For most residents of the state and indeed those outside the place, Taraba had, for long, virtually become synonymous with insecurity, violence, bloodbath and everything unpleasant.
Frontline news recorded how so many observers are of the opinion that with the use of negligible brutal force, more diplomacy and tact, the state governor, Darius Ishaku has been able to manage the situation to a commendable extent since he supposedly has no control over the security architecture of the state.
Situated in the North-Eastern region that has been under siege from insurgents for over a decade, Taraba is the only state that has been insulated to an extent from the deadly bombs and savage attacks from the insurgents.
However, according to frontline news correspondent, this insulation came at a very high price as most of the displaced persons from the neighboring states naturally took to the state for refuge, adding pressure on the existing insufficient resources, without a corresponding boost in the provision of resources.
Many believed that it was not only the helpless victims of insurgency that fled to Taraba for refuge. Some of the insurgents also found the state a safe haven to retreat to and unwind when the pressure becomes unbearable. And they come with their campaign.
Said Alhaji Bunu Bashir: “Taraba State is so lucky that we were not directly hit by the insurgents like other states in the region. However, a lot of those fleeing from the destruction from Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and other states found Taraba a safe haven so they came in droves. In fact, because of the vast nature of the state, we have whole new settlements from such people who came and settled completely as if this is their home.
“But then, some of them did not come with good intentions. Some were forced by the circumstances surrounding them to take to criminal activities. That is why there was such a rise in the rate of criminality in the state. You also remember that some of the Boko Haram men were picked in the state at various points in time. That is to tell you that even the terrorists themselves had decided that this was a safe hideout for them.
“As expected, these are people who have shed blood and have indulged in so many atrocities that violence is the only language they now seem to understand. So they were not only involved in perpetrating crimes here in Taraba, but they were also very busy recruiting new members.
“Now because of the large number of idle youths looking for money, it was very easy for these people to recruit and establish their mini gangs for their own security and means of sustainability.
This is what gave rise to the high level of armed robbery, kidnapping and these other issues in the state. Nobody knew anything about kidnapping in the state and even cases of armed robbery were very few and isolated,” Bashir said.
Unfortunately, while the state was still struggling to battle the effects of the influx of displaced persons and insurgents in the state, the farmers/herdsmen crisis that engulfed the entire Benue valley reared an even uglier face, leaving a trail of blood, tears, sorrow, destruction and deep pains in its wake.
From Lau to Karim Lamido, Zing to Yoro, Jalingo and Ardo Kola, down to Gassol, Bali, Takum, and as far as Kurmi and indeed, nearly every nook and cranny of the state, the devastating effects of the herders’ destruction and killing was felt.
More than a thousand settlements have been completely sacked and hundreds of peasant farmers slain with the herders’ swords and bullets.”
The state Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association Alhaji Sahabi Tukur, in an interview with our correspondent, revealed that most of the herders were not recognized members of his association.
“People are just blaming us unjustly. All my members know that we do not allow crises to fester. Whenever there is any problem, especially between a community a