By David Odama

Zakary Zamani -Alumaga is the Executive Secretary, Nasarawa State Emergency Management Agency (NASEMA). In this interview, he speaks on the looming time bomb waiting to explode in Nasarawa, the high level of animosity among the ethnic groups.

Excerpts:

Question: As the executive secretary, NASEMA and a stakeholder in the Nasarawa project, what do you think is behind the frequent fighting, killing and distractions in Nasarawa?.

Ans: You know the issue is we are sitting on a time bomb in other words the anymousity existing between the various tribes in Nasarawa state is higher than any person you see. it’s so serious, consequently, you cannot be guaranteed total peace, you know coming from all angles we can manage it, incidentally am a stakeholder all this crisis are taking place practically so I know this world, somebody that doesn’t like somebody that doesn’t like somebody so something must be done to keep it aside.

Secondly, I stated by saying something earlier, I said criminality is taking advantage of the fact that there was a crisis in Benue and they now want to make sure it overlaps to Nasarawa. The consequences is the shooting here and the burning of houses. The aim is to scare people and when everybody begin to run, the take possession of the area. This is the kind of situation we find ourselves, we cannot certainly and practically say what people are talking about.

This is the present situation in the state because everybody is living with something in his/her mind and you as a journalist should be able to find that out.
I made a statement when I was granting interview that behind the scene we should know what is inside and then of course what I heard, like I said before, if it is that some Tiv people kill a Fulani young man and then the Fulani saw that and were not happy so they brought in retarliation which led to the death of the nine in Ajimaka, that is one side of the story. The second story is that they were sharing the proceeds of the money given to some people to go and steal rail slippers from the railway line and there was a problem leading to all those death, whether that too is the story or the other story that there is group made up of old Fulani/Tiv young men who are terrorizing the villages may be the story.

There are several aspect of the story coming, whatever it is those who were running away from what happened have a reason for running away and what is the reason? The reason was that they were sure they had enemies whether that is true or not they were certain that they had enemies so at the sound of the gun some panic running will start, so this is the position.

Question: So what would be your message to the people as a stakeholder in the management of crisis in Nasarawa?.

The message has always been there and will continue to be that we must always try as much as possible to co-exist and see your neighbor as your brother, this idea that some people came and claim the area, I find it difficult to explain, some of us claim to be the original owners of Nasarawa state the truth is that the Agatu, Alagos all cross the river Benue to come here meanwhile they are the ones who will never stay at peace as far as am concerned they are the number one brothers who are to put themselves at peace, they know where they are coming from and they are never together that is not a fair thing to do at all not in our own interest.

I am calling on them to appreciate that position and to extend that hand of fellowship to themselves, I think it would do us a lot of good.

Question: people lost their lives and houses allegedly burnt in the recent skimishes that erupted in Doma and Keana LGAs of Nasarawa state, what is your agency doing to amelurate the hardship occasion by the crisis?.

There has been so much in stock including building materials that are not particularly relevant for now because their buildings are actually not this bouyant, one or two people around Ajimaka are some of them whose houses were burnt. these are the ones we will take care of but generally building materials will not go anywhere because not much houses were destroyed, but most of what our observation has revealed is panic, running, criminal activities that were orchestrated to chase the people out so that they can have access to the area.

These are part of infrastructure calculated in governance the main responsibility of government is the protection of life and property and when life and property of every citizen is in jeopardy, then everything should be directed at that, we should try, as far as we are concern this is part of our initiative. We cannot run away from that and that’s why you have been hearing about security vote and this is where we spend our own security votes sorry am on the side of the government, that is what it is,

I do know that government is spending the security votes because they are giving it to me to purchase whatever it is, so I do know that the government is spending whatever they call security votes.

Question: Sir, would you confirmed that the state government is overwhelmed by the frequent crisis where resources are being spent to the detriment of development in the state?..

Ans: The government cannot be overwhelmed because this is the essence of governance, in a situation that things like this occur and we say disaster is natural or man made it is expected to happen and if it doesn’t happen then we are lucky. The government is always ready to secure it’s citizenry.
I can assure you that with my private discussion with the leader of delegation and the deputy governor of the state, it was very clear that government was already looking for ways, the priority now is how to relocate this people.

I said what we found out in the cause of our going round and interaction is one and a Major priority which is their relocation we found out from them and not from us, I said we had an interaction where everyone came out to say what they feel.

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