The Acting Governor of Taraba State, Garba Umar, has debunked claims by a former Minister of State that there is “war” in the state.
Speaking through Aaron Artimas, his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, in Lagos, Wednesday, Mr. Umar said that peace had returned to the troubled parts of the state, warning that politicians should desist from statements capable of leading the state into crisis.
“Taraba has been generally free of the Boko Haram menace and it is completely impolitic or imprudent to imagine it for the State,” said Mr. Umar.
“It was never the wish of the three affected states to go through the nightmarish experience of this problem and as such, the threat of Boko Haram should not be gleefully used as campaign material.”
Darius Ishaku, a governorship aspirant in the state under the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, had stated that the war in the state would end when he becomes governor.
“Taraba will be turned around. I cannot say about the whole North-East, but one thing I can tell you is that in Taraba, the war in my state will stop once I get there,” Mr. Ishaku, the immediate past Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, had said.
Last month, about 32 people were killed following fresh rounds of attacks by unknown gunmen in Ibi and Wukari local government areas of the state.
The attacks came despite efforts by the state government to restore peace to the troubled areas in the state.
Mr. Umar chided politicians in the state who stand behind religious and ethnic sentiments to advance personal and political interest.
“Perhaps, a stranger like Darius, will need to know that apart from Wukari, Ibi, Gassol and Bali, the rest of the state has been generally peaceful in the last two years. Peace has returned to the mentioned local government except some sporadic incidents of violence usually influenced by criminal tendencies,” he said.
The acting governor said the successful distribution of permanent voters cards in all Local Government Areas and the Peoples Democratic Party wards throughout the state are evidence that peace has begun to return to the state.
“What more evidence of a peaceful state is better than this? Contrary to his own notion of insecurity, a Kaduna-based Darius has freely moved round the State for the first time understanding his State and selling his programs to the electorates,” said Mr. Umar.
Mr. Umar further wondered if the former minister had had knowledge of the crisis in the Southern part of the state.
“Could he or his group had plotted or instigated the crises as a way of blackmailing the government to gain political currency or dividends from the blood and misery of the people?
“If indeed Architect Darius has solutions to the crises, must he wait until he becomes governor before offering his suggestions to the government? Is the fight in Wukari linked to his governorship?
How many more people does Architect Darius want killed before he volunteers this fantastic solution to the government?”
The acting governor urged Mr. Ishaku to move away from the toga of pressure group aspirant to a man who truly has an agenda for the state.
“So far, we have not heard, why he wants to govern the State beyond his well-known image of a cabal anointed regional aspirant. Taraba needs an impartial or dispassionate leader and not a man.”