By Nick Dugba
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Abubakar, has said that relief materials meant for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs in Taraba have been ‘seized’.
The Minister made this allegation during her visit to an IDP camp at the Federal Technical College, Jalingo, as part of her tour of the State which began last Week.
According to the Minister, ‘Mr. President had graciously provided maize to be given to IDPs in the North East states. The President further directed all Ministers in the six states of the North East to go back to their states and conduct the distribution exercise’.
The Minister announced that ten metric tons (20 trucks,12,000 bags of maize) had been allocated for distribution to IDPs in Taraba state.
‘The grains were brought into Taraba state by NEMA and delivered to SEMA for safe keeping and with clear instructions to hand them over to the Minister upon her arrival for distribution exercise,’ Alhassan disclosed.
She also added that she was informed that only 19 trucks were received as one truck was yet to be delivered by the transporter.
But the government responded saying it was not told of the coming of the Minister, saying ‘due process must be followed before anything is done’, and that ‘nobody has diverted the grains, they are still there intact.’
Responding, Government Spokesman, Sylvanus Giwa, stated that, ‘under normal circumstances, she is a public figure representing Taraba state in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She is supposed to inform the governor of her coming. Mark you; the Governor is the Chief Custodian of the state, so she is expected to take permission from him. By the way, these IDPs are under the custody of the State government.’
He gave an instance where the Ministers of Solid Minerals, Water Resources and that of State for Education, visited Taraba in the past and received the cooperation of the state government with all privileges and wonder why hers would be different.
He concluded by saying, ‘nobody has diverted the grains, they are still there intact!’.
This reporter, however, learned that with the new development, all visits to other IDP camps around the state as scheduled in her itinerary had been canceled.
Recall that The Minister had, on Saturday in Jalingo, while addressing the Press, said that her reason for not informing the government of her coming and not calling on the governor was in retaliation for the present Taraba government’s treatment of her supporters which she admitted she was not happy. She then pointed that if the government did not change, she would ‘have nothing to do with it’.