Warring Ethnic Groups In Taraba Sign Peace Pact

fulani-herdsmenA peace agreement has been signed by warring factions in Taraba state, north east region of Nigeria following dialogue among the affected communities with a pledge to establish peace and friendly relationship.

The truce was brokered by the Presidential Peace Committee led by Deputy Inspector General of Police, Michael Zonkumor, between the Junkun, Hausa, Tiv, and Fulani in the southern zone of the state with assurance to cease hostilities and coexist peacefully.

There had been series of communal clashes particularly in Ibi, Wukari and Takum Local Government Areas of the state while the Tiv/Fulani crisis that spilled over from Benue State affected four other local government councils resulting in loss of lives, property and displacement of several families.

As part of measures to curtail escalation of the crisis, the acting governor, Mr Garba Umar, summoned a security council meeting between traditional rulers, security chiefs and local government chairmen after which more security personnel were deployed to the affected areas while some relief materials were given to the displaced persons.

 

Taraba Assembly Defies Court Order, Swears in Commissioners

The High Court of Taraba state sitting in Jalingo yesterday granted an order of interim injunction restraining the speaker and the members of the Taraba State House of Assembly from acting on any letter written by the acting governor of the state.

The Acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar is said to have written a letter to the state House of Assembly seeking the approval of certain persons to be appointed into the Taraba State Executive Council as commissioners.

The names of the commissioners pending approval as contained in the letter was admitted by the court as Exhibit F.

After hearing an application filed by the governor of the state, Danbaba Suntai, the presiding judge, Justice Ali Andenyangtso granted the order restraining the state House of Assembly from acting on it pending the determination of a suit on the matter.

Taraba State Acting Governor Alhaji Garba Umar had forwarded the names of six commissioner nominees to the state House of Assembly for consideration and confirmation.

“Pursuance to Section 192 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all powers enabling me in that regard, I have the honour of forwarding herewith the list of nominees for appointment as commissioners/members State Executive Council for your consideration and confirmation” , Umar said.
Those nominated include; Barrister Musa Tende (Donga), Mathias Danazumi (Zing), Iliya Ali Lege (Ibi), Hajia Batulu K. Mohammed (Gashaka), Ate Sale Kundu (Wukari) and Sa’adu Shehu Ajuji (Gassol).

New Speaker, Josiah Sabo Kente, who read the letter to the House, subsequently ordered that the commissioner nominees appear before the House for screening today (Tuesday) after members unanimously affirmed their nomination.

Assembly Defies Court Order

Taraba State House of Assembly on Tuesday screened six persons nominated to be commissioners by the state deputy governor Alhaji Garba Umar.

The move came barely 24 hours after Governor Danmbaba Suntai obtained an order of the State High Court restraining the law makers from screening the commissionership nominees.

However, brushing aside the court order, the law makers led by newly-appointed Speaker Josiah Kente screened Musa Tende, Mathias Danazumi, Iliya Ali Legs and Ate Sale Kundu.

In addition, the law makers screened Hajiya Batulu Mohammed, and Sa’adu Shehu Atuji.

Speaker Kente told reporters that he was not aware of any order restraining the Assembly from confirming the commissioner nominees.

Taraba Assembly Divided Over Suntai’s Fitness To Resume Office

Lawmakers of the Taraba State House of Assembly seem to be divided over the fitness or otherwise of the state governor, Danbaba Suntai, to resume work as the chief executive.

Suntai had just arrived from New York on Sunday after spending 10 months abroad for medical treatment following the injuries he sustained when he crashed a jet he was piloting near Yola, the Adamawa state capital.

While the speaker of the state Assembly, Hon. Haruna Tsokwa,  disclosed that Suntai was not fit to resume duties on the grounds that the Assembly was yet to gain access to the governor to ascertain his medical fitness, the majority leader, Hon  Joseph  Kunini, claimed that the governor was fit to resume work and that the Assembly had received a letter from him to this effect.

However, the speaker insisted that the deputy governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, would remain in office as acting governor until further notice.

Tsokwa, who described the political situation in the state as worrisome, expressed concern that four days after Suntai’s return to the state, the leadership of the Assembly was yet to gain access to him, adding that despite several calls to his residence to see him, the governor’s wife had refused to allow the lawmakers to meet Suntai.

Speaking to journalists in the state yesterday, Tsokwa said that the political trend in the state needs to be handled with care to avoid anarchy and  described the press conference  by the majority leader,  Hon Kunini, yesterday in Jalingo as a calculated attempt to plunge the state into crisis.

The speaker added that the delay in addressing journalists since the arrival of the ailing governor was a deliberate attempt to ensure that the Assembly is properly acquainted with the correct position of the matter.

According to the speaker, the claim by majority leader and his associates that he (the speaker and his deputy) had run away from the office to an undisclosed place to avoid meeting with people was unfounded, saying that they had been in the state trying to attend to some important matters that needed the urgent attention of the leadership of the House.

The   speaker urged those trying to foment crisis in the state to desist as the state is in dire need of prayers from everyone.

Suntai fit to resume – Majority Leader

Meanwhile, the majority leader, Hon Kunini, has stated that the state  Assembly is  satisfied that Suntai has fully resumed duty, having fulfilled Section 190 (2) of the 1999  Constitution  (as amended) requiring him to transmit a letter to the Assembly  communicating that he is back to the state to continue his duties as governor.

Kunini,  who said he spoke with journalists in Jalingo yesterday on behalf of the speaker, deputy speaker, and other principal officers of the Assembly,  said that they had received the letter sent from Suntai to the Assembly and had confirmed that Suntai was capable of restarting his work of governing the state.

He said that before briefing journalists, he the majority leader of the House, had verified the letter sent to the House by Suntai, and that the letter was accepted based on their verification.

He noted that the said Section 190 subsections 2 of the constitution made it mandatory for the governor to transmit a letter to the Assembly informing it that he is physically fit to resume office.

Kunini said, “Governor Suntai has done well to have sent a letter to the House. He can even decide to sent a text, if he so wishes.

“According to the constitution, the governor “may” appear before the House if he wants to.  A governor is not under any obligation to appear before the House.

When asked why the Assembly  suspended sitting to deliberate on the letter sent to it by Suntai, he told journalists that  sitting was part of the work of the Assembly and that House was supposed to sit for 181 days within a particular legislative calendar.

He also noted that the Assembly could not sit between yesterday and today because members had no serious business to discuss due to preparations for the oncoming PDP convention.

He  however denied the insinuation by some members of the public that the state Assembly was factionalised.

“Nobody is for Umar and nobody is for Suntai”, he said, and reassured Tarabans and Nigerians that the ailing governor would soon appear to speak to the people of the state.