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Jukun-Tiv conflict: Catholic bishops call for peace

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The Catholic Bishops of Abuja and Jos Ecclesiastical provinces have called for peace and an end to the recent upsurge of violence between Jukun and Tiv communities in Taraba.

The bishops expressed their feeling in a statement issued at the end of a meeting in Abuja on Friday.

Te statement was signed by 16 bishops, including His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan of Abuja, the Most Rev. Iganaius Kaigama of Jos, the Rt. Rev, Mattew Audu of Lafia, and the Rt. Rev. William Avenya of Gboko.

Other signatories were the Most Rev. Wilfred Anagbe of Makurdi and the Rt. Rev Charles Hammawa of Jalingo.

The Tiv/Jukun crisis which erupted from Kente, a border town of Benue and Taraba has led to the loss of many lives including, women and children, in the last three months.

Also, on Aug. 29, bandits ambushed and killed a Catholic priest, Rev Fr. David Tanko at Kufai Amadu in Takum Local Government Area, by setting him and his vehicle ablaze.

The cleric was said to be on his way to Takum for a peace meeting with fellow clergymen on how to resolve the lingering Tiv, Jukun crisis.

“We, the Catholic Bishops of Abuja and Jos Ecclesiastical Provinces, are sad, and it is with great dismay that we note the recent upsurge of violence, resulting in the horror and carnage we are experiencing.

“We are Christians, and we are saddened about the continuous disturbing trend leading to deaths, destruction of homes and means of livelihood in the affected regions, among tribes that should be best of neighbours.

“ As Christians we believe and uphold the sanctity of life from birth to natural death (cradle to the grave).

“We know that scripture and teachings of the Church are uncompromising about the sacredness of life,’’ they said.

The bishops noted that since the tribes of our region: Tiv, Jukun, Idoma, Igala, Angas, Berom, Eggon, Alago, Bassas, Mumuye, Kuteb, were mostly Christians, the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians should be their binding force.

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28).

“By the same understanding, we are saying that in Christ there is neither Tiv, Jukun nor native, indigene nor foreigner, neither visitor nor stranger.

“We are all one in Jesus Christ the Saviour of all mankind. We are all created in the image and likeness of God.  He gave us the land to inhabit and improve for our own benefit and development,’’ they noted.

The bishops called attention to the embarrassing conflict with attendant mutual atrocities, which contradicted  cherished local traditions, cultural and Christian values.

They further called on government to get to the root cause of the recurring conflicts which had caused great setbacks and obvious hardship in different forms for the people.

“We would appreciate moderate and reconciliatory utterances from our political, traditional and religious leaders and elders, with more concrete and deliberate actions in favour of peace and not war.

“ Silence during such conflicts is not golden but very unhealthy,’’ they added.

Also, the bishops condemned the unhealthy propaganda, prejudices meted out through the social media as well as exaggerated media comments and write-ups which sometimes fuelled the crisis.

They noted that as clergy and religious, they remained agents of reconciliation irrespective of their tribes by the sacrament of the Holy Orders.

“We belong to all, and we are fathers of all and so, we cannot be reduced to tribal vanguards or ethnic champions. We belong to all. This is the essence of our priesthood and vocation.

“We should stand above ethnic interests and preach justice, love and forgiveness for the common good of all,’’ they said.

They appealed to all men and women of faith, and all people of good will, to speak out and take action in favour of peace.

ENO/OIF/JCE

Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Chukwudi Ekezie

 

 

General news

Benue, Taraba govt sign peace agreement over Tiv/Jukun crisis

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The Benue and Taraba Governments on Tuesday signed a peace agreement to end the lingering crisis between Tiv and Jukun.

This was contained in a communique signed by the Deputy Governors of Nasarawa, Benue and Taraba, Emmanuel Akabe ,  Benson Abonu and Haruna Manu on Tuesday in Lafia.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the communique was presented at the end of a joint mediation peace meeting between the two states held in Lafia.

All parties agreed that the meeting was necessitated by the continued crisis between Tiv and Jukun communities along border corridors of Benue and Taraba.

Participants condemned in strong terms the wanton destruction of lives and property and agreed on nine points as follows.

They agreed that there should be cessation of hostilities from the parties to pave way for return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their communities.

Participants also agree that the governors of Benue and Taraba should meet with traditional rulers of the affected communities and sensitise them on the need to embrace peace.

They further agree that the governor of Nasarawa State should facilitate another review meeting within one month.

Participants further agreed that all IDPs from the two states be allowed to return to their homes immediately under the supervision of the security agencies.

They agreed that the two states would expose and apprehend militia groups and hand them over to the security agencies for necessary action.

They agreed that the governors of the two states should ensure deployment of security to the affected communities to checkmate the excesses of criminals.

Finally, they agreed that the governors of Benue and Taraba would provide palliative to the IDPs to cushion the effects of the crisis among others.

NAN reports that the the meeting had in attendance , Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, his deputy and his counterparts from Benue and Taraba states.

Others are the Secretaries of State Governments of Benue and Taraba, national assembly and house of assembly members, Commissioners, traditional rulers and youth leaders among others. .

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Gov. Sule urges Tiv/Jukun leaders to draw up roadmap for lasting peace

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Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State on Tuesday called on leaders of Tiv and Jukun to work together to draw up a road map for lasting peace.

Sule made the call in Lafia during a mediation meeting between Benue and Taraba.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the the meeting had in attendance , Sule’s deputy, Emmanuel Akabe, Benson Abonu, Deputy of Benue and Haruna Manu his Taraba counterpart.

Others are the Secretaries of State Governments of Benue and Taraba, national assembly and house of assembly members, Commissioners, traditional rulers and youth leaders among others.

Sule expressed delight with the governments of the two states for choosing Nasarawa State to host the meeting.

“As governors, our number one responsibility is to ensure peace and secure their people to enable them go about their activities without any fear of intimidation or molestation.

“Posterity will us if we fail in discharging this and other responsibilities as leaders.

“Our children would ask us what roles we have played as individuals in government house to ensure peace in our respective states,” the governor added.

Governor Sule, therefore, expressed hope that giving the devastation of COVID-19 on mankind now, all parties would embrace peace and end the lingering crisis.

After his opening remarks, the participants went into a closed-door session.

A communiqué is expected at the end of the meeting. .

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Association seeks quick end to Jukun/Tiv crises, says violence `hitting us hard”

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Ukum Development Association has called on the Taraba Government to find lasting solutions to the incessant crises between Jukun and Tiv ethnic groups in the state.

Its President-General, Mr Joseph Akenawe, made the call while briefing newsmen on Friday in Makurdi.

Akenawe said that the incessant crises were “taking a harsh toll on both the economic and social activities of the state”.

He regretted that Jootar, a Benue border community with Taraba, was attacked on Wednesday, April 8, and three persons killed, and called for measures to end the violence.

Akenawe appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to take urgent steps to safeguard the peace and security of the area.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah and Ephraims Sheyin
(NAN)

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Defence/Security

Tiv/Jukun Crisis: Commission recommends prosecution of perpetrators

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The Commission of Inquiry instituted by the Benue Government to investigate the Tiv/Jukun crisis in Abinsi and Fiidi communities has recommended the prosecution of perpetrators of the crisis.

Justice Wilfred Kpochi, Chairman of the commission, stated this on Wednesday in Makurdi, while submitting its report to the state government.

Kpochi said two factors; land dispute and chieftaincy matters, in both communities were responsible for the crisis.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Abinsi is a community located in Guma Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, while Fiidi is in Makurdi LGA.

NAN also reports that the crisis took place in the first quarter of 2019, resulting in the loss of lives and destruction of property within the communities.

Kpochi said the state government should ensure that security agencies conduct further investigation to arrest and prosecute all those involved in the crisis.

He said that those responsible for the crisis were from both communities.

“The immediate causes of the crisis at both Abinsi and Fiidi emanated  from the ashes of the twin problems of land and chieftaincy related disputes.

“In the course of this assignment, we identified some protagonists within both communities that were at the forefront and fueled the crisis. We isolated some of these characters but we have no power to sanction them.

“We therefore, recommend that security agencies should be called upon to do a more discreet investigation of some persons named and others that will link them to possibly prosecute them to serve as a deterrent to others of their ilk.’’

 “As regards the perennial disputes over chieftaincy matters within the communities, and elsewhere in the state, we recommend the strict application of the provision of the Benue State Council of Chiefs and Traditional Councils Law 2016 as the antidote.

“On the land disputes among members of the communities, we have generally noted that rapid population growth within the communities has brought a lot of pressure to bear on the available land mass that does not expand.

“Under our laws, land generally belongs to the Government so we recommend that the Government should intervene by regulating land acquisition in accordance with the provisions of the Land Use Act.’’

The chairman thanked the governor for the confidence reposed in them and pledged to always be available for future assignments when called upon.

Receiving the report, Gov. Samuel Ortom said both Tiv and Jukun, who are indigenes of Benue must respect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and laws of the state.

Ortom said that nobody would displace any Jukun indigene of the state from wherever he chose to reside, adding that they are also members of the Tiv Traditional Council as indigenes.

He said his administration would ensure that those behind the crisis were apprehended and sanctioned.

He reiterated that “nobody owns the land except the government,’’ adding that Tiv/Jukun must learn to live together in peace for development to thrive.

“As long as you are living in Benue, you must be law abiding, the same way Tiv people living in Taraba should comply and be law abiding to the laws of Taraba State.

“One thing that is common that unites an average Tiv man and that of Jukun man here in Benue is that poverty is very common among us.

“So, we do not need to go and start destroying the little things that we have. Go round Nigeria, people that live in round huts are Tiv and Jukun.

“It is a shame that the little we have struggled to put together we still destroy in the name of crisis,’’ he said.

He warned that there should  be no form of harassment from both side of the affected communities.

Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho and Isaac Ukpoju

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Politics

BMO lauds military for checking herders/farmers, Tiv/Jukun crises

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The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has commended Nigerian Military for checking herders/farmers, Tiv/Jukun crises in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states.

In a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, in Abuja on Tuesday, BMO described as successful feat, military decision to wind down Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), after more than a year.

Akinsiju said: “The planned phase withdrawal of troops from Benue,Taraba and Nasarawa states is a clear indication of successful efforts by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to ensure peaceful resolution of communal crises in North-central Nigeria.

“This means that security challenges, triggered by recurring herdsmen/farmers clashes and Tiv/Jukun crises, have been checked,” he said.

According to BMO chairman, there is no better way to determine the outcome of the military operation ordered by the president in the aftermath of the crises than the decision to wind down Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) after more than a year.

“When the nation was gripped by reports of renewed communal clashes and violent killings in Benue and Taraba in the first instance, it was not surprise that opposition elements capitalise on the situation in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.

“But the President’s decision to send in troops has proved to be a masterstroke that even officials of the two states that were the epicentre of violence have recently acknowledged that there is peace in the region,” he said.

Akinsiju commended the military for not resorting, strictly, to the use of force in the face of extreme hostilities in some cases.

Edited by: Chioma Ugboma/Dada Ahmed
(NAN)

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Economy

Coalition to train 300 Tiv/Jukun youths on skills-for-wealth scheme

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The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), an NGO, is to train 300 Tiv/Jukun youths on skills to engage them positively and ward off the tendency to engage in violence.

The group, in a communique issued at the end of a two-day conflict resolution meeting in Jalingo, said that the scheme would expose the youths to opportunities they could explore and grow into becoming assets to the society.

The communique made available to the Nigeria News Agency (NAN), on Saturday in Jalingo, was signed by Malam Abdul-Azeez Suleiman for CNG, Chief Goodman Dahida, President-General, Tiv Cultural and Social Association in Taraba, and Mr Daniel Angyu, spokesperson for the Jukun community.

“The CNG will initiate an immediate process for the training of Jukun and Tiv youths in conflict resolution and management techniques as well as skills acquisition and exposure to wealth creation opportunities starting with an initial 300 youths from the two groups.

, to seek lasting solutions to the lingering Jukun/Tiv crisis.

The communique explained that Jukun and Tiv community leaders would soon initiate an immediate end to hostilities and intensify genuine search for peaceful co-existence and sustained security in areas hit by the violence.

It stated that an implementation committee comprising three representatives each, from the Tiv and Jukun communities would be set up to implement the resolutions, monitor and evaluate the level of successes.

NAN reports that the Tiv/Jukun crisis, which began on April 1 in Kente community of Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba, has spread to other local government areas in the south of Taraba, claiming many lives and property worth millions of naira. (NAN)

YGA/ETS

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Religion

Catholic Bishops, priests condemn Jukun-Tiv crises, suggest ways to end bloodletting

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Catholic Bishops and priests of Abuja and Jos Ecclesiastical provinces have condemned the Jukun-Tiv crises that have claimed many lives.

The clerics in a communiqué after a meeting at Centre for Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace (DREP), Jos, on Tuesday suggested ways to end the bloodletting.

The meeting which was chaired by Most Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, Apostolic Administrator of Jos, and Coadjutor Archbishop of Abuja, said that nobody was spared in the unfortunate situation.

“We condemn the use of arms by our Christians and any other persons against one another.

“We equally condemn those who commit atrocities on account of tribal differences or in the name of the struggle for economic or political control.

“We bemoan the deplorable situation and the frustration our people have been reduced to in the face of these crises.

“The inter-ethnic clashes in our region have indeed erupted and affected Idoma, Tiv, Igala, Ogoja, Hiking, Kuteb, Also, Eggon, Agatu, Agila and Ngbo in Ebony State,” the communique said.

The body called on the Church as well as government to employ services of historians, anthropologists, security agents, boundary demarcation experts, constitutional experts and neutral international bodies (ECOWAS, AU, UN) to resolve the claims and counter claims.

They also called on dioceses with the ecclesiastical jurisdictions to create avenues where issues of insecurity and the dangers of crises would be discussed to sensitise the people.

According to them, traditional rulers should rise beyond their desire for peace but also work for peace.

Nigeria News Agency reports that seven other Catholic Bishops were in attendance.

They include; Most Rev. Ishaya Audu of Lafia Diocese, Most Rev. Charles Hamawa of Jalingo Diocese, Most Rev. Mathew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto Diocese and Most Rev. William Avenya of Gboko Diocese.

Others were; Most Rev. Michael Gokum of Pankshin Diocese, Most Rev. Philip Dung of Shendam Diocese and Most Rev. Hillary Dachellem of Bauchi Diocese as well as some selected priests in the two provinces. (NAN)


PAT/AMM/AMY

Edited by Abiemwense Moru and Abdullahi Yusuf

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Defence/Security

Tiv/Jukun leaders in Taraba agree to ceasefire

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The leaderships of the Tiv and Junkun waring factions in the Southern part of Taraba on Thursday, agreed to a ceasefire to allow the return of normalcy to the area.

This was contained in a communique issued at the end of a two-day peace meeting held in Jalingo, Taraba, with representatives of both tribes, government officials and state security chiefs.

Government officials and security agencies in the state also attended the meeting.

According to the communique, speakers at the meeting condemned the crisis and stressed the need for cessation of all forms of hostilities between the two communities to have way for the peace building effort being spearheaded by the state government.

“The meeting noted that the crisis had been hijacked by criminal elements from both the Jukun and Tiv communities and therefore, the two communities should expose the criminal elements amongst them.

“We also resolved to stop reprisal attacks or revenge from both parties but report all from of security breaches to the security agencies for appropriate action.

“There is every need for government to take deliberate steps to encourage the Internally Displaced Persons to return to their homes since adequate security operatives have been deployed tot the affected communities to protect lives and property,’ the leaders said.

The leaders urged journalists to be more positive in their reportage while the parties also charged the communities to be wary of rumours that are capable of inciting the people and destabilising the entire peace process.

The communique was signed by the state Deputy Governor, Haruna Manu as representative of the state government , Mr Danjuma Adamu and John Mamman signed for the Jukun community while Mr Jime Yongo and Mr Isaac Waakaa signed on behalf of the Tiv community.

reports that the communual crisis between Tiv and Jukun of Taraba has claimed many lives and property worth billions of Naira in Takum, Wukari and Donga local government areas of the state.
MK/KKA/SH

Edited by Kola Adeyemi/Sadiya Hamza

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General news

Benue group hails Buhari for intervening in Tiv/ Jukun crisis

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Intervention

By Martins Odeh

Abuja, Sept.15 The Conference of Benue Journalists (CBJ) on Sunday expressed satisfaction on President Muhammadu Buhari’s timely intervention to provide lasting solution to the age long communal violent clashes between the Jukun and Tiv people of Taraba.

Mr Anule Emmanuel, National President of the group expressed this delight in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja.

Anule said the group was impressed with President Muhammadu Buhari’s fatherly efforts to resolve the age long rift between the two ethnic groups.

Nigeria News Agency reports that CBJ is an association of professional media practitioners of Benue origin with membership spread across the country.

further reports that the association has a sole objective of promoting, projecting and defending the interests of the state and its peoples across the country.

“We are impressed with the president’s recent directive to the Governors of Benue and Taraba states, royal fathers, specifically the Tor Tiv and the Aku Uka of Wukari, religious and community leaders in the two states to immediately find solutions to the perennial crisis.

“We, therefore, align ourselves with the president and all well meaning citizens of the country in condemning in strong terms, the unacceptable wanton killings and destruction of property by the two tribes.

“This is a sad and barbaric act of brothers killing brothers.

“Recall that following the president’s directive, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha convened a meeting in Abuja on Sept. 4, between Governors Darius Ishaku of Taraba and Samuel Ortom of Benue and other key stakeholders from the two states.

“This was with the view to discussing long term and lasting solution to the deep-seated antagonistic relationship between the two ethnic groups in Taraba,’’ Anule said.

Anule however, noted that the stakeholder’s meeting, which held at the Yar’Adua Centre, in Abuja identified seven different issues which the Federal Government as an arbitrator, must seek to address.

The seven key issues to address were listed to include: criminality such as banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery as motivating factors sustaining the crisis.

Others included lack of clear boundary demarcation between the two states and that

the crisis remained purely the internal affairs of Taraba and not between Benue and Taraba.

The rest of the issues deserving of immediate attention were the economic and social implication of the violence leading to widespread displacement, losses which included lives and property.

reports that the seventh issue remains the fact the two warring tribes are desirous of peaceful co-existence.

Anule, therefore said it was imperative that the government sustained the intervention by setting up a workable template in line with the agreed seven issues to end the crisis forthwith.

“Non implementation of Agreements reached in the past from the Kashimbila to the last one held in Makurdi have fuelled the crisis,’’ Anule said.

Anule also said: “as we offer condolences to the two communities for losses incurred as a result of the crisis, we enjoin the government of Benue and Taraba, to show commitment in the implementation of all agreements reached in the Abuja stakeholders’ meeting.

“The violence between these two major tribes in the Benue Valley would continue to make progress and development impossible, if left to linger on.

“Although the intervention by president Buhari may have come late, it is still commendable being a positive step towards addressing this crisis.

“We stress that the negative impact of this persistent violence on the social and economic life of the people which is incalculable, is real and heavy. Government must therefore not allow this crisis to fester’’.

OMO/SH

edited by Sadiya Hamza

 

 

 

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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