Fred Itua, Abuja and Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Some Tiv leaders have accused Taraba Governor, Darius Ishaku of being insensitive to the ongoing genocide against minority ethnic groups in the state, especially the Tiv.
The leaders who addressed a news conference in Abuja on the platform of Taraba Tiv Peoples Association, estimated that 1,000 persons have been killed in the crisis between the Tiv and Jukun.
Leader of the Tiv association, Uchiv Orbee, who spoke on behalf of others, said the “Governor has clearly demonstrated his inability to resolve the crisis because he has clearly taken sides with his Jukun people. He, therefore, lacks the political will in handling it.”
Governor Ishaku has, however, rejected the claim and instead accused Tiv of masterminding the killings and turning around to accuse the Jukun.
The governor’s spokesperson, Bala Abu, in a telephone interview with Daily Sun, alleged that the Tiv are not interested in any a peace deal to bring the crisis to an end. He challenged the Tiv leaders to produce any prominent person among them so far killed in the festering crisis.
“They are lying. The Tiv are the ones killing the Jukuns. They’re the ones carrying out the genocide, but they cry to the public for sympathy. The governor has done a lot to bring peace to the troubled communities. He has held over seven meetings with other state governors. So, their claim is not true,” Abu said.
But Orbee while accusing Ishaku of being complicit in the crisis appealed to “President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and halt the senseless and incessant killings and restore normalcy to our area. The Tiv have been displaced for more than a year now.”
“We urge Buhari to deploy security personnel to Tiv areas as against the present arrangements whereby only Jukun areas and settlements are manned by them. Deliberate government policies be put it in place for the empowerment of the Tiv people through Anchor Borrowers and the Federal Government Financial Assisted programmes to enaable them continue with what they know how to do best- farming.”
Reacting, the media aide to the Governor, Abu said: “They’re lying. The Tivs are the ones killing the Jukuns. They’re the ones carrying out the genocide, but they cry to the public for sympathy.
Meanwhile, the governor has called on security operatives to beef up security in the state.
The governor gave the marching order yesterday at a state broadcast on his behalf by the Deputy Governor, Haruna Manu.
“The governor has consequently directed that security be beefed up in communities that are being targeted by the attackers to guarantee safety of lives and property. He has also directed security agencies to go after members of these militia gangs responsible to the attacks and killings and ensure that they are brought to book.