The Conference of Benue Journalists (CBJ), an association of professional media practitioners of Benue origin with membership spread across the country, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari on the intervention of the Federal Government in the protracted crisis between the Jukun and Tiv people of Taraba State.
The national President of the group, Anule Emmanuel, in a statement in Abuja today, September 15, said that the group was impressed with the president’s fatherly efforts to resolve the age long rift between the two ethnic groups.
”We are impressed with Mr. 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 between the two ethnic groups, which has unfortunately, claimed the lives of several innocent persons with property worth millions of naira destroyed.
“We join 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 Wednesday 4th September, 2019, between Governors Darius Ishaku of Taraba and Samuel Ortom of Benue and other key stakeholders from the two states with the view to discussing long term and lasting solution to the deep-seated antagonistic relationship between the two ethnic groups in Taraba.
The group noted that the stakeholder’s meeting, which held at the Yar’Adua Center, identified seven different issues which the Federal Government as an arbitrator, must seek to address, working closely with the leadership of the two warring groups.
These include: “that the issue of criminality such as banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery were some of the causes of the crisis;
“That the crisis could be underpinned to lack of clear boundary demarcation between the two States;
“That the crisis is purely the internal affairs of Taraba State and not between Benue and Taraba States;
“That the crisis has brought economic activities to a halt and has led to loss of valuable lives, wanton destruction of property and displacement of communities from their home and;
“That the Jukun and Tiv Communities are desirous of peaceful co-existence;
“Highlighted the commitment of the Federal Government to facilitate early resolution of the crisis by lending support to the peace building process most importantly coming from the two ethnic groups and;
“Non implementation of Agreements reached out at past meetings from the Kashimbila to the last one held in Makurdi.”
The president stressed: “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 States, to show commitment in the implementation of all agreements reached at the Abuja stakeholders’ meeting.
According to him, “The violence between these two major tribes in the Benue Valley would continue to make progress and development impossible, if left to linger on.
The statement continued that: ”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 impact of this persistent violence on the social and economic life of the people which is incalculable, is real. Government must therefore not allow this crisis to fester.”