The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, and Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, have been called upon to use their good offices to investigate the roles of Major General John Enenche and Major General Adeyemi Yekini on the planned genocide against the Tiv people of Taraba State.
The Tiv Youth Forum in Taraba State made the call on Saturday while addressing a news conference on the protracted crisis between the Jukun and Tiv in Taraba State.
They equally accused the Nigerians Army of unprofessional conduct in the crises.
The spokesperson and President, Taraba State chapter of the Tiv Youth Forum, Katyo Aondona, told newsmen: “We specifically request that these two officers who are current serving as Coordinator of Defence Media Operations and Commander, Operation Whirl Stroke should be replaced immediately with more competent and professional officers.”
The full statement at the news briefing:
Our attention has been drawn to the latest killing of Tiv people in Taraba State, more especially in Wukari, Takum and Donga LGAs by a combine team of Nigerian Army personnel and Jukun militias. It is in the light of the above, coupled with the unprofessional and unethical conduct of some personnel of the Nigerian Army that we wish to address this world press conference this morning.On the 29th June, 2020, upon the arrival of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku in Takum for the local government elections, the first time since his inauguration for a second term in office, there was a bloody and coordinated attacks on Tiv villages of Tse-Juku, Tyomom, Akinde, Tse Kule, Utile and Ananum by a combine team of Nigerian Army personnel and armed Jukun militias.
The said attacks which lasted for over 24 hours led to the destruction of property worth millions of naira and not fewer than twenty-five (25) defenceless Tiv people including women and children were killed in a highly gruesome manner with several others sustaining varying degrees of injuries. It is unfortunate that immediately after these attacks, the military high command through the Coordinate Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. John Enenche held a press conference acknowledging the attacks and applauding the army personnel for killing innocent and helpless civilians who have been tagged as “criminals” and “bandits” by Gov. Darius Dickson Ishaku and one Bako Benjamin, the self-acclaimed President of Jukun Development Association of Nigeria (JDAN) who is also the central coordinator of Jukun militias who are charged with the responsibility of totally evicting the Tiv people out of Taraba State.
We also wish to put on record that, these helpless and defenceless Tiv women and children were killed using heavy and sophisticated weapons which ordinarily shouldn’t be used in civil situations. These are weapons that are meant to protect the citizenry, the personnel of the Nigerian Army who are supposed to protect and defend the citizens have rather availed themselves and are used by Jukun militias as tools and agents of destruction. WHAT AN UNFORTUNATE SCENARIO!
This is not the first time the personnel of Nigerian army are colluding with the Jukun militias to attack our people in Taraba State. Some Tiv communities such as Tor Iorshagher, Gborgbor, Ikyaior, Deke and Tse Dzor all in Wukari LGA of Taraba State were destroyed by personnel of Nigerian Army and Jukun militias in 2019. These attacks were masterminded and coordinated by one Major Salisu of 93 battalion Takum.
Similarly, the burning down of Ananum town in Donga LGA of Taraba State was also coordinated by one Lieutenant Oteke of the same 93 battalion Takum in which more than twenty-five (25) people were killed and property worth millions of naira destroyed during the attack.
Recall that, on the 7th August, 2019, three police officers of the IRT and a civilian who were on an official assignment from the Force Headquarters Abuja were killed by these same Nigerian Army personnel. The army claimed they were informed by residents that the police officers were kidnappers. Gentlemen of the press, this means that, the military high command have lost their intelligence gathering capacity and now resort to depending on residents and militias in gathering information and taking action even without verification. THIS IS STILL UNFORTUNATE. The Nigerian army high command must do something immediately to redeem its image in the eyes of the common man. The situation that led to the death of three IRT team members in Ibi last year is not different from the Tse-Juku case, and we demand a public apology from the army and compensation for the families.
Gentlemen of the press, immediately after the attack on Tse-Juku, the army officer who coordinated the attack called one of the resident of the area threatening him that they (the army) will be coming back to further destroy the entire community if his missing army personnel and weapons were not recovered. To any sane mind, this means the army knew the people they had attacked. If these people were bandits as claimed, the army officer wouldn’t have made that phone call. Expect if the military high command is telling the whole world that their personnel have contacts with bandits and are at liberty to negotiate with bandits when then need arises.
We also wish to put on record that, Gen. John Enenche’s press release was a sham aimed at deceiving Nigerians that the army were performing their duties. If the said community is a criminal hideout as claimed, what about the women and children of less than ten years that were gruesomely killed during the said attack on Tse-Juku. There is a coordinated ethnic cleansing going on in Taraba State and the Nigerian army cannot claim ignorance of this fact.
Bandits does not exist in Taraba State, the and their governor are using these names to tarnished our good image to the general public, if there are bandits in the state then the Jukun are the one, because they are the one who have evicted the Tiv out of their ancestral homes in Taraba State. Since the arrest of Wadume last year in Ibi, more than eighty people in the state have been arrested, no single Tiv man or woman made Wadume list but to the Jukun all kidnapping activities in the state are done by Tiv.
On the part of His Excellency, Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku, it is rather unfortunate to have somebody like him governing our dear Taraba State. He has continually displayed nonchalant attitude towards governance. He was in Takum when the attack on Tse-Juku and other villages happened. He never found it a point of duty to visit those areas that were attacked, he never found it a point of duty to even condemn this dastardly act by his kinsmen and some personnel of the Nigerian army. He rather went on air to carelessly say that, bandits have taken over the Jukun-Tiv crisis. WHAT A CARELESS STATEMENT FROM A MAN WHO IS SUSTAINING HIMSELF WITH TAX PAYERS MONEY.
In enlightened climes, leaders are known for taking proactive and bold steps in addressing crises and emergency situations. For instance, the Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed has recently suspended the Emir of Misau and a Local Government Chairman for their role in the continued farmers-herdsmen crisis in their domain. In Taraba State however, Gov. Darius Dickson Ishaku have rather continued to reinforce the armed Jukun militia structure by revalidating the appointment of Daniel Adigrace, Shiban Tikari and Nashuka Ipeyen as Chairmen of Wukari, Takum and Donga local government areas respectively.
To Gov. Darius Dickson Ishaku, we still want to restate that, since he has chosen to pay the Tiv people of Taraba State evil for good, the blood of our great grand-parents, our fathers, mothers, wives, uncles, sisters and children that have being killed since the beginning of this crisis on 1st April, 2019 to date shall continue to haunt you and give you sleepless nights.
We call on President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, the United Nations, European Union and other International bodies to come to our aid as the Tiv people of Taraba State have being earmarked for total elimination and annihilation especially now that some personnel of the Nigerian army have chosen personal interest by conniving with Jukun militias rather than the national interest of protecting lives and livelihoods.
We equally wish to call on the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin and Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Yusuf Buratai to use their good offices to investigate the roles of Maj. Gen. John Enenche and Major Gen. Adeyemi Yekini on this planned genocide against the Tiv people of Taraba State. We specifically request that these two officers who are current serving as Coordinator of Defence Media Operations and Commander, Operation Whirl Stroke should be replaced immediately with more competent and professional officers.
God bless you all.