He said, “perhaps I’m the only one who knows how deeply hurt I feel when I hear of the death of any Taraba citizen due to crisis or, as a matter of fact, for any other reasons. Of all the things Taraba people look up to me for, the preservation of their lives and properties is number one. If I fail to protect them, then I’ve really failed. So that’s why I said I would give my life; I would rather be sacrificed than any Taraba person no matter their tribes, religion or status, who die because of any violence. It won’t happen under my watch and I mean it. I would not sleep until there is peace every where”.
Ishaku made these assertions at a dinner he held with some selected Editors of various newspapers in Abuja. In his opening remarks, Ishaku said the era of keeping the media out of government activities is gone as the emphasis is on partnership. He said he is a beneficiary of the work of journalists especially in ensuring that people’s mandate are protected. He noted that the dinner was designed to foster better relationships between the state and the media.
He said, “I consider my self a friend of the media and have always sought ways to have a better relationship. Back in our state we are actively pursuing the digitization project of our television and radio outfits. We now have 17 hours of television and the radio is also enhanced because we have phased out obsolete equipment. We believe someday we can have 24 hours TV. We have a newspaper, the Sunrise newspaper, that’s has now relapsed but we are working hard to revive it. What we did was to take their over 80 staff and subsumed them into other ministries for their salaries. When we are done digitising, we shall go back to the paper.”
On the crisis that engulfed the Sarduana local government, Gov. Ishaku said it was all about land, noting that it was not ethnic or religious. He said that the 3% population of the Fulani on the Mambilla owned practically all the land.
He said while this is not their fault, the 90% Mambilla are left scrounging for land. He said this is the basis for the conflict much like in some part of the South East Nigeria. He said the challenge would be to solve the land ownership problem which the government is looking into. He said people with claims over lands would have to prove it. He assures that there is no policy to forcefully take land away from owners but that justice must be done. He said those resisting justice may be the ones enticing people to go cause trouble.
Ishaku also said he would be willing to hear an alternative to ranching a way of stopping the clashes of herders and farmers. He said, “if there is a better option to good cow production or a Better method to stop cows from rampaging and causing all the destruction, please I should be shown. But for now, and I think all over the thinking world, this is what you find.”