Nigeria’s federal government and Tiv and Jukun leaders in Taraba and Benue States have described alternatives to the ongoing conflicts between the two ethnic groups.
Five ways out of the crisis were outlined in a meeting attended by the Federation’s Secretary of Government, Boss Mustapha, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and his Taraba counterpart, Darius Ishaku.
The meeting, held on Wednesday, also included two-state deputy governors, assembly houses speakers, other political leaders, and the two traditional leaders.
In recent times, the Tiv and Jukun groups in Taraba State’s Wukari region have had violent encounters, resulting in many lives being lost.
Land control is at the center of renewed hostilities.
A statement published at the end of the session ascribed the conflict to the absence of clear border demarcation among the warring groups.
The jointly signed communiqué by Messrs Mustapha, Ortom, and Ishaku recognized “the issue of criminality such as banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery” as some of the causes of the communal clashes.
The meeting observed that the dispute was internal to the State of Taraba and that the populations concerned were now eager to end the conflicts “brought economic activities to a halt and has led to loss of valuable lives, wanton destruction oof property and displacement of communities from their homes”.
The meeting called for an instant cessation of hostilities in order to pave the way for attempts to build peace and called on the two governors to create “strong pronouncements” condemning the crisis and to visit the groups affected as a measure to build trust.
The meeting also recommended “massive deployment of security forces for intensive patrol and surveillance of the affected communities to checkmate the excesses of criminals and enforce law and order on the border corridors of Taraba and Benue States”.
Another suggestion was that “restive youth” be empowered as a manner to reduce unemployment and make them beneficial to society members.
The groups also encouraged the federal government to guarantee that the boundaries of the two states are marked and to promote the application of all the resolutions jointly reached by the two state governments to resolve the crisis permanently.