The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) in pursuit of its resolve to ensure communal harmony in all parts of northern Nigeria, has initiated a peace process to end the Tiv/Jukun crisis in Taraba state.
The CNG delegation led by its spokesperson Abdul-Azeez Suleiman interacted with major representatives of Jukun and Tiv on Thursday in Jalingo, the Taraba state capital.
Stating the mission of the delegation, Suleiman said they were in Taraba as fellow northerners to condole with the people over loses of valuable lives and property as a result of the violence which he said was unfortunate, unnecessary and avoidable.
He said the CNG was also deeply concerned that the major casualty in the violence was drawn from the youth population which constitutes the main human asset of the North.
“Let’s understand from the onset that we are not a court of law so we are not hear to judge anyone or apportion blames but to appeal to your sense of ordinary decency and humanity to consider bringing an immediate end to the unfortunate hostilities.
“As we go into the discussions, we should keep in mind that before any of us is Tiv, Jukun, Hausa, Kanuri Fulani or any tribe, his primary identity was humanity. We therefore plead with you to begin these discussions with sincerity of purpose and genuine intention of resolving the conflict,” he said.
Suleiman reminded the meeting that no one wins a religious or ethnic war and no ethnic group can dominate another forever just as “no benefit comes from fights and conflicts over what God has blessed us with: our population, our land and its resources and our values.”
“We politely plead with you as responsible leaders of your respective communities to embrace this initiative to bring peace among the Jukun and Tiv from which we are all bleeding. Let us sincerely acknowledge the damage which fights between communities in Taraba and Benue States, in Kaduna and Plateau States are causing the communities and the North.
“These conflicts, as well as the Boko Haram insurgency, cattle rustling, banditry and kidnappings are our problems as Northerners.
The President and Governors may tell us that they are concerned over these, but every Northerner must realize by now that leaders and governments we elected cannot or will not do enough to bring them to an end. Yet with the right political will and quality of leadership, we can stop the Tiv and Jukun conflicts.
We can bring lasting peace to Plateau. We believe with the quality of representation here to today, we can find solutions to this violence which is only wasting the greatest asset of the North which is its human capital,” Suleiman said.
Responding, leader of the Tiv delegation, Chief Goodman Dahida advised that while they would ensure that hostilities cease, there must be effort by the CNG to involve wider northern leadership and reach out to community leaders involved in the conflict.
He lamented that the warring tribes have committed a gross sin to God and must repent and seek divine intervention.
Dr Akombo Elijah, a Tiv leader, described the CNG intervention as the most genuine effort ever made to bring an end to the crisis.
“We are not in support of this violence which we believe is fueled by the mischief of some people who do not want to see us live together. We welcome this move and we shall relay it to our communities.
On his part, leader of the Jukun delegation, Magaji Habu said the two tribes must forgive each other and there must be an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect among themselves. He observed that in the end, no one ever wins any war totally.
Another Jukun leader, Enechi Jonathan advised that all community leaders involved should speak to their sons to cease hostilities and called on the youth to haken to the call of their respective leaders.
Consequently, the meeting resolves to:
a. The Jukun and Tiv community leaders present here would initiate a cesassion of hostilities intensity the genuine search for peaceful co-existence and sustained security in all the affected parts of the state.
b. The CNG would convene an enlarged roundtable dialogue to involve northern traditional rulers, the northern Governors Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Northern Traditional rulers and other categories of stakeholders and elders and leaders of Taraba communities to hold 29th October 2019 in Jalingo.
c. The CNG would initiate an immediate process for the training of Jukun and Tiv youths in conflict resolution and management techniques as well as skill acquisition and subsequent exposure to wealth creation opportunities starting with an initial 300 youth.
d. The leaders present here would mobilize the people particularly the youth of the two tribes involved in the crisis to resist further instigations to embark on actions with negative consequences on their personal security and the overall political and economic fortunes of the state.
e. They would also sensitize all levels of leadership of the warring communities to support the legitimate aspirations of their youth to reverse the current trend towards their further marginalization and irrelevance in the context of a contemporary world of immense opportunities and possibilities.
f. Rally all Taraba communities to unite, rediscover and pursue common goals that include their historic unity, their political and economic development, the strength of their religious, social and moral values and respect for their diversity.
g. To restore hope, trust and faith of all Taraba communities in their capacity and ability to negotiate peacefully among themselves in any circumstances which best suit their interests.
h. To set up an implementation committee comprising three representatives from each of the Tiv and Jukun communities to implement the above resolutions, monitor and evaluate level of success.
The resolutions reached were contained in a communique signed by Goodman Dahida, President of the Tiv community, Daniel Emmanuel Angyu, Spokesperson Jukun community and countersigned by Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, CNG Spokesperson and Chairman Reconciliation Committee, Tiv/Jukun crisis.