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Sheathe your swords – MUTUK appeals to warring Tiv/Jukun communities in Taraba state
By Eni Ekpa

President of the Mutual Union of Tiv in the United Kingdom, MUTUK, Dr. Kohol Shadrach Iornem has expressed sadness over the persistent destruction of property and killings in the bloody crisis between the Tiv and Jukun in Taraba state and appealed to the warring parties to sheathe their swords.

The MUTUK President who lamented that the crisis had spiraled into the border communities of Taraba and Benue states wondered why the clashes had also defile all efforts by the governments of both states including those of security agencies and the military to stem it.

The leadership of the group in a statement yesterday by its Publicity Secretary, Ms. Salome Biam made available to DD in Makurdi appealed to the feuding parties to embrace dialogue and end the bloodbath.

The statement read in part, “the Management Committee of MUTUK has expressed deep concern over the renewed endless violence, killings, bloodbath, acts of arson and wanton destruction of properties between the warring communities of Jukun and Tiv predominantly in the southern senatorial district of Taraba state.

“It is also regrettable that these unfortunate conflagrations have spiraled into the border communities of Taraba and Benue states.

“MUTUK finds it extremely difficult to understand the refusal of the internecine conflagrations to abate, despite several interventions by security agents, including the Nigerian Army, the Governors of Benue, Samuel Ortom and his Taraba State counterpart, Dairus Ishaku.

“The intervention of traditional and religious leaders as well as other political leaders have also failed to calm frayed nerves. We consider it an unreasonable response to these pleas by these warring actors.

“We are not only astounded at this reality, but the further shameful confirmation that the over a year of violence, killings, bloodbath, displacements of hundreds of thousands of people, dislocation of social life and the damaging of economic treasures for a people who are basically agrarian farmers are potent existential threats now and in the nearest future.

“Let us clearly state in very unambiguous terms that nowhere has violence and bloodletting, rather than dialogue has resolved any dispute.”

Continuing, MUTUK said, “It is not our intention to blame any group of persons or community for the reprehensible conflict. But we desire to appeal to all warring factions to sheathe their swords and embrace peace for the sake of humanity, posterity and God.

“We are aware that development and prosperity do not thrive where there is no peace. Our brothers and sisters must realize and court the wisdom to live in peace and harmony and consciously work towards it to bring development to our people and communities.

“While MUTUK therefore, appreciates the interventions of leaders at all levels to end the crisis, we prayerfully plead with the Federal Government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Governors of Taraba and Benue states to redouble their efforts by urgently using the powers of Government at their disposal to bring an end to the killings and destruction.

“May we again, remind Government at all levels that the first and uncompromising duty of any responsible government is to protect lives and property of the citizens.

“Therefore, Government and indeed, all concerned leaders must not relent until peace and security is achieved in the troubled Taraba Southern Senatorial district and environs.

“MUTUK believes that whatever must have caused the crisis is not a problem beyond all stakeholders of both groups to resolve amicably and peacefully on the dialogue table.

“Whilst we pray Almighty God to touch the heart of everyone to drop arms, we pray for the repose of beloved ones who have lost their lives in the bloody skirmishes. May their families be consoled.”

Dr. Kohol Shadrach Iornem

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