Honourable Dr. Mrs. Salome Audu Jankada, former minister of water resources, and minister for youth development, now a delegate representing Taraba state at the National conference, in this interview with Hassan Haruna Ginsau laments the unstable security situation in regards to lives, food and property in besieged Wukari local government of southern Taraba state.
How would you describe the current situation in Taraba state?
Well, firstly my name is Honourable Dr. Mrs. Salome Audu Jankada, a member of this conference and a former minister of water resources, and minister of youth development, representing the Taraba state Government, and also representing the southern zone of Taraba state, so I’m a daughter of the soil.
If you may recall, when the situation was at its peak I rose on the floor of the conference to cry out over the massacre that my people were going through. Having said that, today it is curfew upon curfew. My people are locked up and the most beckoning issue now is the issue of hunger. They are locked up, a bag of maize is about N10, 000, that is if you can get one to buy at all. They release them for about 4-5 hours and they are locked up again.
So now, as a representative of the people of Southern Taraba State, we are calling on the Federal government through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), those that go in to salvage the emergency situation of our times. My southern part of Taraba State is in dire need of emergency assistance in terms of food, we are not even talking of shelter here, because now all of the houses have been razed and burnt down.
But first what we are talking of now is food and later on I’m sure shelter will come, because some of the residents that came under attack left without anything to carry away but their lives. They left with just the clothes on them, but we are not even talking about clothes now, we are talking of what to eat.
Some of the children are now sick, they cannot even go to the hospital as it were, and people lay in wait on the roads. About 4 days ago, a family member; a man, his wife, and 2 kids were going to the hospital and they were apprehended and slaughtered in the eyes of everybody.
We are not exaggerating, so we are calling on the Federal government to please pay more attention to what is happening in Southern Taraba because we believe that unless the Government comes in with a heavy presence, nothing can be done, though she is there, but it’s not enough because the people keep attacking, they have not stopped attacking us and we are wondering what is happening.
With or without a curfew, it’s still going on. You hear of this village today, tomorrow it’s the next; next tomorrow it’s another village, so where are we going to turn to? I’m using this medium as a daughter of the soil to call on the federal government, we appreciate what they are doing but they can do more, especially the issue of food, because people are really dying of hunger.
They (the displaced peoples) don’t even have the money; they have all left their various homes and are living in makeshift shelters, so where do they even get money to buy food as it were. So we are appealing to the public, philanthropists, and other forms of government to come to the aid of the people of Southern Taraba. We are not asking for anything but food, because that is the basic, that is the number one thing needed to survive, and that is my call on the people. We are not exaggerating; those that go there will see what we are taking about.
Does this mean that NEMA and other emergency agencies are not on ground?
No, for now they are not, that is why we are now telling them of the gravity of the situation on ground, maybe they don’t know. Our people call us every day; it’s a whole local government with its environs that has been made to be in the situation they are currently in.
So we are calling on NEMA, if they haven’t heard, we are now saying that they should please turn their attention to Wukari, the southern zone of Taraba, and at least provide the displaced with some emergency services, the first of which should be the food we are talking about, then the shelter can come afterwards, because youhave to be alive before looking for shelter anyway.