TIV leaders have withdrawn from the judicial commission of inquiry established by the Taraba state government set up to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of the lingering crisis between their kinsmen and their neighbours the Jukun.
Highly multicultural, Taraba State is made up of numerous ethnic groups including the Jenjo, Jibana, Kuteb Chamba, Yandang, Mumuyes, Mambila, Wurkums, Fulanis, Jukun, Ichen, Tiv, Kaka, Pena, Kambu, Kodei, Wawa, Vute, Hausa and Ndola. Over recent years, the Jukun and Tiv have been involved in several bloody clashes and to resolve the matter the state government set up a panel of inquiry.
Earlier in the month, Governor Darius Ishaku, established the panel as part of efforts to find a lasting solution to the recurring violence. However, Sebastian Hon, the Tiv lead counsel, said his people were in doubt about the sincerity of the panel sitting in Jalingo, the state capital.
Mr Hon said: “We are withdrawing. We don’t have confidence in the commission because right from the instrument setting up, to the terms of reference to the publication of terms of reference, the Tiv people have been profiled.
“The commission of inquiry is supposed to name all the parties and this named only the Tiv and their neighbours, so that is discriminatory, contrary to section 42 of the constitution. It is also a ground, preparatory for violation of fundamental human rights of fair hearing of Tiv people.
Abdul Ibrahim, lead counsel to the Jukun group, expressed satisfaction with the withdrawal of the Tiv. He said: “We are here to ventilate our grievances so that lasting peace would be found between the Tiv and the Jukun.
“Some people have decided to step out, fine. The fact that they are leaving does not mean we don’t have our own grievances and it is not at the whims and caprices of others for us to ventilate them.”
At the inaugural sitting of the panel, Kumai Aklias, its chairman, said the commission will not to take side with any of the ethnic groups. He added that the essence of the commission is to see how we can find lasting peace to the incessant crisis that has bedevilled the state and he was he was not pleased with the decision of the Tiv to cease from participating in the proceedings.