Governor Darius Ishaku has flagged-off the European Union Support for Nutrition and Resilience Project in Taraba.
Gov. Ishaku delivering his speech at the event.
While welcoming the EU ambassador, Mr. Ketil Karlsen and his team to the State, the Governor disclosed that the impact of the European Union’s support to Taraba is a sign that the State is making progress in the agricultural sector and added that it would have a direct bearing on the farmers and their families.
Governor Ishaku revealed that the Government would not rest on its oars in ensuring the goals of the European Union’s investment is strictly adhered to for most profit.
“This Prosell Project is a welcomed development for us in Taraba and I urge our farmers to seize this opportunity to increase their productivity base through the high yielding seedling that will be distributed to the designated areas earmarked for the take off as the much anticipated opportunity to sell your products through a coordinated channel is ready and available”.
He maintained that the gesture of the EU will further enhance cooperation between the State and the agency in economic growth, food security and environmental development.
The Head of Health Nutrition and Resilience section, Mrs. Montserrat Pantaleoni Giralt who is represnting the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, keenly observing the made-in Taraba palm oil. One of the revived moribund companies by Gov. Ishaku’s administration.
The European Union ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ketil Karl
sen represented by the Head of Health Nutrition and Resilience section, Mrs. Montserrat Pantaleoni Giralt noted that the Union was attracted to Taraba having monitored the massive investment of the Government in the agricultural sector.
This she said was followed by deploying an assessment team to the State for proper evaluation of areas earmarked for the pilot scheme.
“The European Union through the OXFAM agency has been able to cover a lot of ground in ensuring food security and profit to farmers from large scale sales. The 10 million Euros set aside for the first phase of the project is available and the other 10 million will come in the long run”.
The project, according to the Union’s country program director Mr. Temitayo Omole, is targeting about fifty percent of women and thirty percent of the youths as they make up the most important group who will be engaged in the pilot scheme.
He revealed that the project would also train about sixty thousand, five hundred extension workers for easy access to the farmers.
The Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. David Ishaya who is the convener of the project earlier expressed huge optimism in the project and affirmed that the Government would make sure the farmers get the best possible result from the support of the European Union to boost agricultural growth and increase their output from the quality seeds they would be receiving.
Dr. Ishaya commended the Governor for the investment the agricultural sector has enjoyed so far.
The Hope Health Center an offshoot of the Hope Afresh Foundation Taraba, has marked its first year anniversary.
His Excellency, Arc. Darius Ishaku with his wife, Barr. Anna Ishaku celebrating the one year anniversary of Hope Health Centre in Jalingo.
The center which was established by Her Excellency Barrister Anna Darius Ishaku is a rehabilitation centre for the treatment of people battling with drug and substance abuse.
Mrs. Ishaku disclosed that she was moved to open the centre when she was confronted with pathetic stories of persons involved with drug abuse and other related addictions.
She revealed that the center was a direct investment from her office to help giveTarabans trapped in the world of drug addiction an exit route through rehabilitation.
“It was a concern to me when I heard the story of a priest who was battling with drug abuse and I thought it wise to set up a facility that will help those looking for an easy way to stay away from drugs.
“The center is not mine but it is my little contribution to making Tarabans come out of the scourge of drug addiction which has devastating effect on the overall well-being of those abusing it”.
She paid tribute to the pioneer staff of the centre who have been very dedicated to service and helping people undergoing rehabilitation at the center and urged them to be steadfast as the sacrifice for humanity can only be divinely rewarded.
In his remarks, Taraba Governor Darius Ishaku who was the special guest of honour promised to build a proper rehabilitation centre that will be affiliated with the State Specialist Hospital.
He praised the good work the foundation was doing to help reduce the rate of people becoming insane due to addiction from drugs and stressed on the need for the center’s activities to be documented and stored to enable future leaders of the state consolidate on the inroads being made by the center.
“We are at a critical time in our history as a State. I therefore believe the problem of reducing the menace of insanity from drug related problems is to have a befitting rehabilitation center. I will ensure the center’s funding is captured in the 2019 budget”
According to Father Cyracus Kamai, the problem of drug addiction is beyond what many in the society can comprehend. He commended Mrs Ishaku for establishing the center, claiming it to be the best pet project by any First Lady of the state.
The anniversary which served as a fundraiser for the center had notable individuals, groups and organizations who made cash donations for the upkeep of clients at the center.
Highlight of the occasion was testimonies from clients who had graduated from the center.
For many in Taraba, the Rescue Mission of Arc. Darius Ishaku has restored hope and raised the bar of expectations of better things to come if re-elected for a second term.
Mrs. Lamin Isa who resides in Nyabunkaka area of Jalingo and makes her living through sales of cucumber told our reporter that the people of Taraba did not make a mistake of electing Governor Ishaku into office in 2015.
Lamin who was full of smiles while speaking with our reporter said the Governor’s achievements had surpassed many across the country. She enumerated prompt payment of workers’ salaries, rural and urban roads construction, provision of water, youth empowerment among others as the key areas the Governor has changed well on the lives of Taraba people in the past three and a half years.
“Before I used to sell provision, but since I ventured into the business of selling cucumber, my profit has doubled what I used to earn.
“I still maintain my provision store close to Aungwan Fulani where I also sell cucumber, green pepper and Irish potatoes, but as you can see I am hawking cucumber and what I make in a day is far more than what I used to sell in the shop,” she said.
For Abubakar Mahmud, the 7.6 kilometre road network recently commissioned by the Governor Ishaku led administration in Magami was one of the best things that happened in his life.
Mahmoud said driving on the Magami roads before Governor Ishaku’s Rescue searchlight was beamed on the area used to be a nightmare because of the deplorable condition of the roads in the area.
“with the construction of these road network around Magami here, our community is liberated and we are very happy with this administration.”
For Rhoda Yakubu, a mother of four, there can never be a better rescue than the construction of Magami roads, the liberation of the people of Ngada, the construction of the Agro Green House and opening up of rural areas through road construction. This she considers a positive development.
In the same vein, a local government worker from Zing who simply gave his name as Shoranko said, “today, the Biometric Verification Exercise carried out by Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs under the leadership of the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji BELLO YERO has cleared up the mess in the system, saving millions of Naira for the state government to execute other projects.”
For Mr. Dila Thomas, a local government staff who was shocked that so many names on the payroll of his local government were ghost workers, “Ishaku is a God sent to Taraba.” He commended Governor Darius Ishaku for having the brave mind to embark on the exercise.
The expressions by Mahmoud , Rhoda and Dila represents the general feelings of the people of the state on the administration of Governor Darius Ishaku.
When he took the mantle of leadership, in a keenly contested election in 2015, Governor Darius Ishaku promised that he would rescue every sector of the state. Since then, he has embarked on people oriented projects to better the lives of Tarabans who overwhelmingly voted him into power.
Top on the Governor’s mind when he assumed office was the restoration of peace, provision of water, youth and women empowerment, education, health and Agriculture among others.
Worried that, water a God given commodity could be so scarce in the State, Governor Ishaku sank boreholes in more than five communities even before he was elected governor. To further consolidate on this gains in the water sector, Governor Ishaku in collaboration with the African Development Bank, AFDB, has completed the first phase of the water project in the state capital which is expected to supply 47,273m3 of water per day by 2035.
The first phase of the project was commissioned in 2017 alongside the N2billion Taraba Agro Green House project and the 6.75 dualised Jalingo Kona road by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during his official visit to the state.
Between 2016 and 2017 the Governor sank 100 boreholes across communities in the state and more communities are to benefit from the 150 boreholes project under the Rescue Watch Initiative, all in a bid to provide more communities with potable water.
“Many of the diseases affecting our people are as a result of constant intake of bad water and we are determined to change that through provision of potable water for our rural and urban dwellers,” Governor Ishaku stated this at the inspection of water projects in Jalingo during his first year anniversary.
Youth and Women Empowerment
In a bid to check youth restiveness and empower women in the state, the governor in June 2015 signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bank of Industries, BoI, where both parties committed N700 million for disbursement to micro, small and medium scale entrepreneurs targeted at creating at least 10,000 jobs in the state, especially among youth and women.
The Governor’s Skill Acquisition Training Programme has so far trained over 1,400 youths and women in various skills, making many of them employers of labour in various like soap making, carpentry and woodwork, welding and fabrication, cloth weaving and dying, tailoring among others.
Economic experts including the Managing Director of Bank of Industries Mr. Rasheed Ola Oluwa have commended the governor for the initiative saying that the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises MSME’s accounted for half of Nigeria’s labour force, contributing over 50 percent of the county’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and urged the beneficiaries to take the scheme very seriously to grow the country’s economy.
Concurrently, the office of the First Lady through her pet project, Hope Afresh Foundation Taraba, has also done a lot in women and youth empowerment, with the support of the governor.
In the area of road infrastructure, the Governor has consolidated on the projects of his predecessor, late Danbaba Suntai. Today, despite the lean resources and dwindling Federal allocation coming into the state, Ishaku is not only up to date in the payment of workers’ salaries, he has continued the funding of the road projects he inherited and has embarked on new ones to open up the rural areas of the state.
For instance, the Jalingo-Kona-Lau road which was awarded by the Federal Government eight months before Ishaku assumed power was still begging for attention. But on assumption of office, the Governor took over the construction of the road because of its importance to the people of the state.
The 6.5 kilometre single lane road awarded without drainage construction has now been taken over by the State Government. The contract was reviewed and expanded to a dual carriageway with super drainage system considering the large volume of water and vehicular traffic that flow on the road.
Jalingo Township has been completed and commissioned. Today, the Jolly Nyame way in Jalingo wears a new look, the neglected Magami road network has also been completed. Contract has also been awarded for the construction of 4.9 kilometre TSBS- Aungwan- Kassa- NNPC Mega Station road still in Jalingo the State capital.
Another 6.5km Takum-Katsina-Ala road, a Federal road has also been commissioned. Wukari Tsokundi road construction is ongoing, same as Mararaban Pantisawa-Lacheke road connecting the Yorro local government headquarters. Work on the section B of the Takum Peva-Chanchanji- Wukari road is also receiving attention.
Health, education and the judiciary also enjoy the attention of the governor. The Taraba State Specialist Hospital benefited from the governor’s rescue mission as funds were approved to maintain the facilities at the hospital. During the outbreak of Lassa Fever in the state, the Governor released funds which helped in containing the spread of the virus.
The Governor has accorded the health sector the needed attention it deserves, bearing in mind that a healthy society is a productive society. Today, Wukari General Hospital has been remodeled and commissioned, while work is progressing steadily at the Bambur General Hospital in Karim Lamido Local Government and Gembu General Hospital in Sardauna LGA.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Innocent Vakkai said the two projects would soon be completed and commissioned to enable people of the zones access quality medical care without necessarily traveling down to Jalingo with all the risks involved with traveling especially with patients.
The Judicial staff who were on strike before the Governor came into office are now back and smiling to banks, even as the he also procured new vehicles for senior judicial workers.
In the educational sector, the State Government has embarked on training and retraining of teachers in public schools leading to improvement in the result of the state in external examinations. In 2017, Taraba came first in the North and 8th in Nigeria among states with good results in WAEC.
This is even as the state government has continued with the funding of the State University to make it one of the best in Nigeria.
In 2017, the Governor recruited 3000 teachers, procured and distributed instructional materials to schools in the state to boost teaching and learning.
To unlock the keys of investment opportunities in Taraba and woo investors and tourists to the state, Ishaku opened up commercial flight at the Jalingo Airport, the first of its kind since the creation of the state in 1991.
The Airport project which was conceived in 2005 by former Governor Jolly Nyame’s administration did not commence commercial flight until Ishaku came on board in May, 2015. On December 7, 2015, six months into his administration the Governor in partnership with Overland Airways commenced commercial flight operations at the airport.
With Overland Airways now operating on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays every week, conveying passengers to and from Abuja and Lagos, Taraba has now been launch into the new world. Ishaku’s Chief Press Secretary, Hassan Mijinyawa believes that with the Jalingo Airport now functional, investors and some of the Governor’s friends outside the country would soon begin massive investment in the state, jumping in and out easily using the airport.
Culture and Tourism is having its fair share of the rescue mission intervention. According to State Commissioner for Tourism, Hon. James Gani,
“Taraba state has a lot of Tourism potentials” and the government was working towards developing a Tourism master plan that would put the state on the global tourism map for the good of the state and the country.
Digitisation of the state media outfits
The rescue mission Ship has also berthed on the shores of the state’s media outfits with an appreciable level of intervention. On assumption of office, the Governor awarded a N1.7 billion contract for effective switch over from analogue to digital broadcasting of the Taraba Television, TTV, and Taraba State Broadcasting Service, TSBS.
This the Governor said is to make sure that the state broadcast media outfits are not left in the planned digital switch over. Already, procurement and installation of digital equipment has commenced and work on the TSBS transmitting station along Mile Six is in progress.
A new studio for the state television has been completed and the station is now fully digitalised. With this Taraba is poised to be the next state after Plateau to switch over to digital broadcasting in the country.
Resuscitation of Kakara Tea and other moribund companies
The beverage industry has also received a boost. Today, the story of Kakara Tea has changed, courtesy of the rescue mission of the Governor. Ishaku pushed for the completion and commissioning of Tonga Dam Small Hydro Electric Power Plant which now supplies power 24 hours to the factory.
The Governor also procured and commissioned new machines at the tea factory to maximise productivity. The Taraba Oil mills company in Baissa, Kurmi LGA and the Vival feed mills in Zing LGA have been revived and are now operating optimally.
In all the success story of the Ishaku led administration, analysts have continued to point in the direction of security as the administration’s trump card. The Governor who came on board when the entire central and southern parts of the state were under siege of armed herdsmen. But he worked to make sure that all displaced persons returned to their homes.
However security remains the challenge of the administration. Despite the Governor’s persistent call on the people of the state; “give me peace and I will give you development,” attacks and killings have continue unabated in some parts of the state.
As part of efforts to check incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the state, the Governor sent an Executive Bill to the State House of Assembly prohibiting open grazing which was considered and signed into law. The people’s Governor who always listens to his people has opted for gradual implementation of the law to carry all along.
The Governor has also upgraded and created new Chiefdoms which will go a long way in addressing some of the security concerns in the state. This will no doubt help in curtailing cases of influx of strange people into communities in the state and help in checking threats of insecurity.
Though killings in the State have taken a different dimension similar to Boko Haram style, the Governor has not relented in ensuring that there is peace in the state. His famous call to to the people of the state, “give me peace and I will you development” is legendary. Indeed, the Rescue Mission has restored hope in Taraba in the past three years.
As the people of Taraba prepare for another round of votes in 2019, these achievements of the Darius administration will play a role in his favor and the people of Taraba can hope for better days ahead in Governor Darius Ishaku’s second term in office.
Taraba State Governor, Arc. Darius Ishaku on Sunday called on the people of the State to ensure they all collect their permanent voters cards (PVCs) to vote leaders of their choice in 2019.
Governor Ishaku made the call at St. Justina Catholic Church Mayo-Dassa Jalingo while speaking at the launch of the book titled ‘The Bible at a Glance’ written by Rev. Fr. James Vontih.
The Governor said he was worried by the report from INEC that over 135,000 PVCs were lying unattended to at the commission’s office and enjoined the people of the state to make haste to collect them in order to vote for good leaders in 2019.
The governor who was represented by the Chaplain of the Government House Chapel, Jalingo, Rev. Sheka Bambur said his administration was determined to rescue the people of the State from the shackles of unemployment, poverty and insecurity and called on the people to support his re-election.
Earlier, author of the book and Priest in Charge of St. Justina Catholic Church Mayo-Dassa, Rev. Fr. James Vontih said the launching of the book was his initiative to support the building of a befitting House of worship for God.
Vontih said the book was part of his efforts to support the Catholic community of St. Justina Mayo-Dassa who are temporarily worshipping in a school hall of St. Justina Nursery and Primary School and encouraged all to support his initiative.
Dr. Williams Benedict of the College of Agriculture, Jalingo who reviewed the book commended the priest for taking his time in compiling the book, describing it as timely.
“At a time when many people are turning to iPad and smartphones to read the Bible and ignoring the hard copy of the bible, the book is timely as it provides executive summary of what the Bible entails.
“The book gives a deep interpretation of the Bible and will help shape and enrich the understanding of many Christians who will read the book.”
Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku has commissioned a well equipped maternity ward at the General Hospital, Warwar in Sardauna Local Government Area.
He also donated an ambulance to the health facility to tackle emergency cases and improve health care delivery in the surrounding villages.
The Governor who is on a one week working visit to the area also commissioned a pipe borne water project and a bridge and visited some remote villages in Warwar, Vakude, Mbamnga among others.
According to him, the Warwar General Hospital was among the hospitals on his list of priorities and he was fulfilled to see that he had kept his campaign promise to the people.
“Health is one of the priorities of my government, as a healthy society leads to improved well being as well as good life and productivity. It is in the light of this that my government has undertaken the renovation and equipping of sets of hospitals and Primary Healthcare Centres across the state.
“The General Hospital Wukari has since been renovated, equipped and adequately staffed with medical consultants, doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists and pharmacists to mention but a few.
“Similarly, renovation works are almost completed at General Hospitals Bambur and Gembu. By December, we will commission the General Hospital Gembu which will be connected to General Hospital Warwar.
“Also, contracts for the supply of medical equipment of international standard have been approved by the Executive Council.”
Ishaku thanked the Speaker, Abel Peter Diah whom he called his good ally for keying into the rescue mission and doing his own quoter to ease the challenges of the people.
He appealed to the people to give him peace so he could continue to give them development that would be long lasting. He also thanked the people of the area for the confidence reposed on his administration and urged them to repeat same in 2019 so that the dividends of democracy could continue to flow.
The Speaker expressed his delight for having the Governor take the pains of leaving his comfort and every other thing to journey through the rigorous terrain to see his people.
“Your name has gone down record book in the hearts of Warwar people because you are the first civilian Governor after two military administrators, Col. Jega and Col. Maman Dickson to come to Warwar.
“Your Excellency, since the creation of Taraba State, apart from the generator, no government presence (in terms of projects) has been felt until now. We remain indebted to you sir.
He said history had been made by the visit and told the Governor he could go to sleep, assured that the people of Warwar and Mbamnga constituencies would vote him massively.
The Governor commissioned a well equipped maternity ward of the General Hospital Warwar which was renovated by Rt. Hon. Abel Peter Diah, a pipe borne water project and a bridge.