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Tagging Tiv as settlers in Taraba shows height of ignorance – Forum

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Tagging Tiv as settlers in Taraba shows height of ignorance – Forum

Callistus Agwaza, Jalingo 

The Taraba Tiv Youth Development Forum (TTYDF) has described the insinuation by the Jukun Youth and Cultural Association that the Tiv people resident in parts of Taraba State are non indigenes but mere settlers as crass show of ignorance. 

The President of the forum Torkuma Luper Moses made the assertion in a Press statement issued on Monday in Jalingo in reaction to an earlier statement issued by the Jukun Youth Forum.

The continued fued between the Tiv and Jukun tribes in parts of Southern Taraba have resulted in the deaths of Thousands of persons, displacement of several Thousands and destruction of property worth hundreds of millions over the decades.

Moses maintained that the Tiv people, who have been living in the area even before the colonial era can not be tagged as settlers as no single tribe can lay claim to the exclusive right of the area around Wukari.

“We want the JYCDA to tell us who an indigene is in Taraba, or what qualifies one to be an indigene, and how it is for the Jukun to have ancestral homes in Taraba State to the exclusion of the Tiv. JYCDA should be reminded that the Tiv people lived in the area now called Taraba State for a long period before the advent of colonialism. We shall have to educate the Jukun youths that some Aku Ukas such as Angyu Zakanju (1820-1845) and Agbumanu Agbu (1845-1860) had to seek the assistance of the Tiv who were already established in the area now called Taraba to save them (Jukun) from the hands of their enemies in wars. So also was the case in the early years of the reign of Aku Awudumanu Abite (1871-1903). 

“Before the European exploration of the Benue River led by Dr. Baikie and Samuel Ajayi Crowther in 1854, the Tiv people were already established in the area later called the Wukari Federation. An encounter between a group of Tiv people in Ibi under Chief Njoro and Samuel Ajayi Crowther is a clear indication of this. In a brief interview with this cross section of Tiv at Ibi, Njoro explained that they were all people in Wukari area. When Bishop Samuel Crowther wanted to know the boundary line between Tivland and the Jukun’s in the area then referred to as Wukari Federation, Njoro simply inserted his ten fingers together explaining that the Jukun and Tiv were a mixed people, inseparable and interlocked as his ten fingers. This story is in the public domain and one expects the Jukun youths who claim to be “the sons of the soil” to have it on their finger tips.

“However, if these historical facts seem too distant and remote to the Jukun youths, they ought to know that when Wukari was under Muri or Munshi Province, the Tiv were the majority indigenous population. (by the way _Munshi_ is a derogatory word for the Tiv people, further corrupted by the European from the Fulani version “munchi”). Even after the creation of Tiv Division in 1933, over 13,000 Tiv people were still indigenous to Wukari proper. This 13, 000 alone were more than the whole Jukun population under Wukari Federation. Thus, for the Jukun youths to turn around and profile the Tiv people as settlers, guests, immigrants or non-indigenes in Taraba State is unashamedly duplicitous.

“Thus, the ignorant Jukun Youths trying to project the idea of Taraba State being a Jukun State is at worst ignominious and disgusting. The idea has no basis and it stands history on the head.

“We call on all well-meaning people to ignore such blatant broad day lies and ignominious insensitivity by a section of the youths who are very ignorant, not well educated and not well-informed. Finally, we earnestly call on the State Governor, Dr Agbu Kefas to, as a matter of urgency, expedite action to ensure a speedy return, resettlement and rehabilitation  of the displaced Tiv people of Taraba State. His prolong silence on what is happening in Taraba State,  Wukari, his local government of origin  as it relates to the planned prevention of the IDPs from returning to their ancestral homes by the military and local government authority including the insult and assault of his kinsmen against the displaced Tiv people of Taraba State is no longer telling well of him and his administration. Whatever that is good for the goose is equally good for the gander! Now that the Jukun have been allowed to return to their homes, the Tiv people too should be allowed to return home” the statement reads in parts.

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