Nigeria: Re – Time to Halt Taraba Mayhem

Your editorial of Wednesday, May 20, 2020, with the above title, was another timely one, a usual with your medium, in responding to the role of the press as conscience of society.

From that prism, it may be said to be an auspicious intervention, coming when there has been silence from relevant quarters even after this latest skirmishes between Tiv and Jukun.

The assertion in the editorial that, “The Jukun always allege that the Tiv, who moved in from the neighbouring Benue State, are taking over their land,” is at the heart of the matter.

The impression created from this kind of statement is that the Tiv only moved into that part of Nigeria when Taraba State was created in 1991.

To put the records straight, land is not even the issue in the disagreement between Tiv and Jukun in present Taraba State, as is the issue of attempts to exclude Tiv from, mostly, their political rights as citizens of the state.

Recall that in 1959, late Honourable Charles Tangur Gaza, contested election with a Jukun man, Ibrahim Usman Sangari, and the former won overwhelmingly. The poll was for entry into the then Northern House of Representatives, Kaduna.

With the creation of states in 1967 and subsequent return to democracy in 1979, two Tiv politicians, David Mtuem and Simon Awua, won elections into the then Gongola State House of Assembly, representing two of four state constituencies in Wukari. Both men are still alive.

The other two seats were won by Habu Gurama and Bawa Isa, both of who emerged as a result of protest votes.