By Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
A House of Representatives member representing Wukari/Ibi federal constituency, Taraba State, Hon. Usman Shiddi, has said that former Chief of Army Staff and former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (Rtd) and Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku of Taraba State, should not be dragged into the Tiv-Jukun crisis.
Shiddi, who made the assertion at the weekend when reacting to a recent protest against Danjuma and Ishaku at the Unity Fountain, Abuja by a group, the Tiv Coalition said the protesters were “unschooled, and uncultured” for demeaning the personalities of the duo by claiming they were fuelling the ethnic violence between the Tiv and Jukun people.
He urged that rather, the protesters should direct their angst toward federal authorities so that they intensify their search for the apprehension of the hundreds of criminals terrorising the lives of citizens in Taraba and Benue States.
Noting that Danjuma had paid his dues as far as keeping Nigeria one, Shiddi alleged that nothing concrete had been done to bring one Gana otherwise known as Terwase Agwaza, who he said had been terrorising people to book.
According to him, “For any organisation to come out to attack the personality of the General (Danjuma); is to talk about the least inadequate in this matter. I urge the Tiv Coalition to compare notes with their elders in the state about the relations between the two states.
“To the governor of Taraba State, who unfortunately inherited these crises since his assumption of office in 2015, he has repeatedly said that he needs peace from the state so that he can deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of the state. But sadly, there is lack of peace that is being fuelled by the Tiv youths who have made the state and border local councils ungovernable. The governor of Taraba State has initiated peaceful discussions with Benue State stakeholders on several occasions with limited successes.”
He claimed that “The borders between the two states are infiltrated with bandits and kidnappers among who is the well-known Gana otherwise known as Terwase Agwaza, instead of finding ways and means of resolving the constant armed robbery, bandits and kidnapping in these areas, the Tiv Coalition not only asked for the closure of the University in Wukari, but have dangerously solicited for the relocation of the institution to a neutral environment. This call is not only mischievous, wicked and unguarded but unreasonable.”
Arguing that the Tiv students had been the major beneficiaries of the University in Wukari, the lawmaker stated that “Gana, who has been terrorising, kidnapping and wantonly killing Taraba and Benue citizens along the road from Gboko to Katsina-Ala and from Katsina-Ala to Wukari and Zaki-Biam has rendered that axis a terrorist zone,” without being apprehended.
The lawmaker lamented that “No one of Jukun extraction travels by road to these areas for fear of terrorists, kidnappers, and Tiv militia in these areas,” stressing that “It is a known fact that this same Gana, who is declared wanted, has recruited several disciples who are presently engaged in the destabilisation of Taraba State.”