The Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku, has dissociated himself from the alleged genocide of Fulani ethnic group in the state, attributing the allegation to the works of “mischief” makers.
The governor said on Sunday in a statement by his media aide, Emmanuel Bello, that the reports that the governor gave order for the extermination of Fulanis was “untrue and those spreading the falsehood are uninformed.”
He condemned the ongoing fracas between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in Mambilla Plateau, Sardauna Local Government.
“The bloodshed,” Ishaku said, “must be condemned wherever it happens, and not only when one group decided that they had been affected.”
The statement challenged the governor’s critics to “produce a memo, tape or video recording of how the directive was issued.”
He described the accusers as people displaying their inability to properly use the term, genocide.
“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.
“They 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.
“They also probably know the armed militia he had 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,” he said.
According to the statement, Mr Ishaku queried the use of “genocide” in Taraba, but was not “used in other places where the country witnessed horrendous cases of crimes against humanity.
“In Taraba state, all human lives are precious to us. That is 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 bloodletting or encourage such. The governor is a very civilised man of the world who has interacted with various segments”, he said.
The recent outbreak of communal unrest between Fulani and Nguroje farmers, leading to the death of a number of Fulani herdsmen with their cows, had spread to other parts of the Mambilla Plateau resulting in the loss of lives and property.