Taraba killings: Kefas Dauda writes Ishaku, reveals his alleged shocking roles in farmers, herdsmen crises
Popular opinionist and native of Taraba State, Kefas Dauda, has written the state governor, Darius Ishaku, accusing him of fueling the ongoing clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the state.
Several lives, including property worth millions of Naira have been consumed in Taraba State as the result of the clashes between herders and farmers with the latest attack in at Jandeikyula village of Wukari claiming over 30 lives.
The state government and some stakeholders had before now accused the army of not playing neutral roles in the ongoing war, thereby calling for self-defense.
However, Kefas, in an open letter to the governor and obtained by our reporter on Sunday, argued that the governor should come clean on the secret roles he played that inflamed the crises, rather than pointing accusing fingers at the Nigerian Army or the security agencies.
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The writer in his missive detailed the shocking underground roles Ishaku played that worsened the fight.
He voiced his thoughts in a letter entitled You Are The Problem And Not The Army: An Open Letter.
His letter reads in full.
Your Excellency Sir,
YOU ARE THE PROBLEM AND NOT THE ARMY: AN OPEN LETTER
I wish to extend special fraternal greetings from a younger brother, kinsman and political adherent to you. I extend same to the entire people of Taraba and pray Almighty God to end our current despicable afflictions, hatched and fuelled by state leadership actors.
I am pained to scribble down this open letter to you. I am more saddened upon the realization that the ongoing bloodbath in my dear state of Taraba is unnecessary, avertable and should not have stretched this far. There is no reason to keep us in perpetual wailings only if our leaders restore their suspended wisdom, sense of judgment and downplay the elevation of clannish, ethnic, religious and partisan interests above the sacredness of human lives.
Your Excellency Sir, I was one of the many Tarabans who initially believed the violence, killings and mindless bloodbath in our budding state are spurred by the deceptive configuration of herders/farmers crisis. But after the crisis prolonged beyond expectations, with faint possibility of cessation, I decided to take a deeper and more critical interest in studying the forces at play in the state, particularly in my ancestral enclave, Takum Local Government Area.
What I have discovered in the last few weeks has really saddened me. To my greatest surprise and contrary to widely held views, the public perception of the crisis as a conflict between herders and farmer is a façade to cover-up the silent state-sponsored agenda of ethnic cleansing embarked upon by your administration.
The latter-day unjustifiable inclusion of the Nigerian Army into the raging tenor of the conflagrations in Taraba state, only shows to what extent the state actors in the crisis are prepared to execute this barbaric and unacceptable agenda. Mr. Governor, I know of your intentions of stamping the superiority of the Jukun tribe in Taraba state from the inception of your administration. It reflected in the formation of your cabinet and appointment of personal aides.
What never crossed my mind is the thought that you would resort to territorial suppression and conquest, by seeking to violently undermine the existence of other ethnic groups, in a multi-ethnic state like Taraba.
Mr. Governor, you vainly searched for ways to execute this evil plan on the people of Taraba, until the opportunity offered itself belatedly, when you borrowed the idea of anti-open grazing law from Benue state. This is a law which you have used as a spark to precipitate the current crisis of annihilation of other tribes in the state.
The youths you allegedly armed as foot soldiers in prosecuting this evil agenda have caused a lot of atrocities in various communities in the state, embarking on silent killings, acts of arson and cattle rustlings. When the situation became tough and unbearable for Tarabans, they cried out loudly and President Muhammedu Buhari responded by deploying the Army to quell the crisis.
The antagonistic and hostile reception of the Army in the state was orchestrated by you, through cronies you have empowered in lawlessness. And when Gen. TY Danjuma (rtd), an elder statesman, who is believed to have planted you as Governor of the state in 2015, raised unsubstantiated allegations of the Army colluding with attackers against people of the state, it ennobled you to deepen your destructive hold on the state.
It is now indisputable that the youths allegedly armed by you are emboldened by Gen. Danjuma’s persuasion of self-defence to commit more heinous crimes against our innocent people, by killings, maiming and destructions, which Is erroneously, but deliberately attributed to Fulani herdsmen.
As if insulting our sensibilities thus far is not enough, your government has allegedly graduated into sponsoring public protests by groups against the Nigerian Army and other security agencies to release your arrested armed youths caught in grave criminal acts in some communities.
Candidly, this is an aberration because assuming you had no special interest in the crisis rocking our state, as a leader, you would have allowed the law to run its full course on the arrested suspects. But instead, you are seeking to rudely and crudely interrupt their lawful interrogation in order to allow the bloodbath to fester.
Nothing has exposed your secret plot of ethnic cleansing than the protest a few days ago in Takum Local Government Area. My secret findings indicate that Takum Local Government council Chairman, Hon. Shiban Tikare unwittingly confirmed the killings of innocent civilians by armed militias sponsored by the council.
Soldiers intervened to restore peace and arrested some of the suspects. And almost instantly, protests by faceless groups, allegedly sponsored by you and the Takum council boss, calling on the withdrawal of the Army and release of two suspects earlier arrested over the unrest in the area is most unfortunate, uncivilized and against established lawful conventions.
Your Excellency Sir; it is time to have a rethink about the conflagrations you and your minions have ignited and plunged the state. Tarabans are tired with the crisis. Please, stop arming youths that are causing problems in our communities. The Jukuns in Taraba are not after ethnic supremacy. We want to continue to live peacefully and harmoniously with other ethnic nationalities in the state.
Our Governor, stop this bloodshed and the genocidal proportion of massacres of innocent people. Allow security agents, particularly soldiers to perform their constitutional assignment of peace keeping and restoration of normalcy to our troubled areas. We are sick and tired of this game or agenda you are gleefully and arrogantly executing.
I know this letter may anger you; it may incense your ardent supporters and it would instigate reactions of varying dimensions against me, from your clan of ardent adherents who are making huge political and financial capital from the unabated crisis. But the truth cannot be shielded forever.
Rather, it is my inner conviction that posterity may not forgive me, if I fail to speak out the truth at this critical hour or keep silent in the face of this wanton killings, destructions and needless restiveness.
Mr. Governor sir, you are our problem and not the Nigerian Army or other security agencies. Look inwards; remember the God you serve, who Himself admonishes us that we are created equal in His own image.
I know this open epistle to you has placed me on the path of danger or posed obvious threats to my life. I could be incapacitated or even killed by your hirelings or armed militias no comfortable with its contents. But I am not perturbed, because even if I die, I will die a happy man, knowing I died for the truth. Once again, stop arming the youths responsible for the restiveness in Taraba state.
And you have no option than to take the decision to disarm these youths now, because you have created a template for these armed youths to embark on vengeance. The armed militias are killing innocent people in communities they have had issues over ancestral lands and disguise same as “farmers-herders crisis.”
Again, lastly, Your Excellency, even though I share the same ethnic affinity with you, but I cannot subscribe to this idea of ethnic cleansing. So, I feel duty bound to speak out because no individual or group Interest is worth the continuous shedding of blood of innocent Nigerians anywhere they are domiciled.
Thank you for your patience and time in perusing this letter. And may Almighty God grant you the wisdom to harken to the voice of conscience by disarming the youths to end these deadly crises.