Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba on Monday denied that he was arming militia group to attack Fulani herdsmen as the state prepares for the take-off of the open grazing prohibition law.
The Governor was reacting to the latest allegation by a columnist, Aliyu Tilde, who accused him of planning more acts of genocide against the Fulani race in the state through the anti-open grazing law, billed to take effect this week.
The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had last week also alleged that 800 Fulani people were killed on the Mambilla Plateau by a government-sponsored militia with some of the perpetrators given political appointments.
Ishaku, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Hon. Emmanuel Bello, denied the allegations noting that he has never initiated, encouraged or directed the massacre of innocent citizens.
“There is no way the governor would set up such a force without someone noticing. How would he go about it when some of his closest political allies are Fulani? Can he arm a militia against some of the most powerful members of his inner circle without them crying out?
“It’s unfortunate that some people will just sit and fabricate stories for the purposes of causing mischief. At a time like this, we should learn to guard our statements to avoid rising unnecessary tensions in the country,” he said.
The statement added that the governor, who does not have the control of the police, had cried several times to the federal government when Fulani herdsmen were attacking Ussa, Takum, Bali, Gassol and other parts of the state without a response from the federal government.
“The governor made several distress calls to the federal government over killings in some parts of the state by Fulani herdsmen, but he didn’t receive any response until the Mambilla crisis which received the swift response of the federal government.
“That was the reason why he called for equal treatment of all citizens in the country because the governor believes in justice and fairness and he told the federal government that all lives matter, and government must protect all citizens,” the statement read in part.
The governor said he took over in the state at a time several communities were under siege. He explained that he was able to bring peace in the state and the open grazing prohibition law was just part of efforts to promote peace and security in the state as well as better the life of herders and improve cattle rearing business in the state.