Communal Conflict: Tiv IDPs Cry Out For Help In Taraba

By Sarah Manya

The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State have issued a plea for assistance from the state government and security agencies that would enable them to resume their normal activities.

Investigation into the matter revealed that the IDPs resettled themselves in some of their formerly abandoned homes after five years of neglect.

The IDPs, including pregnant wo I’ll vmen and children, have settled in Tor-Iorshagher, along Wukari-Rafinkada Road and Wukari-Tsukundi Road, with inadequate food supplies and mattresses to provide shelter. 

The decision to return to their homes was made after local authorities began to distribute their lands while they waited for the state government to resettle them. 

However, their wait proved to be in vain, even after three years of cease-fire in the fight between Jukun and Tiv communities, which has lasted for about five years now.

Mr. Aondonengen Torkuma, one of the IDPs and a father of six, expressed the pain and suffering of thousands of their brothers since the crisis began in 2019.

He stated that thousands of their villages located between Wukari to Jootar, Wukari to Rafinkada, Wukari to Ibi, and Wukari to Tsukundi are gradually becoming deserts as herdsmen graze freely on the graves of their ancestors, which they abandoned as a result of the crisis that has lasted for five years now.

The IDPs waited patiently for the former governor of the state, Darius Dickson Ishaku, to resettle them when he called for a cease-fire. 

However, they later discovered that there was no honesty in his call for peace since his kinsmen were sharing their lands and graves and some were even selling them out. 

The IDPs are hopeful that the present Governor, Dr. Agbu Kefas, being a pastor and a dedicated Christian who has the peace and development of the state at heart, will never tour the same path as Darius Ishaku.

The IDPs are appealing to the Governor to provide security cover that would enable them to resume their normal activities, especially since there is no more fight between them and their Jukun brothers, the Governor’s kinsmen. 

The IDPs have already received several threats from young men who came from Rafinka claiming to be acting on the directive of their elders and asking them to go back to their refugee camps.

Mr. Swase Ternenge, who said his wife was pregnant, decided to return to his ancestral home to continue with his farming activities because life had become difficult for him in a strange land. 

The IDPs have explored all necessary peace moves, and now that they have had a cease-fire for over two years, they see no reason to keep waiting for the government to resettle them. 

The IDPs are hopeful that the Governor will defend them and enable them to sleep with two eyes closed in their ancestral homes.

It is important to note that the Tiv people who fled most parts of Southern Taraba, especially the Wukari Local Government Area, following the communal clash between the Jukun and the Tiv, have not been resettled since 1st April 2019 till date. 

It was allegedly reported that any attempt by the IDPs to return to their ancestral homes is either resisted by security agencies or local authorities in the area.

With the present move towards peaceful co-existence in the state, championed by Governor Agbu Kefas, the people are hopeful that there will be no more trouble, especially since the hotspot of the issues centers in the governor’s hometown.

When contacted via telephone for comment, the Wukari local government council chairman, Sama’Ila Dauda did not pick up calls nor respond to the SMS sent to him at the time of filing this report. 

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