Jukun people decry external influence in Taraba crises
THE Jukun people of Taraba State have sworn to resist any internal or external force that wants to instigate crises capable of driving them out of their ancestral land, adding that they will do that with the last drop of their blood.
This position was taken at the weekend at a press conference at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre, Jos by Jukun Progressive Forum on the “Incessant Crises in Jukunland.”
Their spokesman, Dr. Anthony Bature, recalled that before the recent unfortunate crises that engulfed Wukari, which later spread to other parts of the Taraba State Local Government Councils, non – indigenes have made it (Taraba) their home who have been living peacefully and engaging in their legitimate businesses without let or hindrances.
Bature, who is also a Reverend, said that the recent ethno-religious crises which saw brothers and sisters carrying arms against one another have affected the peaceful atmosphere in the town, adding that the destruction of lives and property is unimaginable and difficult to comprehend particularly when considering the fact that the people have lived peacefully since time immemorial who have inter-married across tribes and religious divides.
It is their belief that the protracted conflicts between Christians and Muslims in Wukari have an external dimension.
“Having failed to break this unity through different subtle measures, these powerful external forces are resorting to playing one group against the other by introducing religion. For instance, there is this phantom claim that the Muslims are in the majority in the town. In addition to this vexatious and totally false claim, the Hausa/Fulani Muslims in Wukari suddenly woke up one morning and made a wild claim of being founders of Wukari, which they publicised through paid advertisements in some national dailies,” he stated.
The spokesman added that in addition to the gross distortion of historical facts, the Muslims went step further to prevent the Jukun, owners of Wukari, from performing their traditional rites such as funeral ceremony of traditional title holders. “This is seen as a deliberate act of provocation to desecrate and destroy the time-honoured Jukun tradition and culture.”
According to him, “The Jukun are now bearing the brunt because the Middle Belt has excellent vegetation, fertile land and abundant water which are conducive for agricultural production and cattle rearing. Therefore, the Fulanis, in particular are targeting Wukari as part of their grand design to dispossess the Jukun of the centre of their civilization and other areas belonging to the kingdom.”
Bature, who was flanked by elders from Taraba, particularly Mr. Jibril Anfani, maintained that cattle rustling has also assumed international dimension, adding that the activities of some lawless bush Fulani herdsmen are the source of violent crises being experienced in several states in Nigeria today.
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