How To End Crisis In Taraba State


The recent resurgence of hostilities between Tiv and Jukun in the southern part of Taraba State has sparked yet another round of tension and rancour amidst a blame game that has become a recurring phenomenon. Despite efforts by the current administration of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku at staving off further outburst of violence, the renewed bloodshed and destruction of property has once again brought to the fore the crucial need in finding lasting peace for the state.
Since the eruption of violence in the state between the two warring ethnic groups, there have been moves by the present state government to bring back peace and ensure a return to normalcy. It is against this backdrop that recent rebirth of violence has reiterated the need for peace and unity in order to attain development.
Long before the emergence of Ishaku as governor in 2015, there has been no love lost between the Jukun and Tiv. However, more than any previous government, the present administration has not spared any attempt at contending against the monsters of destruction, just as the state has never wavered in its determination in rallying critical stakeholders to secure a permanent peace deal.

Despite these efforts aimed at facilitating a new dawn of peace for all, it is to be noted here that the Tiv, one of the warring ethnic groups in the crisis, are also engaged in fighting their neighbours in Cross River and Nasarawa States. Some have accused the Tiv of taking over lands wherever they settle as migrants, while others have portrayed them as being adversarial against their neighbours.
Looking at the history of the Taraba crisis, the fundamental crux of the Jukun-Tiv crisis is basically hinged on a deliberate ploy to dominate and broaden territorial frontiers. More worrisome is the demand by Tiv living in Taraba to be given traditional stool in a land that belongs to Jukun.
Understanding the dialectics of the Taraba ethnic warfare must go beyond the normal blame game that is founded on allegation of marginalisation. Despite allotting no fewer than 10 special assistant positions to the Tiv by the present administration, the road to peace is still fraught with frightening prospects of impediments. For peace to return to the state, the need to bury the age-long hatchet and work for unity is necessary and unavoidable.
It is pathetic that despite several peace efforts embarked upon by the Taraba State government, the road to permanent peace is increasingly becoming more of a mirage than a reality. Though the quest for peace between the Tiv and Jukun ethnic nationalities has been a top priority agenda of the Ishaku-led government, the deliberate unwillingness of one of the groups has always led to inability to implement the letter and spirit of various peace agreements held under the auspices of the Taraba State government.
Under the watch of this present government led by Governor Ishaku, there have been no less than 12 peace agreements that usually end up with both groups signing for peace. One of the most recent peace parleys took place in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, under the facilitation of the Taraba State government. The Lafia Peace Parley came barely a year after another peace meeting took place in 2019 at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, representing the federal government.
Like many of its type that have been held, the Tiv would always resume hostilities and breach the content and spirit of the agreement. There is no doubt that more than anything else, the search for peace should be a top priority. However, the recurring violence has thrown a garb of impossibility on the capacity of Governor Ishaku in pulling through a peace agreement. Despite accusations in some quarters that the governor has not done enough to stave off further violence and bring perpetrators to book, the earlier order by the state government on fleeing Tiv to return to their communities in Taraba absolves the state of any form of complicity in the violence.
There is also need to stress here that peace cannot be attained through falsehood and propaganda aimed at playing to the gallery. It must be noted here that while leaders of both ethnic groups are currently meeting behind closed doors to resolve issues, rumour mongers and those who are not genuinely interested in peace must be kept at bay. The fiercest of wars are won on the dialogue table and not on the battle field.
What the state needs more than anything now is to evolve a proactive approach towards combating increasing spate of insecurity ravaging the state. This cannot be achieved without recourse to supporting security agencies and the state government to contain the activities of criminals. Hopefully, the state government and the security agencies are determined to end the violence through effective community policing efforts by a committee recently inaugurated by the state to combat insecurity in the state.
To end the recurring ethnic violence in Taraba, there is need to avoid blame game and be appreciative of the fact that bloodshed cannot be the answer. Both sides in the conflict should acknowledge that as citizens of Taraba State, they must unite to support the state government to achieve peace and unity for development. With Governor Ishaku deploying effective measures in bringing all sides to the dialogue table, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel that a permanent peace deal is in sight.
Yakubu, a public commentator, wrote this piece from Jalingo, Taraba State.
Source: Daily Post Ng

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