Cover Story

Explainer: Bwacha Cannot Be On Ballot Despite Yola Appeal Court Victory

By P. D Pius esq. There are two judgments of the Federal High Court nullifying the election of Bwacha as APC candidate. There is the judgmen...

Poverty, hunger looms in Southern Taraba




The people of Taraba state were still counting their losses from the herders/farmers clashes when the latest communal crisis between Jukun and Tiv speaking people of Wukari and other areas of southern Taraba erupted.
As the Jukun/Tiv feud ravaged, Fulani and Kona people in Jalingo also unsheathed swords and began to attack and kill each other.
Hundreds of people have been killed, many injured and hundreds of thousands displaced after their ancestral homes have burnt down. While Jukun, Tiv and Kona ethnic groups are predominantly farmers, Fulani are the major breeders of cattle.
The crises have stopped farmers from going to their farms. The people have to rely on the storage of last season. Yet, over 50percent of those foods have been destroyed in barns and stores.
The Taraba State Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Bala Tawah  said that Taraba State, no doubt, is going to experience hunger due to scarcity of food because of the crises. Tawah said, already “the signs (of food scarcity) are visible.”
He said “I was counting the losses from the herders/farmers clashes and holding talks with my counterparts on what to do when came the ongoing communal clashes between Jukun and Tiv in Wukari local government area and Fulani and Kona in Jalingo and Ardo-Kola areas of Taraba state.
“All these crises are having a colossal effect on Taraba state. This is because Taraba is predominantly an agricultural state. And 80percent of farming activities are not carried out in towns but in remote rural areas. Now, the crises have dislodged all or most of the villagers who are farmers.
“The negative effect is devastating. And the impact of these crises, if not felt today, shall surely be felt in three years to come. This is because, we are in the rainy season and the people who should be in their farmers are driven away and killed. Hectares of arable lands are being left uncultivated. Our market women cannot fetch any farm produce and take to the market to exchange for money.
“The situation is so pathetic that it has broken down the social and economic life of the state. The losses are enormous, so we cannot continue like this. We advocate for peace.
“The Wukari Yam Market used to be a hub where farmers from different places, including Benue, used to bring a lot of yam and other farm produce for sale. Buyers used to come from different states of the country. But the market has been deserted.
“The Kwararafa or Dan Anacha Yam Market in Gassol is being deserted and farmers are being threatened as the crisis expands.  Mutum-Biyu, Garba Chede, Mararaban Zing and other markets where farm produce were sold are now becoming empty. The sellers and buyers are not coming.
“We are relying on the food stuff we store last year (to eat). And more worrisome is the fact that over 50 percent of the food stuffs have been burnt in the crises,” he said.
On the way forward, Tawah suggested that “the warring groups must understand the critical situation on ground. The youth must be educated and engaged in meaningful things. We must engage religious leaders to help build peace.”
“Our politicians should all go home and appeal to their constituents on the need for peace, bearing in mind that without the people, you cannot be a leader; you can’t lead when your people are all killed.

No comments