From GODWIN AGIA, Jalingo

Taraba State Government on Thursday denied the allegation of sponsoring crisis against some targeted ethnic nationalities in the state.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs. Lois Emmanuel denied the allegation at a news briefing in Jalingo.

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Lois described the allegation as the handiwork of mischief-makers who have tried all available wicked tricks to label the current security challenges in Gassol and Bali Local Government Areas of the state as a crisis targeted against a particular ethnic group.

She explained that the allegation was far from the truth, as the state government’s findings indicate that the problem was a case of cattle rustling by rustlers from the neighbouring Cameroon who have invaded several communities in the areas and are threatening lives and property.

She said;”The attention of the Taraba State Government has been drawn to the on-going rumours and mischievous interpretation being given to the current security challenges in Gassol and Bali Local Government areas of the state.

“Those behind this unhealthy development have tried all available wicked tricks to label the problem in these areas as a crisis targeted at a particular ethnic group. This is far from being the truth.

“Government’s findings indicate that the problem is a case of cattle rustling. Further information available to government also indicate that cattle rustlers from neighbouring Cameroon have invaded several communities in the areas and are threatening lives and property especially cattle belonging to the indigenous inhabitants.

“This development, naturally, has attracted resistance from the local inhabitants, It is therefore not an inter-ethnic or intra ethnic rivalry and clashes as doomsday agents have sought to portray it.

“The fact that this mischievous segment of the public probably does not know or pretends not to know is that these two local governments are among the most naturally endowed parts of Taraba State especially in agricultural produce. For this reason and more, they have been a natural attraction to foreigners and other Nigerians seeking comfort and career in farming and other business activities.

“Criminals and social misfits are not left out in the rush to these communities for economic self-sustenance. In their own case, they frequently exceed or outrightly abuse the boundaries of hospitality and accommodation offered by the indigenous people. The Internally Displaced Persons’ camps have not been spared by these visiting marauders who sometimes kill, maim and rape women. The attempt by the indigenous people to check these trends is largely part of the issues currently at stake in the areas.

“Government is fully aware of these developments and has from time to time taken steps to check criminality in these communities and to ensure peaceful co-existence between visitors and their hosts. In doing so, government has insisted and successfully ensured that the innocent among the foreigners suffer no harm or victimization

“It is for this reason that the involvement of vigilantes in curtailing the activities of the criminals is under the strict surveillance of security agencies. They are never allowed to operate alone in order to prevent them from taking the laws into their hands. This benevolence and civility will remain the emphasis and focus of government intervention now and in the future in these areas and the state in general.

“We wish to therefore, reiterate that the safety of lives and property in these areas and the entire state remain the topmost priority of government. Government wishes to also assure all non-indigenes on legitimate and genuine mission to these areas and other parts of the state of protection by security agencies”.


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