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Politics

Taraba Govt declares 3-day holiday for LG poll

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Taraba Government has declared Monday June 29, Tuesday June 30 and Wednesday July 1, as public holidays to enable residents of the state participate in the local government council poll slated for June 30, 2020.

This was contained in a statement by Alhaji Hassan Mijinyawa, Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Darius Ishaku, on Monday in Jalingo.

“The public holiday is to enable civil servants to travel to their respective wards and vote during the local government election slated for Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

“The governor also urged people of the state to be orderly, law abiding and conduct themselves peacefully while discharging their civic responsibilities,” he said.

Meanwhile, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations under the auspices of Eyes on Democracy of Nigeria (EDON) has activated a situation room to monitor the election to ensure that it was free, fair and credible.

Alhaji Muktar Madaki, the State EDON Chairman, in a statement on Monday, said that a comprehensive report on the electoral process would be made after the election.

“We have been observing the preparations by Taraba State Independent Electoral Commission (TSIEC) and we are so far satisfied with the preparations.

“It now behoves on the people to come out in large numbers to exercise their franchise as responsible citizens.

“We are also calling on security agencies to be civil during the conduct of the election and operate within the ambit of their engagement in regards to electoral matters.

“We also call of TSIEC to ensure that the election is credible, peaceful, free and fair,” he said.

 

Gabriel Yough: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

General news

Taraba NUJ urges govt officials to stop harasment of Juornalists

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The Taraba chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has appealed to government officials to stop harassing journalists carrying out their legitimate duties in the state.

Mr Jovita Shafe, the Chairman of the union made the appeal on Tuesday in Jalingo at the official Handing Over Ceremony to the newly sworn-in executives of the state’s Correspondents’ Chapel.

Shafe stressed the need for the government to engage media practitioners in a robust partnership to enhance public awareness on government programmes in the state.

He said that henceforth, ”the media would not tolerate unwholesome attitude of government officials towards the media practitioners in the state.”

The union leader urged the new chapel leadership to embrace all members and ensure harmony among them.

Shafe also advised the leaders to conduct themselves within the code of ethics governing the union in particular and the profession in general.

In his response, Alhaji Sadiq Adamu, the new Chairman of the Correspondent Chapel, warned against undue interference by politicians into affairs of journalists in the state.

Adamu noted that media practice was a noble profession and would not subject itself to whims and caprices of non-practitioners.

He however, called on members to work in harmony with government at all levels.

He appealed to the NUJ leadership not to relent in playing its fatherly roles for the chapel.

Adamu equally assured of carrying all members of the union along.

NAN recalled that seven members of the executive council recently emerged from the chapel’s election and were sworn in immediately.

Edited By: JaneFrances Oraka/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Judiciary

Court admits 6 guns in evidence in alleged Taraba kidnap kingpin, Wadume, 6 others’ case

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The Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday, admitted six guns including AK47 rifles in evidence against alleged Taraba kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala (aka Wadume) and six others.

Wadume and the others are standing trial on charges of alleged terrorism and kidnapping.

At the resumed trial, the prosecuting counsel, Mrs Yetunde Adeola-Cole called the prosecution’s sixth witness, Insp. Samuel Habila.

Habila told the court that he had worked with the police for 20 years and was attached to the Intelligence Response Team at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.

The witness told the court that the rifles were recovered from the defendants in the course of investigation.

The witness identified the guns which were admitted in evidence by the court and marked exhibit B to B5.

He also told that court that during investigation, it was discovered that the 5th defendant in the matter, Baba runs accompanied the soldiers who attacked the police vehicle that carried Wadume after he was arrested, killing three operatives and two civilians.

However, when Adeola-Cole sought to tender the statements made by the defendants, counsel to all the defendants objected to the admissibility of the statements on different grounds.

For the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants, their counsel Mr Ishaku Dikko (SAN), Mr Y.D Dangana, Mr Amanzi Amanzi and Mr Lukmon Fagbemi objected on the grounds that the Hausa version of their clients’ statements which were translated into English were not before the court.

The four counsel, however, said that they would address the court on the issue during their final addresses.

For the 2nd defendant, Insp. Aliyu Daju, his lawyer, Mr M.I Tona told the court that his client was induced into making his statement.

The lawyer told the court that he was asked to implicate the military in order to be set free.

For his part, Mr Yakubu Philemon, counsel to the 6th defendant, Zubairu Abdullahi, told the court that his client was tortured into making his statement.

Both counsel requested for a trial-within-trial, which the court granted.

Testyfing at the trial-within-trial, Daju told the court that after he was arrested, he was ordered to make a statement to favour the police.

“Insp. Bitrus ordered me to record my statement myself. That if I record the statement in favour of the Intelligence Response Team, they will set me free.”

For his part, Abdullahi told the court during the trial-within-trial that he was tortured by Habila and his colleagues and forced to admit to what he knew nothing about.

“I was tied both hands and legs and hung over two drums with building blocks placed on my back.

“For about 30 minutes, they insisted that I should accept that I collected guns from Hamisu Bala which I refused.

“They beat me to a point that I could no longer hear them and I didn’t know where I was any longer.

” One of them climbed my body and was using his legs to message me, I had to agree to what they wanted me to agree to because of the torture,” Abdullahi said.

Habila, who was also the prosecution’s witness in the trial-within-trial, however, denied all the allegations.

The trial judge Justice Binta Nyako ardjourned the matter until July 15 for continuation of trial.

Other defendants are: Auwalu Bala (aka omo razor); Uba Bala (aka Uba Delu); Bashir Wazlri (aka baba runs); and Rayyanu Abdul

Wadume was first arrested in Ibi, Taraba, on Aug. 6, 2019, by policemen from the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector General of the Police office.

He was arrested for a kidnap case in which he was said to have demanded N106 million as ransom.

The alleged kidnapper was being conveyed from Ibi to Jalingo, when some soldiers, led by Capt. Tijjani Balarabe shot at them, killing three of the policemen to free Wadume from custody.

Wadume was later rearrested and charged along with six others in June.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Police seize 10 AK47 rifles, ammunition from suspected gunrunners in Taraba

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The Police Command in Taraba State has seized 10 AK47 rifles and ammunition from two suspected gunrunners in Lau local Government area of the state.

DSP David Misal Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), disclosed this on Monday while briefing newsmen in Jalingo.

Misal said that the two suspects abandoned their motorcycle together with the weapons upon sighting the police in Lau.

He listed other weapons recovered as, 13 magazines and 425 live ammunitions.

Misal said that effort were ongoing by the command to arrest the suspects.

The police spokesperson also said that operatives of the command had intercepted a truck loaded with different kinds of goods, which arrived from Anambra.

Misal said that drugs of different kinds were recovered after a thorough search.

He listed the drugs to include 20 cartons of codeine, 21 cartons of codolin codeine and 20 cartons of piscof Codeine.

Misal mentioned others as 13 cartons of Tutolin, two cartons of coflin, one carton of liquid quinine, five cartons of sildenafil citrate tablets and other ilicit drugs.

He explained that the drugs were bearing different brands to conceal the facts.

The PPRO also said that one Mr Emmanuel Ugwoke and Jude Azu were arrested and detained in connection with the crime.

While commending officers of the command for their steadfastness, Misal urged the general public to be more security conscious.

He also urged the general public to be prompt in reporting to the police all criminal elements in their neighborhood for necessary action.

Edited By: Razak Owolabi/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

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General news

NAN’s Adamu elected Taraba Correspondents’ Chapel Chair

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Mr Sadiq Adamu, a Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria , has been elected Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel in Taraba.

Adamu was elected alongside six others to replace the former executive council which was impeached recently.

Also elected at the Saturday Congress held in Jalingo were Mr Salisu Waziri of VON, Vice Chairman, Sani Suleiman of FRCN, Secretary, Nathaniel Gbaoron, Business Day, Assistant Secretary, and Bashir Adamu of Liberty TV, Treasurer.

Mr Sylvanus Viashima of the Sun Newspaper was  elected as Financial  Secretary of the chapel.

Speaking after the inauguration of the officials, the Chairman of NUJ, Mr Jovita Shafe, urged them to work hard to unite the chapel and protect the integrity of the union in the state.

In his response, Adamu said that he would run an inclusive administration that would make the welfare of members a top priority.

He promised to work with all correspondents toward promoting and protecting the ethics of the profession.

Adamu advised losers in the election to accept defeat in good faith and join hands with his team to strengthen the chapel.

NAN reports that the previous executive council led by Mr Wale Ayodele was impeached by members over alleged violation of the NUJ constitution.

The Taraba Council of the NUJ subsequently took over the chapel and had run its activities until the new officials were elected on Saturday.

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Troops eliminate notorious bandits recover cache of arms in Taraba

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The Defence Headquarters says the troops of “Operation Whirl Stroke”, on Friday, eliminated two notorious bandits who had been attacking communities in Benue and Taraba.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, in a statement on Saturday, said the success was a result of the troops’ aggressive aggressive clearance operations in the states.

Enenche said the operation was sequel to actionable intelligence on the infiltration of armed herdsmen on July 10 at Chambe community in Logo Local Government Area of Benue where two villagers were killed.

He said the troops, swiftly deployed to the scene, adding that the bandits had fled the area before their arrival.

According to him, troops tracked the assailants to a makeshift camp at the outskirt of Arufu in neighbouring  Taraba.

“On sighting the troops, the armed bandits opened fire, troops overwhelmed the criminals with high intensity fire, killing two of them while others fled in disarray with gun shots wounds.

“In the process one AK 47 rifle as well as 10 rounds of 7.62mm Special were recovered.

“Additionally, the gallant troops have dominated the area conducting clearance patrol from Arufu to Akwana in order to rid the general area of any untoward activities.

“The High Command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria congratulates the gallant troops for their dexterity and encourages them to remain resolute in curtailing the activities of criminal elements in the North-Central Zone of the country,” he said.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Military says Tiv leaders’ allegation of killing, rape of women in Taraba mischievous

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The Defence Headquarters has described as “mischievous” the allegation by Tiv leaders, that military personnel are killing and raping their wives and daughters in Southern Taraba.

The defence headquarters made the description on Saturday in a statement by Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Chief Goodman Dahida, the President General of the Tiv Cultural and Social Association (TCSA) in Taraba had made the allegation.

Dahida further alleged the troops also destroyed properties belonging to people of Tiv extraction in the name of manhunt for bandits in Southern Taraba.

Enenche, who said the military high command would investigate the allegation,  explained that the troops indeed conducted a dawn raid at Rafin Kada in Wukari Local Government Area and Yojaa in Donga Local Government Area of the state on June 29.

According to him, this dawn raid was on a confirmed bandits’ hideout based on actionable human and technical intelligence on their activities in the general area.

“This intelligence was gleaned from both military intelligence sources in the field, as well as credible local sources in those same communities, who affirmed the activities of the bandits as it were.

“What Mr Dahida should understand is that troops do not just embark on operations for the mere fun of it, especially when lives are at stake.

“Before operations are conducted, the Military Intelligence Fusion Cell gathers and effectively processes this pool of information, before emerging with actionable intelligence.

“This, as such ensures that troops operate with utmost accuracy of information, and consequently know where to go and what to do.

“Again, during the actual operation, the troops came in contact with suspected Tiv militias at Tse Juku village.

“The armed militias opened fire on sighting the troops, who responded with superior firepower, thereby neutralising four of them in the process while an unconfirmed number escaped with gunshot wounds.

“Troops also recovered two locally made rifles, 55 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, 117 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, three mobile phones, three AK 47 magazines, two motorcycles, one military shirt uniform, one Peace Corps ID Card belonging to one Mr Anyor Fidelis, and some charms,” he said.

Enenche stated that in an operation where soldiers engaged and killed four bandits as well as recovered arms, it was difficult to understand what “innocent civilian families” would be doing in the midst of armed bandits, as claimed.

He added: “The DHQ wonders why TCSA failed to note or acknowledge the fact that these same troops deployed in Taraba State have to a large extent fostered peace in the state, particularly protecting mostly Tiv farmers against marauding armed herdsmen.

“It is, therefore, an act of mischief and deliberate attempt to discredit the concerted efforts of Nigerian troops in the theatre, as well as tarnish the image of the Nigerian military.

“Also disheartening is the allegation that troops are colluding with Jukun militias to exterminate Tiv people.

“Clearly, the TCSA’s claim is incredible to say the least, as it makes no sense that the military which has devoted so much resources in terms of manpower and equipment to protect the good people of Taraba State, would at the same time want to `exterminate’ these same people.”

According to Enenche, men and women (soldiers) from all ethnic groups in the country – Tiv and Jukun inclusive – are among the troops operating in the state to ensure peace.

He said it was unfortunate that rather than commend the troops for their diligence, sacrifices, and commitment to fostering peace in Taraba, the TCSA had decided to disregard such sacrifices and efforts.

The coordinator said the troops had left no stone unturned in the effort to foster peace between various ethnic groups, notably the Tiv and Jukun whose communal clashes were well-documented in the public domain.

These efforts, according to him, are evident in the routine meetings and engagements organised by troops to bring peace to the troubled areas.

He said such efforts were indications that the military had nothing against the Tiv people or any other ethnic group.

“For all intents and purposes, it must be noted that the Armed Forces of Nigeria have a mandate to go after armed bandits, herdsmen, militias, and all other criminal elements, be they Tiv, Jukun or from any other ethnic group for that matter.

“Troops are strictly guided by Rules of Engagement (ROE).

“This is in addition to the International Laws of Armed Conflict, and International Humanitarian Law, among other constitutional provisions, which guide the conduct of our troops in any engagement.

“It is, therefore, mischievous to suggest that soldiers are “raping their wives and daughters, and also destroying their properties in the name of manhunt for bandits in Southern Taraba.

“However, in line with global best practices, the Military High Command will investigate these claims with a view to unraveling the true state of affairs.

“The TCSA, meanwhile, are enjoined to refrain from making unsubstantiated claims in the public domain,” he said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Defence/Security

DSS arrests impersonator in Taraba

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The Department of State Services (DSS), Taraba Command, on Friday paraded 45-year-old Ishaya Jonathan, for impersonating as an Assistant Director in the Service.

Jonathan was also paraded for defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.

Alhaji Bashir Abubakar, the state Director of the Service disclosed that the suspect  was arrested at an hotel in Jalingo, where he has been hibernating with his ‘wife’.

Abubakar said that the suspect, who hails from Lafia, Lamurde local government area of Adamawa, was only released from prison in December 2019, after serving a three-year term for the same offence.

”Jonathan has continued parading himself and defrauding people in Gombe, Yola and Jalingo under the pretext of being a very senior staff of DSS.

“The suspect lied to his victims, including the purported wife that he was recently transferred from Gombe to Nasarawa state, apparently to cover up fraudulent identity from his acclaimed wife and the general public.

“One of his latest victims is a 50-year-old divorcee and mother of four who he met in Gombe early this year and proposed a marriage laced with deceit.

”The marriage was purportedly solemnised by a Malam in Yola, in the absence of the affected woman,” the DSS boss said.

He further said that Jonathan, who was hitherto a Christian, claimed to have converted to Islam and now bears Shuaibu Adamu, to fulfil one of the conditions offered as prerequisite for marriage by the affluent wife.

” He was discovered to have made away with several belongings of the purported wife to an elusive matrimonial home in Jalingo, but the property cannot be traced, suggesting that they might have been sold,” Abubakar said.

He said that the suspect also deceitfully collected the woman’s Honda Odyssey vehicle with promise to buy her a brand new Toyota Vibes when he collects his leave allowance and other packages from the Service.

“He later turned the vehicle to commercial venture, traversing Bauchi and Gombe States, while deceiving the woman that he is at his new duty post in Nassarawa state Command of the Service.

”The suspect told the woman that he was not released to visit her in Jalingo, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and several operations he was involved in,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the suspect, who confessed to the press that he was guilty of the crime, blamed it on the devil and said he deeply regrets his actions.

“it is true that I am impersonating the Service and  I regret my actions.

“It is the work of the devil, I have diabetes and hypertension so, at times I used to fall down due to over thinking,  I don’t know why I was doing this.

“I used to work in a construction company before I started this business,” he said.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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General news

FG dismisses reports on Taraba abduction kingpin, assures diligent prosecution

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The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, has dismissed insinuations in some quarters that soldiers implicated in the killing of police officers on duty by a kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu, are deliberately being shielded from prosecution.

Malami, who made the statement when he fielded questions from State House correspondents at the end of the virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), said the government was only giving time to allow the established processes to be consummated.

The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber of the State House, Abuja on Wednesday.

The minister, who presented the score-card of the ministry at the meeting, said that the affected soldiers were currently being charged before a court-martial in accordance with established laws in the country.

The kidnap kingpin, popularly known as Wadume, is facing a 16-count charge, bordering on terrorism, murder, kidnapping and gun-running along with Tijjani Balarabe, an army captain and 18 others.

Also on the list of defendants are Staff Sgt. David Isaiah; Sgt. Ibrahim Mohammed; Cpl. Bartholomew Obanye; Pte. Mohammed Nura and Lance Cpl. Okorozie Gideon.

Others are Cpl. Markus Michael; Lance Cpl. Nvenaweimoeimi Akpagra; Staff Sgt. Abdullahi Adamu; Pte. Ebele Emmanuel; ASP. Aondona Iorbee and Insp.  Aliyu Dadje and Auwalu Bala, aka Omo Razor.

The minister stated, however, that before the military could release their personnel for prosecution, they must also go through their in-house processes.

He said: “Now, coming to the issue of the soldiers, it is important for you to note that within the context of the Nigerian law, there are certain provisions that are exclusive to the military within the context of law on court martial and then, the internal discipline associated with the military.

“The soldiers can now be charged before court martial, and then for the military to release their personnel for prosecution, ordinarily, there are in-house processes and procedures that are to be consummated.

“So those that are handy for the purpose of prosecution cannot be held in custody for unduly longer period of time on the account of the absence of the military.

“So that is how the idea of severing the charge to allow those that are handy to stand their trail arose.

“That does not mean that by any means that the military are shielded and cannot be prosecuted.

“But if they have to be prosecuted, they have to be prosecuted within the context of the law. What is the law here? They are military personnel, first they are to go through the in-house processes.

“There are two options, either to charge them before the court martial which is a special court established by law for the trial of soldiers or in the  alternative for the military after consummation of the in-house processes should consider handing them over for trail.”

On the activities of the ministry in the past 10 months, Malami disclosed that the ministry had succeeded in the recovery of millions of dollars of looted assets while efforts had been intensified to recover more of such funds abroad.

According to him, legislative bills aimed at checking frauds and unhealthy practices as well as to enhance the economic fortune of the country are being pursued at the National Assembly.

The Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, who also spoke to the correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, disclosed that the council approved N634.2 million for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Lankang Irrigation Project in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau.

He said the ministry was working to increase the nation’s irrigation capacity from 130,000 to 500,000 under a scheme meant to run from 2016 to 2030.

He said: “The Ministry presented a memo to council today on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Lankang Irrigation Project in Plateau State.

“This contract was approved in the sum of N634, 184,783.93, inclusive of 7.5% VAT, with the completion period of 18 months.

“It comprises the rehabilitation of 100 hectares of an existing pilot irrigation scheme and the expansion of that irrigation scheme by additional 500 hectares.

“It also includes the reconstruction of existing damage water control and conveying structure, preparation of fields and fishponds and provision of adequate water for irrigation.

“It was approved in line with government’s policy to boost food production and security and in the coming months.

“We’ll be seeing quite a number of projects, related to irrigation that we’ll be presenting, in line with our irrigation and drainage project, in what we call the National Irrigation and Drainage Programme, 2016 to 2030.

“We hope to increase total acreage for irrigation in the country from the existing 130,000 hectares to 500,000 hectares.

“From the period that we started to date, our target was to have 100,000 hectares by 2020. As at January, we had about 85,000 hectares, which is already completed.

The minister announced that the country was on target towards attaining the 100,000 hectares by 2020, under the National Irrigation and Drainage Programme.

Similarly, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, disclosed that the council approved N10.6 billion for project cost revision of two projects.

“Today, what we had were two memoranda for revision of project cost and all of this is in aid of completion of the projects involved.

“The first project is the Koton-Karfe-Lokoja section of the Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja highway. That cost was revised upwards by N3.076 billion.

“The second road is the Cham-Numan section of the GombeYola highway.

“The revision of the cost is by N7.607 billion. This is to cover the cost of replacing about 11 kilometres of what we called, black cotton soil,’’ he said.

Edited By: Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Politics

PDP sweeps all 16 councils in Taraba LG polls

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The Taraba State Independent Electoral Commission (TSIEC) on Wednesday declared that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had won all the 16 local government councils in the just-concluded Local Government Elections in the state.

Declaring the results in Jalingo, Dr Philip Duwe, Chairman of the commission, disclosed that the ruling PDP had won the councilorship in 168 council wards in the state.

Duwe said that the election was peaceful and was held in compliance with best public hygiene protocols meant to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He commended the people of the state for coming out in good numbers to participate in the election.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the main opposition political party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC), had earlier announced that it would boycott the elections in protest against what it called ‘bias by the umpire.’

The Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Dr Joseph Kunini, has, meanwhile, congratulated all candidates of the PDP on their victory at the polls.

Kunini, who spoke in an interview with newsmen, said that the landslide victory enjoyed by the party was a testament that the people were comfortable with the party’s two-decade rule and especially the ‘rescue agenda’ of Gov. Darius Ishaku.

He urged the newly-elected officials to take their mandate seriously and work hard to bring the dividends of democracy to the people.

Also, Sen. Shuaibu Lau, representing Taraba North in the National Assembly, congratulated the PDP for it’s good performance at the elections which held on Tuesday.

Lau, who is a PDP senator, told newsmen in Jalingo that the party would continue to give sound leadership in the state.

He appealed to the winners to be magnanimous in their victory.

He also urged the losers to accept defeat in good faith and join hands with the winners to build the state.

NAN reports that a total of 17 political parties participated in the elections.

Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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