Benue Govt faults media reports on Jukun communities attacks

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Nigerian Concord Newspaper

The Benue state government has faulted media reports which said it was behind the attacks on Jukun communities in the state.

The media reports which were credited to the Chairman of Wukari local government in Taraba State, Mr Daniel Adi – Grace, stated that the Benue state government was behind attacks on Jukun communities in that state.

The Chairman of Ukum local government Area in Benue State, Mr Tor-Tyokaa Ibellogo, who faulted the allegations b
during a briefing with journalists in Makurdi today said the allegations were baseless and rather, a ploy by the council chairman to twist facts regarding the crisis with the intention to cover-up his involvement.

He also accused his Wukari counterpart of insincerity in efforts towards finding lasting solution to the crisis, pointing out that the Chairman had demonstrated through his actions that he was deeply involved in the attacks on Tiv settlements in Taraba State.

Mr Tor-Tyokaa stated that the Wukari chairman invited armed militia who accompanied him to one of the peace meetings between their two councils and laid siege in the bush where they shot sporadically in the air and disrupted the peace parley.

The Ukum chairman listed several Tiv Settlements in Taraba State completely razed down by the Jukun militia with the support of the Wukari chairman as Tse-chiina, Hanmetema, Deke Mdondo, Namkpindi and Akanyar. Others he said were Uvondo, Mamupe Ama, Iorshaegh and Ikyaior, among others.

The Ukum chairman stated that if Jukun communities came under attacks it was reprisals from those sacked from their ancestral homes in Taraba State and not from Benue State.

He expressed disappointment that in spite of concerted peace efforts between the Benue and Taraba State governments, the Jukun militia were still launching attacks on Tiv settlements, noting with dismay that hundreds have been killed while no Tiv settlement has been left standing at the moment in Taraba State.

Mr. Tor-Tyokaa stated that after sacking the Tiv people from their ancestral homes their land is being allocated to Jukuns saying such was a clear case of ethnic cleansing.

On the question of the Tiv being indigenes of Taraba State, he described his colleagues’ comments that they were settlers as a clear display of gross ignorance and mischief as the 1947 census had placed the Tiv in Taraba State as indisputable majority.

The Ukum chairman stated that at that time the Tiv had a population of over 40, 400 representing 34, percent of the total population of Wukari which he noted is made up of 19 other nationalities with the Jukun representing 17 percent.

He stressed that the Tiv had in the past produced various leaders in elective and appointive positions in Wukari local government area as proof that they were indigenes.

Mr Tor-Tyokaa appealed to the Jukun to change their attitude towards the Tiv and be willing to embrace them as their brothers and sisters with rights and responsibilities as Taraba State indigenes as is the case with the Jukun in Benue State.

He stressed the need for parties involved in the crisis to desist from making unguarded statements that could jeopardize efforts being made to restore permanent peace to the troubled areas.