Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba state has called on the Muhammadu Sanusi II, Muhammadu Sanusi II, to use his position to foster peace among farmers and herders rather than “raise unnecessary alarm capable of causing disaffection”.
The governor was reacting to Sanusi’s criticism of him and the governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, on their handling of herdsmen/farmers clashes in their states.
During a meeting with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Niger State, on Sunday, the former Central Bank governor regretted the attitude of the states towards open grazing.
He said: “We hope that the Vice President will speak to the Governors of Taraba and Benue in particular, on the manner the militias have continued to implement these obnoxious and unconstitutional laws.
“We hope that he will speak to the governors and the traditional rulers of the Bachama, the Tivs. This country cannot afford ethnic conflicts and hopefully we will sit down with them and find a way forward.”
Reacting to the statement, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Ishaku on Media and Publicity, Mr Bala Abu, described the allegation as “false and unfair.”
The statement reads: “The attention of the Taraba State Government has been drawn to a statement credited to the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, to the effect that the state government is training and arming militia men in the state. The Emir’s allegation is unfounded, misleading and unfair.
“The administration of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku has done a lot since inception to promote peaceful relationship among the ethnic groups and communities in the state. Even in the case of herdsmen/farmers conflicts, the administration has ensured that the issues involved are promptly and amicably resolved and security provided so that no party to the crisis suffers undue and unnecessary hardship.
“The law on Anti-Open Grazing and the establishment of ranches is in furtherance of government’s peace efforts.
“The government has not recruited militia and is not involved in the training of such people anywhere in or outside of the state.
“The government advises the Emir to rather use his vantage position as a traditional and religious leader to complement the peace efforts of the government than raise unnecessary alarm capable of causing disaffection among the peace-loving people of Taraba State,” it added.
Similarly, the Chief Press Secretary to governor Ortom, Mr Terver Akase denied the governor was sponsoring militia.
Sanusi’s criticism comes a week after Jimoh Moshood, Police Public Relation’s Officer, of the Nigerian Police, described Governor Ortom as ‘a drowning man.’