By Levinus Nwabughiogu
House of Representatives yesterday charged the nation’s security agencies to arrest the perpetrators of the killings in Taraba State which have prompted a renewed war between the Tiv and Jukun ethnic groups.
The House also called for a thorough investigation to unravel the forces behind the crisis with a view to providing a lasting solution to it.
The resolution followed a motion on the need for the intervention in the crisis in Wukari Local government area of Taraba State sponsored by Hon. Danjuma Shiddi (PDP, Taraba) and Emmanuel Udende (APGA, Benue) on Tuesday plenary.
While further directing the National Emergency Management Agency(NEMA) and the Presidential Committee on North East to, as a matter of urgency, provide relief materials including food, healthcare services and roofing materials to the victims of the crisis, the lawmakers particularly called on the Nigerian Army to step up surveillance in the affected communities until peace was restored just as they also urged the Benue and Taraba State governments to close ranks for the sake of peace.
Moving the motion earlier, Shiddi noted that, “In the recent time, Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State has become unstable because of communal clashes between the Tiv and the Jukuns.
“The clashes started simply from a disagreement between two persons from the two ethnic groups. Also aware that several settlements in the following wards have been affected: Kente ward; Tsokundi Ward; Bantaje ward; Jibu ward; Hospital ward; Avyi ward; Rafm kada ward; Puje ward; and Chonku ward.
“In addition to the destruction of houses and infrastructure including schools, health facilities and even places of warships, several people have been killed in the internecine feud between the two Tribal Groups.
“As at the last count, not less than 10,000 people have fled their homes and their foodstuff completely destroyed thus rendering them as Internally Displaced Persons.
“In some places, the security agencies were overwhelmed, as such, they could not contain the killings and destruction of property. The affected persons are poor people who live in thatched-roof homes and are now at the mercy of nature as the rainfall has set in”.
Other members such as Mohammed Abdul (APC, Bauchi),
Simon Arabo (PDP, Kaduna), Istifabus Gyang (PDP, Plateau) decried the shedding of innocent blood, saying that the warring communities must sheath their sword and give peace a chance.