By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – The governor of Taraba state, Arc. Darius Ishaku, weekend described as false and misleading, claims by President Muhammadu Buhari that Fulani herdsmen don’t move around with AK-47 rifles but sticks and machetes.
The President had made this claim during his bilateral meeting with the President of the United States, Donald Trump, in Washington DC, last week.
“The problem of herders in Nigeria is a very long historical thing. The Nigerian herders don’t carry anything more than a stick and occasionally a matchete to cut down foliage and give it to their animals, these ones are carrying AK-47,” President Buhari had said in defense of killer herdsmen.
However, speaking to journalists at a special awards dinner organised in Abuja by the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Governor Ishaku insisted that the it couldn’t have been imaginary that farmers were killed with AK-47 rifles in their clash with herdsmen in Taraba and Benue states.
“It’s absolutely wrong for the President to say herdsmen don’t move around with guns. I mean, who then kills who? It couldn’t have been imaginary that people have been killed with AK-47 in the farmers-herdsmen clashes.
“We simply have to stand up to the truth and do something to stop the killings,” he said.
On the effects of the recurrent clashes between farmers and herdsmen on the health sector in Taraba, Governor Ishaku who bagged an award of excellent service in the health sector at the ocassion, said: “The current insecurity has put a lot of pressure on our health facilities much more than we anticipated. We already have between 100,000 to 150,000 persons displaced as a result of the clashes.
“Taraba was relatively peaceful before now, and unarguably the safest state in the Northeast. But today, we we are having our own share of the herdsmen problem and that has strained our health systems. Which means, we have to do more in the sector by injecting more funds and employing more doctors and specialists.”
He further expressed his delight over the NMA award and said it will not only deepen his commitment towards helping Tarabans live more healthy lives but also spur him on to do more more in revamping the state’s health sector.
“You know we are on our first tenure. This is my third year in office and we are doing our best. We are rehabilitating and reconstructing three major hospitals one for each senatorial zone. We are also putting in proper shape all the hospital units in all the local governments. Most importantly, we are equipping them with modern facilities.
“I am surprised that the Nigerian Medical Association has noticed so quickly what we are doingvinbthe health sector these past three years. The award shows indeed that we have been working and it will spur us on to do mor to keep our people healthy,” Governor Ishaku said.
Vanguard reports that other NMA award recipients were the Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe state and the First Lady of Kebbi state, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu.
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion and Emir of Shonga in Kwara state, Alh. Haliru Yahaya, called for a strict implementation of the National Health Act (2014), saying it will put health in the front burner of governance at all levels within the country.
“If first term political office holders can prioritise health and education, there second term in office is guaranteed. I assure them,” the monarch said.
He also advocated for tolerance between farmers and herdsmen across the country as a panacea to the continued killings in Nigeria.
On his part, the outgoing President of the NMA, Prof. Mike Ogirima, said the association under his leadership had seen giant strides in the health sector especially in the Northern parts of the country, and hailed the governors, particularly those from the Northeast for making massive investments in health infrastructures and manpower for the betterment of their people.