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The Jukun tribe, under the umbrella of Jukun Development Association (JDA), Tuesday called on the United Nations and the federal government to save their people from extinction as they are under constant attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The group said if nothing was done in the shortest possible time to stop the ongoing genocide in the southern Taraba State, “we the people will have no other option than to resort to any means to defend ourselves."
The members of the group who addressed a world press conference in Lagos through their President, Mr. Benjamine Bako, also called on the state and federal governments to suspend the curfew imposed in the area, describing it as worse than the war itself.
According to him, “The essence of our gathering here today is to draw the attention of the international community and the Nigerian government to the plight of the Jukun people who have been under constant and defenseless bombardment a for the past few days, right now another Jukun village is under attack.
“So as we cry on to the federal government and the international community to pay attention to what is happening in Jukunland. We also call on the federal government to compliment the effort of the state government by making sure that adequate security is deployed in place to guide and protect the people, failure to do so which may degenerate to a situation where Jukun people will look for other means to defend themselves and when that happens, you know the consequence.”
Bako added: “We (Jukuns) may end up like the Hutu in Rwanda or Congo where there is complete breakdown of law and order. As we speak now, about nine Jukun villages have been flattened by people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.”
He listed the villages under attack to include Yanini, Nainawa, Nakambo, among others, adding that “the essence of the unprovoked attack is not yet known to the people but we want the world to know that the Jukun people, as warriors, do not shy away from fighting which is our heritage but in the modern Nigerian society, we want to exhaust all avenues of peaceful settlement before we run out of patience with the government and start taking our destinies on our own hands.”
The group stated that what started like the Fulani-Tiv crisis in Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau States, “all of a sudden became a Fulani and Jukun fight,” adding that instead of the Fulanis displaced in those states to enjoy a safe haven in Taraba State peacefully they started slaughtering the indigenous people, and this is what we want answers to.
“By and large, the 78-hour curfew imposed on the area is killing more people than the crisis; therefore, it should be lifted with immediate effect as we call on the international community, including Amnesty International to look into this issue before it gets out of hand. The curfew is a point blank shut down of the people’s lives without food or water both day and night,” the Jukuns said.
The association therefore called on Miyetti Allah Fulani Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, the umbrella body of the Fulanis, to publicly make a statement either associating or disassociating themselves from those perpetuating the dastardly acts in the name of Fulani herdsmen, “if not, they should come out and tell the world their grievances against the Jukun people.”