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Gov. Ishaku Doesn’t Hate Muslims, Says Media Aide

Governor Darius Ishaku does not discriminate against any religion or ethnic group in Taraba state. Rather, he works assiduously to strengthen bonds in the state with its diversities. Making these assertions, the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Emmanuel Bello, said it was preposterous to suggest that there was an anti-Islamic agenda in the administration policy thrust.

Bello was reacting to an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari purportedly written by a group and making the rounds in the social media, where, among other things, Governor Ishaku was accused of working against Muslims through his appointments and preferences.

The petition addressed to President Buhari and top security chiefs, alleged that Governor Ishaku has been selecting and secretly paying off Christians retired public office holders, like former Governor Jolly Nyame, who are owed pension arrears.

But swiftly debunking these, Bello said the governor is color blind as far as ethnic or religious differences were concerned in the state. He said, “If you anchor your politics on religion in Taraba state, you would burn your hands. Because in almost every family you enter, we have members of same faiths coexisting. The governor himself is from such a family in Takum. Besides, his sojourn in Zaria and Kaduna as a student, architect, and lecturer has integrated him well enough with people of diverse faith backgrounds and has made him cosmopolitan.”

On the issue appointments into government, Bello said that Taraba state has no history of religious preferences in that regard. Many appointments, he said, are strictly based on merit to start with. “The governor’s Special Political Adviser, for instance, is a Muslim.” Further stressing that the development going on in the state like the road constructions, hospitals, the airport, etc. are all for Tarabans irrespective of faith, gender or tribe.

He said, “Whenever Governor Ishaku signs off the salary wage bill each month, he cares less about the faiths of those entitled to payments. He is more concerned about how their welfare is affected. The state pensions have no problems. Mostly it is at the local governments we have challenges and we are addressing them. Pensions and salaries on Taraba state have no religions.”