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Tiv youths, Jukun leaders disagree over alleged settler status

Jukun community

Tiv Youth Organisation (TYO) has urged leaders of the Jukun ethnic group to desist from comments capable of inflaming the volatile atmosphere in Benue and Taraba states.

President-general of TYO, Timothy Hembaor, gave the charge in a statement he issued in Makurdi yesterday.

Hembaor was reacting to comments credited to a Jukun legislator on the status of Tiv people in Taraba.

A member of the Taraba State House of Assembly representing Wukari 2, Pius Sabo, had reportedly rejected the planned inclusion of Tivs in the Wukari Traditional Council on the ground that they were settlers in Taraba.

But TYO leaders flayed Sabo, describing his comment as a display of gross ignorance on the Tiv status in the state.

Hembaor informed that the 1947 Census placed the Tivs in Taraba as undisputable majority race with a population of over 40,400 representing 34 per cent of Wukari population, which he noted is made up of 19 other nationalities with Jukun representing 17 per cent.

He added that the records had the Tiv of Taraba as the single largest ethnic group in the state, spreading in the seven councils of Takum, Donga, Wukari, Ibi, Gassol, Beli and Gashaka.

According to TYO, it remains unfair that other ethnic groups in Taraba have not considered the Tivs worthy of any strategic position in the state, even as the Tivs pioneered its creation through one of her sons, Hon. Hitler Gbaaondo (of blessed memory) who moved the motion at the House of Representatives in 1983.

The continued marginalisation of the indigenous Tiv people in Taraba should be immediately addressed, so that, collectively, the state can move forward, the group added.

It urged the Jukun in Taraba to, as matter of necessity, change their attitude towards the Tivs, be willing to embrace peace and see the Tivs as their brothers, and equally avail them their fair share of appointments in the state.

The statement also advised the Jukun to view their position in Taraba as a privilege and not a right.

On the inclusion of Tivs in the Wukari Traditional Council, TYO said the election of David Mtwem of Tiv extraction as the executive chairman of Wukari Council in 1983 was an evidence that speaks volumes about the legitimacy of the Tiv people to hold even higher positions in the council.

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