The Tiv Taraba Movement on Friday handed the Federal Government and Taraba state government 30- day ultimatum to end the killings between the Tiv and Jukun people in Taraba state and restore peace in the area.
The Movement, while lamenting what it described as a genocide against the Tiv nation in Taraba state with the support of the military and backing of the state government, said it would take all necessary steps to defend the right of the Tiv people to life and peaceful existence in a country, state and place of their origin.
Spokesman of the Movement, Barrister Timothy Tor Kyuga, said despite contrary opinions, Tivs were not settlers in Taraba state but indigenes just like the Jukuns some of whom are also found in Benue state. He noted that the Tivs are not in minority in the state, but that they dominated Ibi, Wukari, Takum and Dunga local government areas, while they are spread in large numbers across the state.
Barrister Timothy alleged that the recent spate of attacks, killings and arsons against the Tiv towns and villages were part of organised government policy of “sustained suppression” of the Tivs to intimidate and dominate them. He said efforts have been made to disenfranchise them by moving many of their polling units to the bush and the genocide is part of the plans.
Barrister Timothy told journalists on Friday in Kaduna that, “we are giving President Buhari and Taraba state Governor, Darius Ishaku 30- days to bring an end to the crises by September 30 or else, we won’t fight physically but spiritually and legally. We would go to the courts including ECOWAS Court to ensure that the killings and militia attacks stop.
“We would ensure that a state of emergency is declared in Taraba state and Darius Ishaku is removed as Governor by all legal means. We would start a sustained forceful movement from the private bar to ensure that extant law is respected. There must be an end to killings in middle belt region or we would go back and defend ourselves not with guns but with bows and arrows.”
Explaining what could be done to resolve the crises, the Tiv Taraba Movement spokesman said, “every single person that have issued provocative statement calling for war should be arrested, the chairmen of Takum and Wukari local government areas should be called to order.
“The General Officer Commanding 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Takum should be removed and replaced immediately otherwise the crises will not stop because he is part of the crises. The Taraba state Governor should visit the destroyed areas with members of the Taraba State House of Assembly and the police commissioner to see the damages and commiserate with the people.”
He urged the military leadership to stop protecting the Jukun people against the defenceless Tivs. “Government should ensure level playing ground for everybody without supporting one tribe against the other. Government should engender dialogue between the two groups to bring peace to the state.”