…Constitute Judicial Commission of Enquiry Into Shomo/Jole Feud Over Fishing Rights
By Femi Bolaji
Taraba state government has banned all fishing activities in all disputed ponds that has led to loss of lives and properties in Lau local government area of the state.
This was just as it also constituted a judicial commission of enquiry into the disputed ponds which over the years have pitched the Shomo and Jole tribes against each other.
The commission which has four weeks to complete it’s assignment is to be headed by Hon. Justice Silas Haruna of the State High Court.
Recall that earlier this year, bloody conflicts over fishing rights on the disputed ponds have led to loss of lives and properties in the area.
The state governor, Darius Ishaku while inaugurating the members of the commission announced the total ban on fishing activities in the disputed fishing ponds till further notice.
Ishaku represented by his Deputy, Haruna Manu moreover expressed sadness over the prolonged feud.
He said ” it has become expedient for this Government, to as a matter urgency take drastic measures to curtail once and for all, the continuous wanton destruction of property and bloodletting in what has now become; annual Shomo/Jole communal feud.
“It is indeed sad to note that, a number of attempts have been made by previous Administrations as well as this Government, to genuinely seek permanent solutions to the claims and counter claims over the ownership of some ancestral fishing ponds in Lau Local Government Area.
“I am today, on behalf of the Executive Governor, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, inaugurating this Judicial Commission Enquiry, made up of Statesmen of impeccable character, to proffer permanent, workable and acceptable resolution to this age long fratricidal disagreement that seems to defy logical answers.
“We are however, not discouraged by the lack of progress in earlier attempts, that is why this high power panel will be given all the necessary tools and support to perform the important responsibility of resolving this avoidable, yet protracted bloodbath, among the two communities that have lived alongside each other for ages.
“This administration frowns and condemns in very strong terms, the senseless and needless resort to the use of arms, at the slightest provocation by individuals, groups and communities, whereas, there exists ample mechanisms for amicable dispute resolution and settlement of disagreements.
“Henceforth, this Government will not hesitate to wield the big stick, by descending heavily on those who fan the embers of discord under whatever guise.
“There shall not be any sacred cow, as anyone that is found wanting or culpable will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
“Meanwhile, as an interim measure, Government has banned all fishing and other activities in and around the ponds that are in contention until further notice and any individual or group that violates this order will be dealt with accordingly.”
Responding, the Chairman of the commission of enquiry, Justice Silas Haruna, solicited the cooperation of the traditional institution in Lau to adequately conclude it’s task within the time frame.
He also assured of fairness while discharging it’s duties.