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‘Political Elites Fueling Crisis in Southern Taraba’

The Southern Taraba Youth Coalition for Peace (STYCOP) has blamed political elites in the region for the unending Jukun and Tiv crisis, saying the region is under serious threat.

The group said  without the elites taking side in the conflict, there will be no violence in the region, noting that with dialogde and commitment to justice the crisis can be permanently resolved.   


The Convener Southern Taraba Youth Coalition for Peace (STYCOP) Rikwense Muri in an interview with Taraba Truth and Facts Newspaper said "this conflict is sustained by elites of Jukun and Tiv. They buy the gun and provide the logistics while the youths fight for patriotism and gain. The youths of both sides are victims because their future is being destroyed by those who have lived together in peace during the "good old days".


Muri noted that Southern Taraba had  suffers injustice from every level in every side. This injustice is not intentional. It's called structural violence whereby the structures in the society do not support freedom, Justice and peaceful coexistence. It's also called cultural violence because violence has now been adopted as a way of life in the psyche of the people. No one is thinking of finding solution outside violence. No one is talking of litigation and constitution. Our world views and perspective now become this only way. Dialogue is seen as an act of betrayal and cowardice. Allowing the other person state his own perspective is like an abomination.

This culture and structure in our society is what Southern Taraba Youth Coalition for Peace (STYCOP) want to discourage. We want to a free and just society where people interact with one on the basis of mutual respect and dignity of humanity. STYCOP is not proffering any solution to the conflict in southern Taraba because we are youths and may have all the details. What we doing in our coalition is that we want to eradicate the use of violence as a method of resolving our differences to adoption of peaceful means such as dialogue, litigation, protest, civil disobedience, prayers and peace meetings. These should replace our culture of violence at every misunderstanding or conflict." He said.

Also the member representing Takum/Ussa/Donga/Yangtu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Rimande Shawulu, has called on all stakeholders and governments to work towards finding lasting solution to the crisis before the entire zone is completely ruined.

Shawulu said it was pure madness that despite the high level of intermarriage and religious uniformity in the region, the people had continued to kill and destroy themselves over reasons that were not even clear.

Shawulu said it had come to a point where blame trading and claiming of right was no longer fashionable, and urged religious bodies, civil society organisations, and all stakeholders to come to a roundtable and sincerely chart a new course for the good of the people and posterity.

"It is so sad, the news about the killings and destruction going on in Southern Taraba at the moment. The intermarriages in that area is so much and most of the people are also Christians. So, you really begin to wonder why we are doing what we are doing in that area. Fights only increase the problems that people have, not reduced them. If we can find a way of sitting on a sincere roundtable, and I mean all the groups in Southern Taraba, that would be the best thing that would happen to that area.

"The area is no doubt one of the richest areas in the whole country. There is therefore the need for all of us who are stakeholders in the state to come together on a roundtable and talk about peace. It is very important and we need to do it and do it quickly too. And I hope and pray that this will happen soon. I do not want to go on the path of saying these people are right or wrong or just blame trading.

"There is no group that will not have its weaknesses and strength of argument. But it is this supposed strength in argument that is leading to the destruction of lives and property at this magnitude that we are experiencing. So, such arguments and justification that lead to the destruction of lives and villages cannot, in anyway whatsoever, contribute to the growth of the people. It is a very sad thing that is happening and the earlier it is stopped, the better for all of us," he said.

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