Ishaku Wants His Tracks Covered, Threatened By My Emergence – Bwacha

Combo of Emmanuel Bwacha and Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishiaku

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Taraba State, Emmanuel Bwacha has accused Governor Darius Ishaku of being behind his legal travails.

Bwacha alleged that the governor wants his party man and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Kefas Agbu to win the next election to cover his “tracks” after his eight-year administration.

Bwacha said Ishaku is threatened by his emergence as the APC candidate and has allegedly worked with some disgruntled members of the APC to deny him the ticket through various litigations.

 

 

“The governor of the state is threatened by my emergence. He knows that by the grace of God if I am on the ballot I will win this election,” he said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Monday.

“He (Ishaku) has a candidate, he wants someone who will succeed him and cover his tracks. It is normal, that is the tradition in all the states, no governor will want to leave without having a successor in place.”

Legal Maze

Bwacha, a serving Senator representing Taraba South Senatorial District, won the APC governorship primary in Taraba on May 26, 2022, months after he dumped the PDP for the APC in February.

His candidacy has since been challenged by some members of the APC in the state.

In September, Justice Simon Amobeda of a Federal High Court in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, sacked Bwacha after a petition by an ex-aspirant, David Kente.

By mid-November, Justice Donatus Egwuatu of a Federal High Court in Abuja also sacked Bwacha as the APC governorship candidate for Taraba after a suit filed by the Senator representing Taraba Central District, Yusuf Yusuf.

However, Bwacha appealed both judgements.

Last Thursday, Justice Tani Hassan of the Court of Appeal sitting in Yola set aside Justice Amobeda’s ruling and ordered that his name should be resubmitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Bwacha, on the Channels Television’s programme on Monday, accused “enemies from within” of being behind his legal ordeals.

The senator said he is not perturbed by the Abuja court ruling, expressing optimism that he will emerge victorious just as he was over the Jalingo court ruling.

“There are members of the APC who now wear two caps; they are neither here nor there, they have one leg here and another in the opposition. The desire of the opposition is that we don’t fill a candidate,” he said.

According to him, it does not profit any of his co-aspirants within the APC to seek his disqualification. He alleged that the plaintiffs in both cases were sponsored by the opposition who seeks to benefit from the tragedy.

Bwacha also said he has “empirical evidence” to defend his allegation that the PDP is working with some APC ex-aspirant to deny the party a governorship ticket in the 2023 general elections.

On whether he plans to hold peace talks with members of the APC in Taraba to solidify his acceptance into the party, he said, “The last person you can convince to work with me is the governor of the state. And if is the driving force behind one or two of the people that contested with me, it will be difficult to reach a consensus with them. However, I have not given up. I will reach out to them.”

Senator Bwacha Appeals Judgment Sacking Him As Taraba APC Governorship Candidate

File photo of Senator Emmanuel Bwacha

 

The former Deputy Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha on Tuesday said he has appealed the judgment of the Federal High Court that nullified the primary election that produced him as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Taraba State.

Briefing journalists in Jalingo, Bwacha said he is optimistic that the APC will take over Taraba State in 2023 for the first time despite its numerous litigations.

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“I am aware of the anxiety and curiosity created because of the happenings within our party and I thought it wise to speak to you that our people receive our assurances that things will work out well,” he said.

“The litigations in court understandably are as a result of the long-awaited need for an APC government to be established in Taraba State.

“When you see competing interests in a situation like this, you will know that it is where it is going to happen and as such we are comforted and believe that at the fullness of time, this thing will be brought to an end and the people will rejoice ”

“The people here at home want to form a government. They are tired of operating as opposition, but unfortunately, we have few among us who still want to continue with the normal business of contesting and losing just to look for juicy appointments thereafter in Abuja.

“We are trying to put an end to this and recreate a new narration and basically, that is why you’re seeing these struggles for power, and we are trusting God that it will come to an end as soon as possible.

“We are law-abiding citizens; we obey court orders. Though we are in court, we are trusting God that we will overcome.”

The lawmaker alleged that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Taraba State is the major cause of the APC’s problems, describing it as a sinking ship which has succeeded in penetrating the APC to also sink with it.

He added, “At the onset, the party actually interacted with us and we were getting the cooperation of some of our members. I can tell you for free that the matter is largely exacerbated by activities of the local PDP here which is sitting as an overload.

“You know what it means when a ship is sinking, by mere association with the ship, you begin to sink too and that is why some of our members have taken to this inglorious path of journey.

“The pressure from PDP appears to be having an overwhelming significance upon a few of them, but I am trusting God for a change because the APC hurricane that is coming across the land will definitely create understanding for them to see reasons to honour the mission statement of the party.”

Bwacha insisted that he will not flag off his gubernatorial campaign in the state until all court cases are over.

He also used the opportunity to speak on the crisis rocking the PDP as well as the activities of the five PDP governors, popularly known as the G5.

According to the lawmaker, the actions of Governor Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) isn not surprising.

The lawmaker noted that the G5 governors are against their party’s National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu and the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar since they are from the same northern part of the country.

Court Sacks Taraba Senator For Joining APC

A file photo of Senator Emmanuel Bwacha

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo the Taraba State capital has sacked Emmanuel Bwacha as Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for joining the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). 

Justice Simon Amobeda in his ruling ordered him to immediately vacate his seat as a Senator. He argued that his mandate in the Red Chamber belongs to the Peoples Democrat Party (PDP) not APC as he was elected under the platform of the main opposition party.

This has led to the PDP and APC in Taraba State now trading words over the ruling of the Federal High Court.

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The PDP in the State had approached the court to declare the Senator’s seat vacant for dumping the party on which he was elected.

The Public Relations Officer of APC who reacted to the judgement said that it does not come to them as a surprise based on the judge’s antecedents. He added that the ruling will be challenged at a higher court while the PDP commended the judgement.

Police Arrest Wanted Ambazonian Separatist Leader In Taraba

 

The Taraba Police Headquarters.

 

The police authorities in Taraba have arrested the Cameroon Ambazonia commander terrorizing some communities bordering the Republic of Cameroon for years.

The Commissioner of Police, Abimbola Sokoya disclosed this during a press conference in Jalingo to sensitize political party leaders on the need for violence-free polls in the state.

Sokoya said the arrest of the Ambazonia leader, popularly known as General Bazil, is a sequel to intelligence gathering over the years on his nefarious acts.

“It is a fact that the Commander of Ambazonia separatist warlords was arrested here in Nigeria,” the CP said.

“The antecedent was that he will commit a crime here in Nigeria, he will run to Cameroon, commit a crime in Cameroon and run down to Nigeria. Eventually, through the help of our community there, we were able to arrest him and i give you the assurance that he will be prosecuted.”

Five local government areas including Sardauna, Gashaka, Kurmi, Ussa and Takum are bordering the Republic of Cameroon.

These communities have over the years suffered attacks from the Ambazonian separatist rebels of the Republic of Cameroon with the latest on the Manga community which led to the killing of 12 residents, including the traditional ruler of the community.

According to the police, the Cameroonian Ambazonian separatist leader is in their net and an investigation has been launched to arrest other gang members.

He was arrested in the Kurmi Local Government Area of the state and already other Ambazonian rebels are threatening to burn down the community should he not be handed back to them.

The police commissioner also used the opportunity of the press conference to warn against vote buying, thuggery and social vices that could lead to violence, insisting the Command will not tolerate trouble makers in the 2023 polls.

“We should all abide by the new Electoral Act, avoid all forms of violence. I want to assure that with the step taken by political party leaders here, Taraba will be free of violence, no vote buying, slanderous words by opponents, destruction of political party billboards among others”

“By virtue of this exercise which is pivoted on the magnanimity of the Inspector General of Police, I want to reiterate here that the fact that we are focusing on election does not mean that we have already suspended or forgotten about our statutory duties in the maintenance of law and order,” the commissioner added.

Political party leaders present distanced themselves from the arrested Cameroonian Ambazonian warlord, insisting that they will work towards a violence free poll.

They however stressed that they are prepared for the forthcoming general election and will not tolerate backstabbing in any form.

The suspected Ambazonian separatist warlord has been on the watch list of security agencies in Nigeria and also the Republic of Cameroon.

12 Killed As Bandits Attack Taraba Community

A graphical illustration of gunmen.

 

Gunmen suspected to be bandits have killed at least 12 persons in the Bali Local Government Area of Taraba State.

The attackers who disguised as local vigilante group members stormed Dogon-Ruwa village in Bali, pretending to have arrived to arrest suspects. They opened fire, shooting sporadically, and killed 12 persons.

Confirming the incident to journalists in Jalingo the state capital, the Taraba Police Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Usman, said over 50 persons have fled the community.

However, four suspects have been arrested in connection to the incident and are currently under strict investigation.

He also disclosed that animals were rustled from the community.

The remains of the victims have been conveyed on motorcycles to Bali town for Islamic burial.

It was gathered that in recent times, some locals go from house to house in search of bandits’ informants and in the process kill them to avert further banditry attacks.

Bali and Gassol local government areas have been plagued with banditry attacks and have also been a safe haven for bandits fleeing the military onslaughts in Zamfara, Kaduna, and Katsina states.

According to the police PRO, the Commissioner of Police has given a directive to the divisional police officer of the Bali Local Government Area to hold a town hall meeting with the Fulani community leaders to bring synergy and avert escalation to other communities.

Woman, Two Children Missing In Taraba Boat Accident

This photo shows the boat involved in an accident on the shores of River Benue in Taraba State on September 13, 2022.

 

Three persons have been declared missing following a boat accident on the shores of River Benue located in Ibi Local Government Area (LGA) of Taraba State.

The Chairman of Ibi LGA, Bala Bako, who confirmed this to Channels Television on Tuesday via a telephone interview shortly after the incident, identified the victims as a woman and two children.

He narrated that the boat which was fully loaded with passengers was headed to Sarkin Kudu Market, located on the other side of the river.

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“While taking off from the coast, the boat’s engine started malfunctioning and suddenly went off,” Bako recounted. “In the course of restarting the engine, the boat drifted down and hit a building at the riverbank, causing it to break into two parts.”

The boat broke into two parts after hitting a building at the riverbank.

 

The incident, according to the local government boss, threw the passengers on the boat into confusion as they fought for survival.

“Several passengers jumped out; some had to swim to safety while others were rescued,” he added. Unfortunately, and sad enough, a woman and two children were not seen, they got drowned. Efforts are on already to rescue them if possible.”

In a bid to prevent a reoccurrence of the incident, Bako said the council would provide life jackets to safeguard the lives of passengers, as well as passenger manifest for proper documentation.

In this photo taken on September 13, 2022, a crowd of onlookers is seen at the scene of the boat accident in Taraba State.

Bandits Kill Three, Kidnap Many In Taraba

Suspected terrorists abducted an unspecified number of traders travelling along the Kaduna- Birnin Gwari Road
A graphical illustration of gunmen.

 

Gunmen suspected to be bandits have raided and killed three residents of Bali town, the headquarters of Bali Local Government Area of Taraba State.

The attack also led to the abduction of an unspecified number of people through a nearby bush path by the suspected bandits.

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Sources within the town disclosed that personnel of the Taraba Marshall, a security outfit of the state government at a checkpoint close to the general hospital, was the first victim before they attacked houses killing two others and abducting many others.

The source also revealed that the attackers came on motorbikes, shooting into the air to scare residents and security operatives.

The leader of the Tiv cultural group in the Bali local government area, David Zaki who lost two of his tribal men, stressed that those abducted are mostly women.

Zaki said that the attackers stormed the area Sunday night at about 11:00 pm.

Two other victims who were badly injured are receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital.

While describing the occurrence as terrible, the Tiv leader wants the government and security operatives to rise up to the occasion and forestall a reoccurrence.

“This is terrible, can you imagine that For more than three hours, the bandits were in total control of the Bali town and no confrontation from security agencies? What a country,” he said.

Police authorities are yet to, however,  confirm the incident.

Six Arrested For Alleged Murder Of Monarch In Taraba

The Commissioner of Police in Taraba State, Abimbola Sokoya briefs reporters in Jalingo on August 2, 2022.

 

Six suspects have been arrested in Taraba for killing the traditional ruler of Yukuben chiefdom in Takum Local Government Area of the state.

The victim – Udeng Ibrahim Yamusa – was killed on July 28 along with his son who was also his driver.

READ ALSO: Suspected Bandits Ambush, Kill Traditional Ruler, Son In Taraba

Before killing the duo, the gunmen had kidnapped the traditional ruler and his son on Thursday in an ambush while returning home from Takum, the headquarters of Takum LGA.

The Taraba Police Headquarters.

 

But addressing reporters on Tuesday in Taraba, the State Commissioner of Police, Abimbola Sokoya, said thorough investigations have been launched to ensure that other culprits are not spared.

Noting that the State Police Command has also recorded some casualties, Sokoya assured that peace will be restored in an area gripped with violence.

He also reiterated the commitment of police operatives to tackling the several security challenges rocking the North-Eastern state.

“On Thursday, July 28, 2022, information came that the chief of Yukuben, Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State was missing and we sent out a search party to rescue or bring him back wherever he was,” the CP said.

“However, on Friday, July 29, the corpse of the chief was discovered in a bush in Isa Local Government Area. Presently, we have commenced the investigation into that matter and we are having some suspects that are helping us in the investigation.

“We have six suspects that have been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.”

Suspected Bandits Ambush, Kill Traditional Ruler, Son In Taraba

The slain Taraba ruler.

 

Gunmen suspected to be bandits have killed Udeng Ibrahim Yamusa, the traditional ruler of Yukuben chiefdom in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State.

Channels Television gathered that the bandits also killed his driver who happens to also be his son.

Before killing the duo, the gunmen had kidnapped the traditional ruler and his son on Thursday in an ambush while returning home from Takum, the headquarters of Takum LGA.

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Confirming the incident, his first son who is also his secretary, Pastor John Ibrahim, disclosed that the victims were gruesomely murdered while on their way back to the chiefdom.

“My father and brother were taken unaware by these suspected militias. They decided to travel on a motorcycle leaving his official car because of our dilapidated road network,” he said.

The traditional ruler, whom he said was scheduled to attend a peace meeting in Takum, decided to return back home because the meeting was postponed.

Ibrahim could not ascertain why the bandits who have been terrorising communities in Yangtu Special Development Area, Takum and Ussa local government areas, have decided to cut short the lives of his father and brother at the same time.

While urging security operatives not to leave any stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators to book, he called for the deployment of troops to the southern zone of Taraba State.

The acting Police Public Relations Officer in Taraba, DSP Kwache Gambo confirmed the incident to Channels Television on Saturday night.

She said the remains of the traditional ruler and his son were discovered in a bush in another community far away from the scene of the kidnap.

According to Gambo, an investigation into the incident has commenced as directed by the state commissioner of police to unravel those behind the killing.

The police spokesperson also asked residents to always report suspicious movements or threats to life early enough to enable the police to nip the situation in the bud.

Taraba Lawmakers Urge UN To Address “Acts Of Genocide” Perpetrated By Bandits

Map of Taraba
A map of Taraba, a state in Nigeria’s North-East region.

 

Members of Taraba State House of Assembly have urged the United Nations to address acts of genocide perpetrated on members of their constituencies by ruthless bandits within the region. 

Speaking on behalf of the members representing Takum and Yangtu special development area, the member representing Ussa constituency, Habila Timothy said the attacks are unbearable, stressing that over 120,000 residents have so far been displaced.

Speaking to newsmen on Saturday, the lawmaker noted that failure to end the killings will leave them no option than to take legitimate and lawful means to seek for justice for the people.

According to him, there were over 60 persons killed in the recent attack by bandits within the area.


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”You may be aware that for months now, the good people of Ussa whom I represent in the State House of Assembly and their kits and kins in so many communities in Takum Local Government area as well as Yangtu special development area have come under coordinated and sustained attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen (bandits) who have dislodged thousands of people from their ancestral communities and forced them into Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.

” Just this Thursday 22nd July 2022, Jenuwa Nyifiye village was attacked and no fewer than nine persons were killed. In the previous week precisely from 5th to 12th July, no fewer than 30 people were murdered, this is aside the six soldiers including the commanding Officer of Ada Barracks Takum that were killed by the suspected armed Fulani bandits in the area and others who have been killed in the past.

”Equally worrisome is the brutal manner in which the terrorists killed and maim their victims. For instance, on 18th July, 2022, Talatu Yaro was butchered at Kujwean by the suspected armed Fulani bandits and her remains packaged in polythene bags like bush meat.

”On the same day Rimamsikwe Audu was shredded in pieces at Kujwean village, while Andenyangtso Adamu was butchered along Takum -Lisam road by the same armed Fulani bandits,” the lawmaker lamented.

He added that the invasion of the said communities can be likened to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

” The invasion and occupation of Ussa land by armed Fulani group and the atrocities being committed can be likened to the Russia invasion of Ukraine and the war crimes being committed in Ukraine.

” Mutilation of the dead is against international war engagement. According to International Human Rights Law, rule 113 “Each party to the conflict must take all possible measures to prevent the dead from being despoiled. Mutilation of dead bodies is prohibited by international law.” The situation in Ussa is terribly bad and we would bring out documentary evidence to support our claims at the right time.

” We want the United Nations (UN) and the international communities to turn their attention to ongoing killings (which can be likened to genocide) in Ussa and parts of Takum and Yangtu which is capable of wiping the entire people of Ussa out of the planet earth ”

” The killings and mutilation of the bodies of the victims in Ussa constitutes crime against humanity and we urged the federal government to take urgent steps to end these senseless killings, for it is the primary responsibility of government to protect the lives and property of her citizens anywhere in this country ”.

”We are documenting carefully all that is going on in the area and failure to end the killings we shall not hesitate take legitimate and lawful means to seek for justice for the people of Ussa.

” It is imperative to state here that today, communities such as Kujwean, Asik, Ripenchin, kutuko, Kusansan and in fact, the entire Kwesati ward, Lissam II, Yangtu and Bika among other communities have been deserted. Reports from these communities indicate that the deserted communities have been taken over by Fulani herdsmen who now graze freely on people’s farms and homes.

” Today, the humanitarian situation occasioned by the attack and displacement of over 120,000 IDPs is pathetic and needs urgent intervention. We want to call on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and other aid organizations and spirited individuals to intervene in the provision of shelter, protection, water, food and non-food relief items to address the growing humanitarian needs of the IDPs.”

While asking for  a lasting solution to the conflict, the Taraba assembly members called on the state government to set up a high commission of inquiry to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the attacks.

”We are also calling on the State Government to set up a high Commission of Enquiry to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the Crisis with the view to finding a lasting solution to the Conflict.”

According to him, this is very important because the Fulanis and the Kutebs have been living peacefully with each other over the decades until the recent ugly development.

“This could be the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob,” he added.

The lawmaker, however, warned of a looming food crisis should no effort be made to mitigate the situation.

Timothy insisted that their is no missing link between the Assembly and State government, but stressed that the security agencies are overwhelmed.

”As I speak to you, the military outfit, ‘ OPERATION WHIRL STROKE ‘ are very active in southern Taraba but they are small in number.

”My people will inform them of attack in Yangtu area, they will run there and while they are there attack will be going on in Takum axis or Ussa and they cannot tackled that at the same time.

”I cannot rule out the possibility of complicity from the part of security agencies too as I do not reasons why the people that kill military officers will be allowed to be moving freely in their number without any confrontation,” the lawmaker asserted.

He added that there needs to be an improvement in intelligence gathering by the security operatives.

Court Fines SON N2m For Unlawfully Sealing Business Premises In Taraba

A file photo of a court gavel.
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo, Taraba State on Friday ordered Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to unseal the business premises of one Chief Uche Obi over the alleged sale of substandard products.

The court also ordered the agency to pay the plaintiff N2 million for damages and publicly apologise to him for unlawfully sealing his business premises some 10 months ago.

Delivering his judgment on the suit filed in November 2021, Justice Simon Amobeda held that the invitation, arrest, and detention of the applicant by the officers of SON (the respondent) for a purely civil and business transaction that had no criminality whatsoever were violative and in the negation of the dignity of his person, as guaranteed and preserved in Section 34 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), as well as Article 5 of the African Charter on Human Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

He also ordered the respondent to issue a public apology to the applicant via two widely circulated national dailies – preferably the Guardian and Punch – within 48 hours for the violation of the fundamental human rights of the applicant.

“That, the respondent shall pay the sum N2,000,000.00 in favour of the applicant as compensation/damages for the breach of his fundamental rights, as preserved under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and the African Charter Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Art, Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004,” a court document read.

“That, without prejudice to any investigation being carried out by the respondent, the respondent shall within 48 hours of service of this order upon them, cause the office and business premises of the applicant to be unsealed.

“That, the respondent, their agents, privies and anyone, howsoever called are restrained from further inviting, arresting, detaining or threatening to arrest the applicant in connection with this matter.”

The applicant, in an interview with Channels Television, recounted the losses he incurred since officials of the agency sealed his business premises for selling substandard building materials – allegations which he has now been acquitted of by the court.

He was, however, grateful that he has been vindicated, saying he would always seek redress legally should SON go contrary to the orders of the court.

PDP Candidate Woos Taraba People, Vows To Be Selfless As Governor

A file photo of PDP governorship candidate in Taraba State, Agbu Kefas.

 

The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Taraba State, Agbu Kefas, says his aspiration to become the number one citizen of the state in 2023 is not for personal enrichment.

He described himself as an instrument that God has prepared to help Taraba emerge as a star among other states of the federation.

Kefas, a retired Lieutenant Colonel, spoke on Friday at his country home in Wukari during a homecoming rally in his honour as the anointed one to take over the leadership of the state when incumbent Governor Darius Ishaku completes his second term in office in 2023.

He believes the large turnout of people at the rally is already a sign of victory ahead of the 2023 polls and gave an assurance that his administration will be selfless in its dealings with all residents when elected.

“2023 is about the people of Taraba State,” said the PDP candidate. “It is about bringing the government back to them which we hope to do when we get to the Government House.

“The overwhelming turnout is also a sign of victory and an acknowledgment of the good things God has been doing through me over the years. It shows that the people appreciate my goodwill and are ready to support me with their votes.”

Kefas stated that his experience in various capacities during his years of service in the Nigerian Army and after retirement has equipped him to navigate Taraba to the path of prosperity.

He urged residents of the state to use the window of extension by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for voters registration to get registered and collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to choose candidates who can deliver, and not the party.

The PDP candidate also assured them of bringing the dividends of democracy to the grassroots in order to give them a sense of belonging.

He hinted that his running mate was one Aminu Alkali from Zing Local Government Area in the northern zone of the state.