that additional relief materials are on their way to the area just as he enjoined those affected by the crisis to go to designated places to access the materials, saying all hands must be on deck to maintain peace, which according to him, is a collective responsibility.