It is universally acknowledge that justice, equity and fairness to all citizens irrespective of ethnic, religious and political affiliation are pre-requisite for peaceful co-existence and national integration. Consequently, chapter II section 15 subsection (2) of the Constitution of Nigeria as amended Stated: “Accordingly, national integration shall be actively encouraged, while discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religions, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be prohibited”.
Contrary to this fundamental constitutional provision and international practice, the Tiv people of Southern Taraba State have been facing serious genocide attacks on account of their tribe and faith in the hands of Jukun ethnic group of Southern Taraba who have arrogated to themselves the exclusive right and ownership of the geographical space called Southern Taraba State.
The Tiv communities in the area have been living in difficult conditions due to the persistent state of provocation and insecurity including intimidation, premeditated violence and bloodletting which resulted in the mass killings and total displacement of the Tiv communities in some local government areas such like Bali, Donga, Gassol, Ibi, Takum and Wukari in the last four decades.
The recurrent violence across Southern Taraba has received widespread publicity in the media, including the most recent disturbances in parts of Wukari, Gassol, Donga, Ibi and Takum LGAs.
In order to put the records straight, THE MOVEMENT FOR THE SURVIVAL OF TIV TARABA (MOSTT) wish to state as follows:-
THE RECENT CRISES IN SOUTHERN TARABA STATE
The recent conflicts that are widely reported as the “Southern Taraba Killings” can be split into three phases: A) the Kente saga; B) the Dan – Anacha incident, and C) the Takum Massacre.
A) THE KENTE SAGA AND ITS RAMIFICATIONS
Kente is a rustic settlement in Wukari area of Taraba, sharing boundary with Ukum local government area of Benue State.
On the 1st April 2019, there was a minor disagreement, arising from sales of yams in a market bordering Taraba and Benue States. This resulted to the burning down of 15 settlements on that fateful day.
These acts of in-justice and hopelessness forced the Tiv communities in the area to respond in self-defense.
There after, there were coordinated attacks on the Tiv communities in Wukari, Ibi and Donga LGAs. At the same time illegal roadblocks were mounted by the Jukun militia along many roads that traversed Southern Taraba State leading to the periodic killing of innocent Tiv people on transit.
Some of the cases recorded from April 2019 to April 2020 include:-
On 09/04/19, the village of late Andrew M. Nenshi, former Chairman of due process Taraba State, in Wukari LGA.was looted and burnt down by the Jukun militia.
On 20/09/19, Tiv passengers were slaughtered opposite Wukari LGA. secretariat.
On 21/09/19, nine (9) Tiv travellers were slaughtered by Jukun militia between Jootar and Wukari.
On 25/09/19, Leke village in Ukum LGA. was attacked by Jukun militia. Two (2) Tiv were killed.
On 10/10/19, Torkuma Atsongoaya in Tor-Musa village in Wukari LGA. was slaughtered.
On 28/09/19, Tse Akume in Donga LGA. was razed down by Jukun militia.
On 17/10/19, four (4) Tiv passengers were killed by Jukun militia in Byepi, after successfully blocking Wukari – Jalingo highway.
On 08/11/19, Tse -Gboo village in Donga LGA. was attacked two (2) Tiv were killed by Jukun militia.
On 13/11/19, Gbor-Gbor settlement in Wukari LGA was attacked one church was destroyed.
On 14/11/19 four (4) Tiv travellers were killed in Gidan Idi by Jukun militia after blocking the highway.
On 19/11/19, Tiv women were attacked in Akwana in Wukari LGA
On 29/11/19 four (4) Tiv travellers were killed by Jukun when they block highway in Byepi Wukari LGA.
On 3/12/19, one Aondoungwa was slaughtered in his farm by Jukun militia in Kasuan Shanu in Wukari LGA.
On 06/12/19,Tse Nembe near Vaase was burnt down by Jukun militia.
On 16/12/19 Tse Karkighir in Wukari LGA. was attacked, one injured.
On 21/12/19 seven (7) Tiv travellers were abducted and killed when their car had a flat tyre in Wukari yam Market.
On 13/01/20, Zegeate village, in Wukari LGA. was attacked one Ukor was killed in his home when he return to rebuild his house in
On 14/01/20, Tse Kyamgbaki was attacked one person was killed. The same day, Jukun militias attacked Kasuan Shanu in Wukari LGA. Three (3) Tiv people were killed.
On 06/02/20, Ibua village Ibi LGA of Taraba State was attacked two (2) people were killed
On 13/02/20 two (2) Tiv killed in Ikyaior in Wukari LGA. when the people had returned to rebuild their homes. Thesame day, two (2) Tiv killed as Jukun militias block highway from Byepi.
On 21/02/20, Tor Iorshagher in Wukari LGA. was attacked where two (2) people lost their lives. The same day, one Clement Kosum was attacked in Wukari metropolis where he attended a peace meeting,
but was rescued by the police.
On 26/02/20, Tse Mdondo was attacked, one (1) person was killed in Wukari LGA.
On 11/03/20, Tse Utsea in Wukari LGA. was attacked and four (4) people were killed
On 17/03/2020, Tse Ikyum in Donga LGA. was attacked one (1) person was killed.
On 8 Apri, 2020, Jukun militias attacked Jootar for the second time.
On 22/04/2020, the Nigerian Army in collaboration with Jukun militia attacked and burnt down Tse-Ankough, a Tiv settlement in Mbagen, Torov Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.
THE DAN-ANACHA INCIDENT
Dan-Anacha is a Tiv settlement in Gassol local government area. It is also the economic backbone of Taraba State. It is situated along Wukari – Jalingo Federal highway.
On 23/11/19, crises started over erection of signboard that changed the name of the town from Dan-Anacha a Tiv name to Kwararafa a Jukun name at a Day secondary School in the town.
Since then there have been series of attacks on the settlement by Jukun militia.
On 26/11/19, Jukun militia attacked Dan-Anacha looting and burning down Samuel Eremtsa house.
On 27-28/11/19 Dan Anacha was again attacked by Jukun militia many houses were razed down and properties destroyed.
On 11/12/19, Agbu Dauda was arrested with his gang members on their way to attack Dan Anacha. However, they were later released by the Nigerian Army.
On 16/12/19, Richard Bawa another notorious Jukun militia was arrested after attacking Dan Anacha, eight (8) houses were destroyed. Bawa was later released by the Nigerian Army.
On 29/12/19, Naguru village in Gassol LGA. was attacked Two were killed.
On 10 /01/20 Dan Anacha was attacked.
12/01/20 Dan Anacha was attacked four (4) people were killed.
On 28/01/20 Daniel Mbaterem house was razed down by Jukun militia in Dan Anacha Gassol LGA.
17/03/20, one (1) person killed in Dan Anacha hospital shooting.
On 06/04/2020 two (2)Tiv people were attacked in their farms in Dan Anacha, Gassol LGA.
THE TAKUM MASSACRE
Takum local government area of Taraba State is home to Governor Darius and T.Y Danjuma.
Trouble started on Tuesday morning July 30th 2019, when a Jukun man was killed on his farm along Takum- Wukari road and irate Jukun youths in Takum took the law into their hands. They went on the rampage, killing no fewer than eight (8) Tiv people on that fateful day.
Subsequent attacks on Tiv settlements recorded from July to August 2019, include:-
i. The looting and burning down of Tse-Akenawe.
ii. The looting, burning and demolition of Tortsee market.
iii. The looting and burning down of Tse-Ajayi.
iv. The looting and demolition of Yongogba.
v. The burning and looting of NKST Church Jato.
vi. The looting and burning down of Imade-Ade.
vii. The burning down of Tse-Adekpe near New-Gboko by Nigerian Army.
vii. The burning of Tse-Lijam.
viii. The looting and burning of Akase.
ix. The burning, looting and demolition of Tor-Ikergba village.
x. The total demolition, and looting in Tse-Yange
xi. The demolition of Tse Mhambe.
xii. The burning down of Tse-Wende.
DRIVERS AND AGENTS OF THE RECENT VIOLENCE
Generally the driving factor for the recurrent of violence in Southern Taraba State is a the pathological hatred for Tiv and the fear of domination that has been instilled in the minds of the
Jukuns by their rulers and elites.
Since 1870’s Aku Uka Awudu Manu Abiten (1871-1903) was already at war with the growing Tiv factor in his domain.
Regardless of what everybody may think, the Tiv ethnic group have been part and parcel of Southern Taraba for over 300 years.
It is an acknowledge fact that, the 1932 population census in the defunct Wukari Federation which comprises of Wukari district, Takum district and Donga district clearly shows that Tiv population surpassed those of other ethnic groups like the Jukun and Chamba.
Dinyi (Chamba) 3,609
Kentu (Ichen) 6,656
SOURCE: NAK, SNP 13/14, 1932- 33, Wukari Division Annual Report
No.4 by Captain H.S.Bredel, D.O.
The above demographic
representation clearly demonstrates that the Tiv had, at this time, 1932, assumed a central position in Wukari Federation.
Consequently, the 1947 census put the Tiv population as 34% of Wukari Federation, while the Jukun were listed among the others who were 64%.
It was noted that the Tiv people officially outnumbered the Jukun as shown in the table below – hence, the Tiv are the single largest ethnic group in the defunct Wukari Federation :
Source: National Archives Kaduna (NAK/MAK/Prof. 4377)
We the Tiv ethnic group of Southern Taraba State have suffered undue bloodshed and destruction. Yet we were been unduly prosecuted and marginalized by the media, Government, civil society organizations,without giving us a fair-hearing. Thus, we appeal to media houses, the National Human Rights Commission and NGOs such as Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project among others to always verify facts before coming to conclusion on critical issues like this.
We strongly condemn the taking of innocent lives and support all Government efforts aim at restoring peaceful co-existence.
Thus, we make the following recommendations:
1. Immediate creation of chiefdoms for Tiv in Taraba state, particularly in Wukari, Takum, Donga, Bali, Gassol and Ibi LGAs.
2. The Government should immediately reverse all Tiv Towns and Villages renamed to appropriate Jukun names.
3. The federal government should review, update and enforce all laws relating to citizenship in Nigeria to ensure the equality of all under the law.
4. There is the need for increased security surveillance on the highways and community roads to checkmate the ambush and killing of innocent travellers.
5. Government should consider the payment of compensation to victims and support the resettlement of displace persons affected or displaced from 2001 to date.
The contemporary history of the Southern Taraba for the last four (4) decades is a history of violence, bloodshed and gross abuse of fundamental right of the Tiv majority by the Jukun of the area but because the victims are voiceless the matter was always swept under the carpet. We have been crying for justice and the records are well documented.
These sad development in Southern Taraba State negativity the principle of equity, justice and fairness and all the that the constitution guarantees.
Citizen John Akevi
National President, Movement for the Survival of Tiv Taraba (MOSTT)
Tel: 07037017010, 08188188081