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Tiv/Jukun Crisis: How Abuja Peace Meeting failed


  • Ortom blames Gov. Ishaku for unending crisis

Taraba Jukun/Tiv expanded stakeholders’ peace meeting held at the Yara dua Center Abuja ended in deadlock as governor of Taraba State, Darius Ishaku and his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, openly disagreed over causes of communal clashes between the Jukun and Tiv people in their respective domains. The governors also failed to reach a compromise on ways of ending the crisis.
Ortom said the crisis was strictly between the Jukun and Tiv people in Taraba, adding that the intolerance between them and the discriminatory behaviour of the government were fuelling the crisis and allowing it to spill to Benue State.
According to him, the traditional institution in Wukari – a city in Taraba and predominantly Jukun – had failed to protect the interest of the Tiv, who are settlers from Benue State.
He said, “The history or tradition cannot supersede the constitution; we are all Nigerians. People have come from different places to settle in Nigeria. The constitution remains sacrosanct and we must obey it. The issue of describing some people as settlers is where we get it wrong. “If anybody is thinking he can win the war, you are lying. The common thing among us is poverty.”
Ortom called on the Federal Government to set up a commission of inquiry on the lingering crisis since it was a matter between two states.
But disagreeing, Ishaku, said the people could not sacrifice their history for a constitution copied from a foreign country without regards to the ethnic composition and peculiar nature of the country.
 “I can’t disregard history because of the constitution. I’m a Jukun and my wife is a Tiv. You said I should drop my history because of constitution? No! No! No!
“It is the wrong in the constitution that is causing problems in Nigeria. You copied constitution from America but removed the vital parts like community policing. I will instruct the Commissioner of Police, he will say he needs clearance from the Inspector General of Police and before response will come, people under attack would have long been killed.”

Ishaku stated that there was conspiracy of silence among the Tiv who had benefitted immensely from his government but would rather choose to spread lies against his government.  “I employed 3000 teachers and over 400 were Tivs. Do you want me to carry the whole state and give it to one tribe?”
The Tiv Youth Organization (TYO) has urged the Taraba State House of Assembly to immediately commence an impeachment process against Governor Darius Ishaku over his alleged unguarded, inciting and unpatriotic statements during the security meeting between Benue and Taraba states chaired by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, yesterday in Abuja.
In a statement signed by Comrade Timothy Hembaor, the groups President-General, it said it’s on record that Governor Ishaku declared his lack of regard and loyalty to the Nigerian Constitution while speaking at the peace meeting over the continued feud between the Tiv and Jukun in Taraba State.
The statement said, “Governor Ishaku who was shockingly and visibly aggressive, spoke like a Jukun governor and not a Taraba governor. He clearly took sides with his tribe’s men and described the Constitution which he took an oath to defend as defective since, according to him, it has deprived his people the right to uphold their cultural beliefs and ancient traditional practices.
While calling for the Governor’s immediate impeachment, TYO wonders why Governor Ishaku whose office is a creation of the Constitution would make such unpatriotic comments.
“The Governor has by his outing in Abuja, shown that he is parochial in thought, lacks the capacity to lead a heterogeneous society and harbours deep hatred against other ethnic groups in his state. He is therefore not fit to occupy a big sensitive office of Governor of a state.
“We are convinced beyond doubt that the Taraba State Governor is one of the key hands behind the ongoing killing of Tiv people of Taraba State. His pointed accusation of Tiv people during the Abuja meeting was another ploy to confer false guilt on Tiv in order to give his Jukun kinsmen the authority to further maim and kill.
“Another pointer to the fact that Architect Darius Ishaku is not fit to remain as Taraba Governor is his disclosure at the Abuja meeting that he tells his wife to “shut up” anytime she attempts to talk to him over the wanton attacks and killing of innocent Tiv people.
“We expect human rights groups in Nigeria and elsewhere to take up the matter and press for the resignation or impeachment of Governor Ishaku. A man in a high position as that of Governor who publicly admits that he is aggressive towards his wife is not fit to lead a state. The office of Governor deserves a man with the right temperament to take advice from those close to him.
“It is therefore the position of Tiv Youth Organization that Governor Ishaku should take the path of honour and resign his position with immediate effect, failure to which we urge the Taraba State House of Assembly to commence impeachment process against him.
“We equally invite other Nigerians to note the grand conspiracy by Jukun elite to wipe out the Tiv race in Taraba State. It should also be noted that Tiv people in Taraba are indigenes of the state and any attempt to force them out of the state will be against the laws of this country.”
TYO noted that Tiv people have over the years contributed in great measure to the development of Taraba State, stating that the motion for the creation of Taraba State was also moved by a Tiv man, late Hitler Gbaaondo, who was a member of the House of Representatives in the second republic.
TYO identifies a clear lack of sincerity on the part of the Taraba State government which is the main factor for escalation of the crises. “Under the supervision of Governor Ishaku, names of Tiv villages which have been in existence for over a century in Taraba State have been renamed.
“As a group, we align ourselves with the submission of the Benue State Government that a Commission of Inquiry be set up by the Federal Government to properly look into both the remote and immediate causes of the crisis.”

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