By Citizen John Akevi 

With each day comes new discovery of billions of naira misappropriated or stolen outright in Taraba  State under the stewardship of governor, Arc. Darius Ishaku. 

A trip around the state is an unpleasant experience. And within this period, some accounts suggest nearly  billions of naira  were  misappropriated.

Governor Darius Ishaku's  leadership style is a harvests of  corruption, pains, suffering and impoverishment. It is a leadership that  undervalues workers by refusing to pay them as at when due. It is a wicked leadership that is morally reprehensible. It is a leadership that fails to take responsibility, blaming others for its own failures. It is a leadership that has set Taraba State  back by decades. 

For six years, Arc. Darius Ishaku  run a government some have described as “the more you look, the less you see”. Contracts for roads and sundry projects were ‘awarded’ to unknown and evidently unqualified contractors at unknown fees. 

Few months ago, the social media has been inundated with a well articulated petition by Chief  Ezekiel Lazarus Mbamo leader of Taraba Integrity and Accountability Group Jalingo (TIAGJ), to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa alleging a fraud of about N39 Billion against the Taraba State Governor, Arc. Darius Ishaku & co. 

The organization claimed the accounts of the Taraba Government House, in Jalingo, and the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, are channels through which billions of naira were siphoned from 2015 to 2020.

TIAGJ alleged Ishaku’s younger sister, Mrs. Gladys Kande Mamman, a member of the Taraba State Primary Board, uses pseudo companies linked to her BVN (withheld) to launder billions for the governor via hoax contracts. In this hard times, when the same government is unable to meet most of it’s financial obligations, it is very annoying, howbeit wicked for one single individual or a group of persons, to allegedly corner such a stupendous amount of our patrimony to themselves. 

The organization, Taraba Integrity and Accountability Group Jalingo (TIAGJ) led by Chief  Ezekiel Lazarus Mbamo, listed a number of funds ‘stolen’ by the former governor, which they wanted the EFCC  to recover. Those listed include:

Between August and September 2015, the Taraba accessed a credit facility of N2billion to finance lending to small and medium scale commercial farmers through the Taraba State Agricultural and Development and Investment Limited (TADIL).

This fund to the best of our knowledge was diverted into private pockets of the Governor and his cronies, as no such financing of agricultural activities took place. 

That the state received a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) bailout loan of N37,655,975,922, comprising N23,135,682,937 for the state government, and N14,520,292,985 for the 16 Local Government Areas.

Mbamo stated “without fear of contradiction” that the bailout was “largely stolen”, defeating the reason for which it was approved by federal authorities.

That around October 2015, Taraba obtained N9,400,000,000 for offsetting of overdraft on salaries; Bureau of Local Government for salaries; Purchase of Associated vehicles for the Governor, Deputy Governor, SSG’s convoy and the State House of Assembly members; and also for PW Nigeria Limited, Gembu Road Construction.

In November 2015, Taraba obtained yet another loan of N10billion for the purpose of agricultural and infrastructural projects in the state. This money was wildly siphoned from the coffers of the state, as there were not such infrastructural projects to justify the huge borrowing.

Between January and February 2017, the government received refund of Excess Debt service by Paris Club to the tune of N4,202,983,799. Curiously, the Governor bypassed laid down financial tenets and singlehandedly opened a new strange account and lodged the money without the Accountant General’s involvement.

Again in July 2017, the government received another tranche of the Excess Crude refund of N4.2billion which it claimed was going to be utilized for construction of road, electrification project and construction and rehabilitation of PHC facility and purchase of mobile clinic.

In August 2017, Taraba State received another refund of Excess Debt Services Payment by Paris Club to the tune of N5,612,014,491. The Darius Ishaku-led administration claims the money was used for the construction of Lecheke – Pantisawa road, Wukari – Tsokundi road, payment of outstanding workers’ salaries and rehabilitation of Wukari, Gembu and Bambur General Hospitals.

Between March and April 2018, Taraba accessed a credit facility of N1.5billion naira, which the government claimed was to finance and boost commercial agriculture. This money was also clearly diverted and taken into private possessions.

The petitioner added that within the same period (March/April 2018), the Ishaku administration accessed another N5billion credit facility from a bank.

The fund was for provision of associated irrigation equipment to support dry season cultivation of soya beans and rice on an estimated 250 hectares of farmland in Karin Lamido and other locations under the Taraba Agricultural Development Program.

About N2billion naira of the loan was to enable the state establish one model cattle ranch in each of the senatorial district, Mbamo noted.

Chief  Mbamo also wants EFCC to investigate the inflow of N28billion naira which Governor Ishaku received as offer of promissory note discounting facility being refund for the construction of Jalingo-Sunkani-Garba Chede road, Bali-Serti-Gembu road and Jalingo-kona-Lau road. 

The uncensored looting of the Taraba State  treasury under very phony and fake programmes and the collaboration of both the hen-pecked Taraba  state House of Assembly (Taraba  house of parody) and the state police command in this rape of the state treasury. Any one who has been observing the unfolding scenario in Taraba  State since May  2015 to date cannot but agree totally with Chief Ezekiel Lazarus Mbamo and others on this  and various other unstated issues. 

It was published in numerous newspapers and magazines in Nigeria. Also the EFCC went into action and made some arrests of the master minds of the fraud but left Governor  Ishaku out of the picture because of his so called immunity

No matter what Ishaku's defense may be, the document on his alleged misdeed available to EFCC  is damnable.

Governor Darius Ishaku's alleged criminal tendencies keep streaming like River Taraba  from where the state which he rules rather than govern derived its name.