Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, says over 100 cases of kidnapping have been recorded in the state from January to September 2019.
He added that cash ranging from N500,000 to N5 million naira has been collected from victims as ransom within the period.
The governor made the disclosure on Thursday while speaking as a special guest at a one-day training for inter-agency personnel to form a joint operation team ahead of the commencement of operation Ayem Akpatuma in Taraba.
The operation which is slated to take place between November 1 and December 23 is aimed at ending security challenges and fostering civil-military relationships in the state.
According to Governor Ishaku, the military is no doubt the most consistent sector of Nigeria’s security architecture.
He said, “Right from independence, the complex task of keeping Nigeria one and protecting the nation from internal and external aggressions, undoubtedly rests on the military.
”This makes the Nigerian military to remain an integral of the nation’s internal security structure, given the magnitude of current security threats in the country.”
The governor opined that the foundation of the nation’s unity and democracy was threatened recently by different forms of conflicts ranging from sectarian to ethno-religious crisis and other forms of crimes such as kidnappings, cattle rustling, terrorism, and farmers-herders crisis among others.
He stressed that these conflicts have severe consequences on human and material resources of the nation.
A Crisis-Free State
Governor Ishaku noted the justification of military involvement in internal security, as provided in Section 217c of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“I must add that the cooperation between security agencies is very important and necessary if we must achieve our aims.
“The case of Taraba State is so unique and diverse from other parts of the country because it is the only state not bedevilled by the North-East insurgency; it serves as a safe haven for fleeing victims,” he said.
The governor stated that another peculiarity of Taraba was the multi-ethnic and multi-religious colorations of the state, where over 80 ethnic groups exist with three major religions.
He added, “In fact, I always say that Taraba is a mini-Nigeria. These amazing revelations call for a sensitive government not to rest on its oars to combat any form of criminality or security challenges.”
Governor Ishaku, however, gave assurance that his administration was ready to support efforts of the military towards peacebuilding and a crisis-free state.
He described Exercise Ayem Akpatuma II as a welcome development and announced the donation of 26 motorcycles and two Toyota Hilux vans to complement the Federal Government’s effort.
For operation ‘Wild Stroke’, the governor said his administration would offer the military four Hilux vans.
“I believe that this gesture will spur the security operatives to rid the state of miscreants which has become increasingly alarming for some months now in the state.
“In as much as the proposed exercise is meant to root out criminals in our various communities, I appeal to the military to do their operations with human face, mindful of issues that have to do with the violation of human rights and be guided by the acceptable standard in civil-military relationships,” he said.
The governor also urged the military to fashion out effective mechanisms to foster efficient inter-agency cooperation during the exercise to avoid unwholesome situations that may mar the good intentions of the exercise.
Earlier, the Commanding Officer of 23 Brigade, Yola, Brigadier General Mohammed, explained that the training was to provide a unique forum where security agencies, particularly from the three divisions would meet to exchange ideas towards enhancement of inter-agency cooperation.
He added that the choice of the theme ‘Inter-Agency Cooperation Imperative For Efficient Joint Operation’ was hinged upon the vision of a professional responsible Nigerian Army with requisite capacity in the discharge of its conditional role.
A tricycle operator, Imrana Idris, has been sentenced to one year imprison with an option of N20,000 fine in Taraba State.
The man was sentenced for knocking down an operative of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) recently in an attempt to evade arrest.
This was confirmed in a statement sent to Channels Television on Monday by the legal officer of the FRSC State Sector Command, Saidu Umar, in Jalingo, the state capital.
The statement said, “The Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, RS3.3 Taraba Sector Command wishes to inform the general motoring public that the command has recently secured a conviction against one Imrana Idris, a recalcitrant tricycle rider who was flagged down by a patrol team but refused to stop.
“In a case titled: FRSC-VS-IMRANA IDRIS CMCJ/56/2019, judgment in which was delivered on 25/9/2019, the offender was sentenced to one-year imprisonment or N20,000 fine for overloading, dangerous driving and assaulting marshal on duty.”
Idris was also ordered to pay the sum of N100,000 to the complainant as compensation for medical treatment, anticipatory damages, and cost of action.
According to the statement, the State Sector Commander, Mr Frank Okwueze, assured that the corps would ensure that all recalcitrant road traffic offenders in the state are duly prosecuted.
The Taraba state police command says it has killed a notorious armed robber who has been on their wanted list for months now.
In a press statement signed and issued by the Taraba state police command public relations officer, David Misal, said the success was recorded following a distress call by locals that armed men blocked Jatau/Borno kuru-Ku feeder road in Bali Local Government Area of Taraba, robbing traders returning from a nearby market.
According to the statement, on receiving the distress call, the police in conjunction with Vigilante group swung into action.
The statement adds that on sighting the police, members of the armed robbery gang engaged them in a gun duel which led to the death of the notorious armed robber while others fleeing escaped with bullet wounds.
The statement says a fabricated revolver pistol loaded with 9.3mm ammunition, charms and a motorcycle were recovered from the scene.
The statement urges members of the public to always feed the police with timely information for prompt action, stressing that Taraba state is no hiding place for criminals.
He added, “They surrounded the house and one of them climbed up the gate and was trying to come in; my security guards engaged him and they started shooting. On discovering that everyone was alerted, they left.”
Banti, however, explained that in the process of repelling the attackers, one of his guards was shot by the assailants.
He said the victim was taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo when he received treatment and now back to the palace.
The traditional ruler stressed that he informed the police about the attack while the fire exchange was ongoing but the security officials came in three vehicles after the hoodlums had already left.
“When they (police) arrived they could not find anyone, but they could hear the voices of the assailants crossing the nearby river.
“It has become a national problem. The issue of insecurity is everywhere. My call to the government and entire citizenry is for us to come together, build our state, and shun social vices for development to thrive,” he stated.
A funeral mass has been held by the Catholic Church in Taraba State in honour of Reverend Father David Tanko, a priest who was killed recently by gunmen in Kpankufu village in Takum Local Government Area of the state.
Scores of Christians gathered at the Our Lady of Queen of Peace Cathedral in Jalingo, the state capital on Tuesday to pay their last respect to the late priest of St. Peter’s Parish Kurfa Amadu.
The church condemned the killing, saying they hope the murder of the priest would be the sacrifice that would bring an end to the lingering Jukun-Tiv crisis in Taraba.
They also called on the government to up to its responsibility of protecting the lives and property of the citizens.
The Catholic Bishop of Jalingo Diocese, Most Reverend Father Charles Hammawa, said it was not easy to accept the circumstances that led to his death.
He, however, stated that the church would be comforted by the promise of resurrection for all who died in Jesus Christ.
The bishop also asked the government to use the institutional and constitutional power at its disposal to end the crisis between the Jukun and Tiv people in the state.
On his part, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Taraba, Isaiah Jirapye, promised that the association would continue to mediate for peace in the crisis.
The younger brother of the deceased, Jerry Yakubu, and one of his relatives, Ishaya Andokari, said the family has decided not to seek justice in any way, saying they have left the matter in God’s hands.
The late priest was who was killed on Wednesday last week at Kpankufu Village en route his parish and his body was burnt along with his vehicle.
The Inspector-General of Police, (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the Taraba Police Command to fish out the killers of the Catholic Priest, Rev. Father David Tanko.
Rev Father Tanko was murdered by suspected bandits in the early hours of Wednesday, at Kpankufu Village along Wukari Road on his way to Kofai Amadu Village in Taraba State.
The IGP in a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, condoled the Catholic Family in Nigeria over the unfortunate incident.
He also expressed deep concerns over the recent incidents of attacks on clergymen in some parts of the country and has directed Commissioners of Police in all the States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to henceforth pay special attention to the clergy and increase security around worship centres nationwide.
The IGP further directed the DIG in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) to provide additional forensic and other investigative assets to the Taraba State Command to aid investigations into the incident.
He enjoined the people to be calm and give maximum support to the Police in the bid towards unravelling the authors of the crime, their motives and circumstances surrounding the unfortunate killing of the Priest.
He also reassured the nation that the perpetrator(s) of the dastardly act will not go undetected and unpunished.