The warring factions in the ethnic problems between Tiv and Junkuns in Taraba state have said that there cant be peace except certain conditions are met.
The President General of the Tiv Youth Organisation (TYO) worldwide, Comrade Timothy Hembaor, for example, said the the traditional non-recoginition of TV people in Taraba was at the base of the conflict between the two.
Hembaor told a Daily Trust correspondent in Makurdi that both tribes can coexist peacefully if the major concerns of the Tiv people who are indigenes in Taraba State are addressed.
“Tiv people in Taraba State should be given what they desire. Tiv are asking for traditional leadership. They are majority in the area where they coexist with the Jukun. All they want is a recognized cultural identity so they can have a first, second and third class chiefs where some of their grievances could be channeled through to the government,” he said.
His point is reinforced by the President Tiv Cultural Association in Taraba State,Mr Goodman Dahida, who alleged that the the Jukun were fighting to dislodge the entire Tiv population out of Taraba State.
Dahida stated that as from 1953, the Tiv had 10 village heads under Wukari traditional council and all the Tiv in Wukari and Taraba State paid allegiance to the Aku Uka and Taraba State and not to Tor Tiv or Benue State government, arguing that it was wrong, therefore, for anyone to say Tiv are not indigenes of Taraba State.
Countering the Tiv side, the National Leader of Jukun Youth Council, Zando Hoku, the newspaper in Makurdi, said there could only be peace if the Tiv were ready to lay down their arms.
“At the moment, if they are ready to lay down their arms, we are ready to stay together peacefully. Let me say that the Tiv people who are indigenous to Taraba would never want this crisis to last beyond two weeks but for the Tiv in Benue.
“The Tiv in Benue are interested in what happens here (Taraba) when they are not part of us. They are playing out their 10-point agenda which was earlier projected by the late Tor-Tiv to acquire more land as their population grows so they are fighting neighbours to get more lands. The Tiv in Benue are causing these problems,” Hoku alleged.
The Jukun youth leader further posited that the Tiv were requesting for traditional leadership in Taraba for the purpose of acquiring more land to solidify parts of the content of their 10-point expansion of Tiv kingdom agenda, stressing that, the Jukun would not shift grounds.”
Peter Audu, a Jukun native of troubled Akwana community in Southern part of Wukari, Taraba State bordering Logo Local Government area of Benue State, lamented that the crisis which began in Kente, a distance from his homestead, has forced his family and others away.
Audu told Daily Trust that currently people of his community had fled to safety in neighbouring Taraba towns because they were attacked severally by alleged Tiv militia and that his people were killed and their property burnt down.
“In the style which the Tiv militia attacked us in their numbers, they killed many Jukun so we have all deserted home. No Jukun man can go to farm in all those border villages, the militia will kill any Jukun person found in the farm.
“To make matter worse, the militia vandalized the police station located in the community. Our maize, yam and other crops were also destroyed. We fled to towns. The only people at border areas now are our Muslim brothers who have no stake in the crisis,” Audu alleged.
Meanwhile President Muhammadu Buhari, in his reaction recently, expressed displeasure over the escalating crisis, calling for an end.
His reaction followed the killing of a Catholic Priest, Rev Fr David Tanko, at Kpankufu Village along Wukari Road in Taraba.