The Middle Belt Reformers Movement (MBRM) has written an open letter Theophilus Danjuma, former Minister of Defence, over the killings between the Tivs and Jukun of Benue and Taraba states.
In a letter addressed to Danjuma, the middle belt group expressed silence by Danjuma and other elders on the continuous killing of Tiv people in Taraba and Benue.
The letter jointly signed by Aduku Obi, president, Middle Belt Reformers’ Movement and Alli Ahmed, secretary- general, called on the elder statesman and his group to speak out over the wanton killings in the states .
The letter below:
We are most obliged at the beginning of August, a new month, to send you fraternal greetings, as supposed elder statesman, former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and Defence Minister, Chairman, Nigerian Christian Elders Forum (NCEF), UN- recognized international investor, prominent son of Nigeria’s Middle Belt region and now born-again as we have been made to believe.
Members of the Middle Belt Reformers Movement (MBRM) holds you in very high esteem in this part of the region. There is no doubt that we are proud of you for exemplifying our proud geographical and cultural heritage, the Almighty God Himself has bequeathed to us through our ancestors.
When we look around and see your likes still alive, we feel protected. We feel secured against all forces of destruction obsessed with blighting the cordiality we have enjoyed by wishing to sow the seed of discord to forcefully break the chain of our communality relished for decades.
The Middle Belt region is a microcosm of Nigeria in the sense that outside the Igbos and a few other tribes, every other ethnicity from the nearly 500 ethnic nationalities in our cherished country have aboriginal roots in this region.
Needless to remind you (Danjuma), this region is a complex mix of ethno-religious identities which have co-existed in peace and harmony, a tradition we have inherited from our forefathers.
Whatever peace we savoured before today, if we recount now is because elders and leaders like you, alongside a few others such as late Chief Solomon Lar, Amb. Yahaya Kwande, Wantaregh Paul Unongo and hordes of others have been tutored by our progenitors on these templates of peaceful co- existence.
Therefore, we are always elated and bestrode the land proudly when you particularly galvanise other eminent Nigerians to raise a voice at our behest on issues affecting us.
Not long ago, when the British Parliament’s Committee invited you or the NCEF to address it on the alleged plots of Islamisation of Nigeria and the alleged religious persecution of christians in the predominantly christian Middle Belt, we were extremely excited. Your vocality on this issue was trenchantly touchy.
At least, we knew instantaneously that we have leaders who, like the late Captain Thomas Sankara, former Military Head of State of Burkina Faso, once asserted; can raise a voice for the voiceless in the region.
Sir, but we are feeling disappointed with you at the moment. We feel whatever “war” you launched against alleged killings by herdsmen, Fulanis, Hausas or allied groups, in which you postured as so “concerned” and led leaders of your ilk in remonstration for us have piled into insignificance with your comfortable passivity on the resurgence of the Jukun/ Tiv crisis, which is ongoing.
Middle Belt Reformers Movement is sufficiently convinced and prompted to address you in an open epistle because unlike what your actions have taught us, your obvious silence on the killing of Tiv people in Taraba state.
General Sir, you had every opportunity to halt the crisis at it’s embroynic stage, hence it started in Kente, a Jukun community in Wukari LGA, the traditional headquarters of Jukun Kingdom.
We are not out to distribute blames to any of the warring factions. But just imagine what your initial word of caution to your Jukun kinsmen or any other group in Taraba State would have done in calming down frayed nerves to halt the conflagrations, save lost lives and the quantum of destruction of properties?
But Sir, while you were very vocal in accusing Fulani herdsmen, including the Army, your primary constituency of complicity in the alleged coercive execution of Islamisation agenda on Jukuns in Taraba state, you are curiously mute on what your kinsmen are doing in the vicious extermination of Tiv people and other ethnic groups in the state.
MBRM is pained to approach you in this manner because your silence over the nearly three months killings before your nose does not give a positive testimony about anything you have been clamoring about herdsmen killings in the same state. Only an unwise man would ignore his burning house and rush to quench the fire on his neighbor’s roof.
We are concerned that your silence ennobled your warring kinsmen to satanically puncture the serenity and sacredness of Federal University, Wukari (FUW) a few days back. In the onslaught, three persons were killed and all of them of Tiv ethnicity. Yet, you are still quiet.
Lastly, let us remind you that world- wide, the TY Danjuma Family is on the international Investment portfolio as a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN- PRI). The UN- PRI prides a unique status as a global network of investors attuned to the ideals of promoting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues within it’s investment platforms.
It’s odd for you to belong to this reverred international body, Gen. TY Danjuma, it is time to speak to your conscience on the Jukun/ Tiv crisis and killings. Our people say, a stitch in time, saves nine. If not, we fear your hard earned positive reputation is almost going extinct at the octogenarian age of 80? It’s not good enough! Please speak out now!