NIGERIA: Defend Yourselves, Group Urges Southern Taraba People

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 A socio-cultural group, the Jukun Development Association (JDA), has called on the people of southern Taraba in Taraba State to defend themselves by any means possible against external aggression aimed at exterminating them in the country.

JDA also demanded the immediate evacuation of all Fulani herdsmen from southern Taraba, claiming that the presence of “these violent herdsmen, driven from Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue States, was responsible for the rising cases of violence in their homeland and that the herdsmen must leave for peace to reign in the area.”

The group threatened that if the herdsmen refused to leave their homeland, they would take up arms against them.
In a statement signed by JDA National President, Mr. Benjamin  Danborno, the group said the call to take up arms became necessary due to federal government alleged failure “to check the violence and protect the Jukun people from the clutches of the blood-thirsty Fulani herdsmen, who have been killing, maiming and burning our houses.”

It said the latest attack, carried out last Sunday on innocent Christians by armed Fulani herdsmen in three Jukun villages, led to the death of 115 people.
According to the group, unarmed worshippers came under a volley of gun fire and by the time the smoke ebbed, at least 115 people have died.

The group equally expressed its disappointment on all elected and appointed Jukun people both in Abuja and Jalingo, for “their conspiracy of silence while their people are being killed in their hundreds.”

Danborno said the spontaneous eruption of violence at Wukari, Ibi and Rafinkada, all in southern Taraba, during worship service last Sunday have further confirmed the group’s fear of a grand plan to exterminate the Jukun people.

He therefore called on all Jukun indigenes around the world to rise up in defence of their people in their time of travail.

“At the last count, 51 villages belonging to the Jukun and Tiv people have been completely destroyed and burnt down while farm produce worth several millions of naira destroyed.

“Everywhere you go around southern Taraba villages, Fulani herdsmen have taken over our people’s farmland commandeering Jukun and Tiv’s homes and their live stocks,” the JDA president said.

He noted that the Jukuns were aggrieved and disappointed that both the federal and the state governments have not been able to resolve the matter leading to the avoidable bloodshed. Danborno said it is perplexing that in a country where firearms licences are not freely issued to individuals, “these herdsmen openly carry
firearms with which they harm and kill innocent people, giving the impression that some people are above the law.”

He said documented evidence showed that the violence which began on November 18, 2012; and another on February 23, 2013, April 5, 2013 and April 15, 2014 before the present one on June 15, 2014, are indications that all the peace agreements between the Jukun people and the Fulani herdsmen and the Muslim community of southern Taraba have been thrown to the dustbin as powerful forces are hell bent on throwing the area into political turmoil.

He therefore warned all politicians to steer clear of fueling crisis in southern Taraba especially now that it is the turn of the zone to produce the next governor of the state come 2015.

“We see in all these a grand design by some disgruntled politicians to deliberately heat up the polity of the area and render the zone incapable of being able to produce a formidable candidate for the forthcoming governorship election. Let us assure them that such gimmicks will fail like others before it. “Let us also sound a note of caution that we are all peace loving in southern Taraba and we want justice. Let politicians who are looking towards fomenting trouble for us look elsewhere as we are better engaged in thinking of solutions to the problems besetting our state,” Danborno further stated.

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