Following the widespread report that the Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku asked Christians to take up arms, a new statement from the man has emerged.
Arch. Darius Ishaku, the Taraba State Governor, has denied advising Christians across the country to bear arms.
He said he only called on the people to network with each other and security agencies to protect themselves and their communities against unprovoked attacks by armed groups.
A press release by his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Slyvanus Yakubu Giwa, recalled that the governor had urged people to be conscious of migrants who become attackers overnight, cause mayhem, kill innocent people and destroy properties.
It added that the strategy of engaging community members in reporting suspicious movements and whistle blowing proved effective in managing the security challenges and ushering in relative peace in various parts of the State.
“The governor’s statement therefore should not be misconstrued to mean a call for taking up arms but rather a call for more sensitivity and proactive networking with each other and security agencies to protect themselves and their communities against unprovoked attacks by armed groups” the aide said.
It noted that governor Ishaku has been a peace advocate and has demonstrated so in his speeches and actions on all occasions and would not derail from his philosophy of peace as a prerequisite for development.
Ishaku had on Sunday during a thanksgiving service by the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) to celebrate new year and to pray for victims of Southern Kaduna killings and other victims of terrorism, charged Christians to defend themselves.
Ishaku, represented by the Secretary to the Taraba State Government, Anthony Jellason, lamented that the deliberate and systematic massacre of Christians in southern Kaduna, North East and other parts of Nigeria by terrorists over the years demanded actions on the part of the people.
Ishaku added that the government cannot be everywhere to defend people at all times and so the people should embrace their constitutional rights to self-defense to save themselves from the evil clutches of fundamentalist.
“I was at the site of the mayhem in parts of Ardo Kola this morning and the level of destruction there is unimaginable. A few weeks ago, it was in Gassol, then Karim. We are all aware of what is going on in Southern Kaduna.
“The people must wake up from their slumber and defend themselves. You can’t just lie down and allow yourselves to be annihilated by other groups. You have a constitutional right to self-defense and now is the time to use it. The government alone cannot do it”, Ishaku said.