GunmenDespite Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba state’s directive to traditional rulers of Gassol and Bali to ensure the safe return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in their domains to their homes, no fewer than seven persons were feared killed yesterday at Kortse village in Gassol local government area by gunmen.

The governor had penultimate week issued a stern warning to the traditional rulers of troubled communities in the state to ensure the safe return of the IDPs to their various homes as well as ensure they take repossession of their lands.

The victims of yesterday’s attack, according to an eyewitness were ambushed by the gunmen on their way to a rice farm about five kilometres away from Dan-Anacha, the commercial nerve centre of the local government.

Since they commenced their phased return to their homes based on the resolve of the current administration in the state to ensure total peace returns to the troubled areas across the state, the displaced persons are said to go to always go to farms in groups as a security measure.

One of the survivors of the attack, Mrs. Esther Kumashenge who narrated her ordeal to newsmen said her two sons, Ushahemba and Sughter Kumashenge were killed by the attackers who she alleged were from the house of a popular man in the area (names withheld).
According to her, the attackers, who claimed had sent somebody(names also withheld) to spy on them before launching their attack emerged from the bush and started and began to attack them killing seven people and injuring several others. -Thisday

Taraba State governor Danbaba Danfulani SuntaiTaraba State governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai who returned to the state on Sunday from his treatment in an American hospital yesterday sent a letter to the State House of Assembly to notify them of his return to assume powers in the state.

Minority Leader of the House, Ibrahim Imam, who spoke to journalists on behalf of the Speaker, Haruna Tsokwa, confirmed the receipt of the letter but would not comment on its content, saying it is yet to be deliberated upon.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the letter which was submitted to the House yesterday afternoon would be deliberated upon by members of the House today.

Meanwhile, the president of Taraba State Youth Forum, Comrade Abubakar Abba Waziri, has called on the ailing governor to publicly address Tarabans if all is well with him, and if he cannot do that, the state Assembly should summon him to appear before it to officially inform the House that he is fully back to the state to continue with his duties as governor.

Nyako Visits Suntai, expresses delight at his recovery

The Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, has said that he was delighted by the level of recovery of the ailing Governor of Taraba State, Pharmacy Danbaba Danfulani Suntai.

Nyako who stated this yesterday in Jaling during a solidarity visit to him at Government House, Jalingo said that God had performed a miracle in the life of his friend, Governor Suntai and that of his family.

He said that he was happy to see Governor Suntai back to the state to continue the business of governance. He added that Suntai was really a comrade and would continue to be.

Nyako stressed that the cordial relationship between Taraba and Adamawa State, and his own personal relationship with Governor Suntai would continue to grow.

“Taraba and Adamawa, sometimes, I do crack joke, Allah ya Tarabamu, because we are from both states, believe that we are brothers and sisters and have no differences” Nyako said.

Responding, the wife of Taraba State Govenor, Hauwa Suntai expressed her profound gratitude to the Governor of Adamawa State for finding time to pay a solidarity visit to her husband, and added that Governor Nyako has been standing by in their moments of trial.

“Nyako has been calling my husband right in US to know his condition, and today he has come down to us here in Jalingo, may God continue to show you the love you have been showing to us” she said.

Civil society group wants Suntai to declare state of health

Meanwhile, barely 24 hours after his return from his 10-month medical sojourn to Germany and the United States, a civil society group, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has prayed the Governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai to “immediately speak to the world and declare the true state of his health rather than continuing to depend on party propagandists,” whom the group said were misinforming and misleading the people.

At a press conference in Lagos yesterday, the chairman of the group, Olanrewaju Suraju also urged the Taraba State House of Assembly to rise up to the political challenge by commencing the process of ascertaining the health status of the governor, who sustained serious injuries after his mini plane, Cessana 208 5N-BNG, which he piloted crashed on October 25 last year.

“Governor Suntai and the PDP should save this country a repeat of the ignominious experience of the Yar’Adua saga and odious breakdown of law and order perpetuated in Rivers State.”

Let’s speak with one voice, Gov Aliyu tells northern governors

Apparently disturbed by the political crisis rocking the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF), the chairman of the Forum and Niger State governor Dr Babangida Aliyu yesterday said it was high time the region’s state governments put their acts together and speak with one clear voice as a people of honour, integrity and conscience.

This, he said, is the only way to enhance the socio-economic and political development of the northern states.

Governor Aliyu made the observation at the opening ceremony of the commencement of a three-day management strategy retreat by the New Nigerian Development Company (NNDC) in Kaduna, yesterday.

The governor also lamented that the north had abandoned its natural resources for oil.

He said, “We need not remind ourselves that there exist abundant significant potential in the areas of agriculture and mining which have remained untapped across the northern states, investments in infrastructural projects like power via concessions and setting up operating assets and subsidiaries across NNDC’s value-chain and key industry segments such as agriculture, manufacturing hospitality and tourism, integrated logistics, solid minerals and mining will go a long way not only in helping the company to achieve its mandate but also laying the foundation for sustainable economic transformation of our states.”

Speaking on the NNDC, Aliyu gave the assurance that the owners of the company had resolved to ensure that the company was fully turned around and put on the path of growth and profitability.

He told the management of the company to “work out the investment portfolios of each state and issue certificates appropriately while at the same time proposing private placement of about 49 percent for the consideration and approval of the governors.”

He also urged the participants and facilitators to be bold, brave and work seriously during the three-day retreat to produce a report that, when implemented, will not only improve the performance of the company, but also positively improve the economic fortunes of the north, reduce social vices and create more employment opportunities.

The governor further challenged the new management NNDC to rise up and take the company back to enviable position of 1970’s when, within 10 years (1976-1986), it became one of the largest business conglomerates in the country.

Kaduna State governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, who was represented by his deputy, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, declared the retreat opened, and noted that the resuscitation of the NNDC was timely and strategic especially at this time when the northern part of the country was experiencing economic and security challenges.

Speaking earlier, the chairman, Board of Directors of the NNDC, Professor Halidu Abubakar, said the conglomerate had set the pace for other private investors to follow, by opening up areas of business opportunities previously considered the exclusive preserve of governments, foreign-owned companies and multi-nationals.

Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State, who was seriously injured when his plane crashed on October 25 in Yola, capital of Adamawa State, has suffered extensive brain damage and failed to recognize members of a presidential delegation that visited him at a hospital in Hanover, Germany, an authoritative source has told SaharaReporters.

A source close to a senior member of the delegation described the trip to see Mr. Suntai as highly secretive. SaharaReporters learnt that members of the delegation had officially traveled to Vatican City in Rome to witness the consecration of Archbishop John Onaiyekan as a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. After the ceremony in Italy, the delegation then made a quick detour to Germany to see the injured Mr. Suntai.

A trip put together by Gladys Modupeola Quist-Adebiyi, a staff of the Protocol Department at the Presidency was led by Senate President, David Mark, the delegation included Governor Ibrahim Yakowa of Kaduna State, President Goodluck Jonathan’s chief of staff, Mike Oghiadomhe, also on the delegation was John Kennedy Opara, the secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) and the Chaplain of the Presidential Villa Chapel, Venerable Obioma Onwuzurumba.

Our source said members of the delegation were shocked to see Mr. Suntai in a vegetative state. “His condition was so bad that they could not publicly disclose his condition after they returned to Nigeria,” said the source.

SaharaReporters gathered that Mr. Suntai suffered brain damage in the crash of the small plane he was piloting. The crash happened a short distance from the Yola airport. Initial reports from eyewitnesses said Mr. Suntai had died, but it later emerged that he had survived the crash, albeit with critical injuries. He was transferred to the National Hospital in Abuja before being airlifted to Germany after President Jonathan had visited him and given a rosy picture of his condition. Four state officials traveling with Mr. Suntai in the crashed plane were treated in hospitals in Adamawa and later transferred to Germany for treatment after a public outcry.

Since Mr. Suntai’s airlift to Germany, officials of the Taraba State government have engaged in propaganda, claiming that the governor was making remarkable recovery. But our sources, including an official of the state government, admitted that Mr. Suntai’s mental faculty had deteriorated since the accident and that his memory was virtually impaired.

“It is possible that he suffered brain damage because there was some delay before he could be taken abroad,” said a state official.

Contacted by SaharaReporters, a Taraba-born political activist who is based in Abuja said he had also heard about the visit to the ailing governor by Senate President Mark’s delegation. He wondered if Mr. Mark’s silence on Governor Suntai’s health status signaled a scheme by President Jonathan to delay the swearing in of the deputy governor as the substantive governor.

“We all know how President Umaru Yar’Adua’s people continued to deceive Nigerians that the man was recovering well and how they even brought him back in a comatose state and declared that he was in control of Nigeria,” said the activist. He added: “I hope President Jonathan and the PDP are not planning a similar scenario whereby they will declare that Governor Suntai is in control – until they find a malleable successor who suits them.”

The activist stated that the Presidency should state the truth about the injured governor’s condition to enable the people of Taraba to move ahead with a new administration. “The fact that the people of Taraba have not heard from or seen the governor since the air crash on October 25 2012 means that the man is no longer fit to govern them,” he said.