The recent rise in cases of kidnapping for ransom in Taraba State capital Jalingo has been a source of serious concern for Jalingo residents who now sleep with one of their eyes open for fear of being abducted and Tarabans in general. .
As we criticise and condemned the rising spade of kidnapping for ransom in the state capital, we should also recall that Taraba State on record has for 8 years running now transformed into one of the states in the Northeast that has prevalent record of kidnap cases. Several factors where responsible which hitherto was neglected by previous government.
Investigation reveals that from 2015 to date, over 3, 000 people have been kidnapped in Taraba state.
The worst recorded case that has portrayed the state in negative light was the kidnap and murder of the late Hosia Ibi, member representing Takum 1 in the state house of assembly on December 31, 2017.
The late law maker was kidnapped by three unidentified gunmen in his home town in Takum on a fateful Saturday night.
On February 2020 ,one person was confirmed dead in an attempt to kidnap Dr. Mike Dio-Jen, the Provost of Taraba College of Education Zing, at his residence in Jalingo.
The incident occurred in the early hours of Friday, at the Green Beach area of Kona ward, in Jalingo.
On 4th February 2019 ,Uche Obi Igbo business man and three other who live in same area in Mayo Dasa were kidnapped in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital. Besides all these high profile cases, many numerous unreported cases abound that made Jalingo almost an uninhabitable town for anyone with alternative choice.
The previous government for whatever reason completely ignored this debilitating security challenges and vacated the town with no even street lights or patrol vehicles for security agents. It will therefore be unfair for anyone to begin to criticise a 100 days old government who inherited this behemoth rot without taking into consideration the meticulous processes that goes into reconstructing a foolproof security Web, building from scratch bottom up.
To fully understand what’s happening in Jalingo and why it requires a national, or if possible international collaboration, you need to understand the topography of the state capital which long neglected beautiful landmarks that should have saved as a tourist attraction been transformed to safe havens and dens of kidnappers, fleeing terrorists and disgruntled local elements.
Jalingo’s rings of beautiful mountains bordered to the north by Lau, East by Yorro, south, and west by Ardo-Kola LGAs with a total land area of about 204,073 km nestled in a valley with an altitude of 351 meters above sea level offers a convenient hiding base for crime kingpins. Local collaboration should not be discontinuance in this scenario.
This relief configuration consists of high peak undulated and unexplored mountain ranges extending from the Kona area through the border between the state capital itself and Lau LGA down to Yorro and Ardo-kola LGAs in a circular ring form to Gongon area. Two major rivers; Mayo-gwoi and Lamurde drain the study region, which takes their source from the mountain ranges in Yorro LGA and emptied their content into the Benue river in the bushes of Tau.
This very challenging topography that have for years offered a safe haven for the criminals and how to take it over has been the source of sleepless night for His Excellency Dr Agbu Kefas and weekly meetings from Jalingo to the highest level of security echelon in Abuja. Many not familiar with security matters had wish to see Dr Agbu Kefas gesticulating on television giving away important security secrets to criminals in the name of doing “something”.
Many are unaware that these new government is confronting a complex Web of various categories of criminal gangs ranging from fleeing terrorists from Borno and Yobe on one side , illegal miners and their bosses that have been driven from their illicit activities by the Taskforce set up by His Excellency Dr Agbu Kefas, and local Indigenous criminals emboldened by the duo.
The new 100 days old Governor who is a very experienced Military officer is by nature and training a man of few words full of action, wisdom and courage, and is on top of the situation. Did anyone notice that it is wherever Dr Agbu Kefas rolls out some magical programs that makes the people of Taraba State to jubilate happily and praise his name that kidnappers will strike? What a coincidence! There’s no doubt that the opposition up to date has refused to accept the fact that the elections has been won and lost!
There’s no iota of doubt whatsoever on our mind that Dr Agbu Kefas shall ultimately emerge as the best Governor in history of Taraba state in terms of performance. All well meaning Tarabans must remain focus and loyal to enjoy the new Taraba never seen before.
We must also conclude that the grievances and murmuring being nurse by certain individuals who call themselves “Stakeholders” and “Professional Politicians” is unfounded , selfish and self-serving. Politics can never be a profession, but a means through which to serve the People. Politicians must have something to do and earn their livelihood besides politics!
One group cannot remain on the corridor of power permanently for 30 years: doing what? The queue has to move for new generations to take over with fresh new ideas.
Bako Benjamin is a Community Leader and Supporter of His Excellency Dr Agbu Kefas, he writes from Lagos.