Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku
By Danmasanin Sansani
The stage is now set for litigations in Taraba State between the State Ministry of Environment and the Madrid and Timber Buyers Association in the State on one hand as well as between the Madrid and Timber Buyers Association and Processed Wood Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (PROWPMAN) on the other hand.
In a press Statement recently the Madrid and Timber Buyers Association accused the State Ministry of Environment for receiving inducement of N10million from a sister organization PROWPMAN to enable them operate in the state which did not go down well with officials of the ministry.
In the statement issued in Jalingo State Chairman of Madrid and Timber Buyers Association, Josiah Magaji said PROWPMAN is not a national association as claimed by its members but exists only in some states in the southern and western parts of the country.
The release maintained that PROWPMAN did not meant well to Taraba State as it is there to cover up its shady deals in which they have been defrauding the State of funds set aside for afforestation.
According to the release the Madrid and Timber Buyers Association reliably gathered that there was a financial inducement to the tune of ten million naira to some Management staff of the State Ministry of Environment to accept to set up PROWPMAN in Taraba State.
It alleges that a woman politician from the southern part of the state made the arrangement to induce the Ministry using the name of the wife of the State Governor Ann Darius Ishaku to perpetrate the evil intention.
The Association disabused the minds of Taraba people on the rumours that the wife of the governor sold out the state to outsiders and that she is the patron of the questionable PROWPMAN.
The statement categorically said the wife of the Governor is not a party to an Association that is out to cause confusion in Taraba State.
It maintains that the Madrid and Timber Buyers Association is duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and has been working for years in Taraba State in collaboration with relevant agencies and has commenced the planting of five million trees in the State.
In a reaction to the allegation of receiving N10 million inducement, Taraba State Commissioner for Environment, Ibrahim Lawan debunked the allegation challenging members of the Madrid and Timber buyers Association to provide proof.
He expresses shocked over the allegation saying that officials of PROWPMAN were actually in the Ministry to seek for collaboration but their request was turned down but members of the Madrid and Timber Buyers Association were just out to tarnish the reputation of the ministry.
The Commissioner explained that the Ministry invited the officials of the Association several times but the official refused to come, noting that members of the Madrid and Timber Association were just venting their anger with the directive by the State governor Darius Dickson Ishaku stopping the felling of trees in the State till further notice.
In his reaction on the matter, a State Counsel in the State Ministry of Justice, Livingstone Nuruddeen Nula said the Ministry is studying the allegation with a view to instituting a suit in the court for Libel and defilement on the State Ministry of Environment to seek for redress to clear the good name of the ministry.
Commenting, Chairman of PROWPMAN in Taraba State, Nwunuji Rimantenrikwen expressed shock over the accusation saying the Association does not have such a huge sum of money and if it had it would have embark on viable venture like afforestaion in the state than giving the money to anyone for any reason.
Rimantenrikwen accused Magaji for trying to block PROWPMAN from operating in the State and vowed to institute a suit in the court against the Chairman to protect the good image of PROWPMAN.
Also, Elizabeth Usein Smith, Special adviser to the wife of the State Governor Ann Darius Ishaku on Media and Publicity condemned the Madrid and Timber Buyers Association for bringing the name of the wife of the Governor on issues she has no connection amounting to dragging her good name and image in the mud.