Group demands redress over Ishaku’s injustice against Tiv in Taraba
Jethro Yerga, Jalingo
A Socio-cultural group known as Ayatutu Cultural and Social Development Initiative (AYACASODI) Worldwide, has appealed to the Executive Governor of Taraba State, Dr. Agbu Kefas to set up an independent and neutral committee to review among other things, the creation and appointment of non-Tiv as District Heads in Tiv-dominated areas by the former Governor of Taraba State, Arc Darius Dickson Ishaku.
Addressing a World Press Confrence in Jalingo, the Spoke Man of the association, Comr. David Nyiagee who is also the National Secretary, noted that the former Governor, Arc Darius Dickson Ishaku had melted so much injustice on the Tiv people of Taraba State in the areas of creation of Chiefdoms, Districts and illegal confiscation of lands from Tiv people for himself and others.
He recalled that in 2018, the immediate past Governor, Darius Ishaku created and upgraded 54 chiefdoms in Taraba State and subsequently added other chiefdoms and districts in almost every village and hamlet in the State, but never deem it fit to create even one chiefdom for the Tiv people in the entire State despite historical records that clearly favour the creation of Tiv Chiefdoms and districts.
Comr Nyiager pointed out that Chanchanji Chiefdom in Takum LGA, which is predominantly Tiv has been given a Chamba name instead of a Tiv name and wondered while almost all the Village Areas in Wukari and Ibi LGAs which were created by the Colonial masters were upgraded to districts and chiefdoms leaving the ones in Tiv-dominated areas which were created alongside with them unrecognized.
He said, “Chanchanji as a village has its small territory with a culture totally different from the Tiv culture that is in the majority. It is also on record that Chanchanji ward which is 98 percent Tiv with over 38,000 registered voters has barely 2% Chamba population. However, we did not protest in public because our people from that area had also submitted a proposal for the creation of a Shitile Chiefdom with headquarters at Tor Peva.
“In the same Takum LGA, the Gara of Chanchanji appointed and tried to impose Chamba District Heads on the people of Mbajir and Mbatyula Clans under the Chanchanji District and Mberev, Kwan-Yongo, Mbadyugh and Shiakpev Clans under Tse-Amadu Districts before the Government’s circular banning the creation and installation of district heads in June this year.
The AYACASODI Worldwide National Secretary noted that over 98 percent of the population of both Chanchanji and Tse-Amadu Districts are predominantly Tiv people; with few Chamba and Hausa and challenged anyone with counter facts to present same to the public.
He recalled that the Tiv communities in the area had submitted proposals for the creation of a Shitile Chiefdom in Takum, a proposal for the upgrade of the already created and gazetted Ugondo District in Donga LGA to a Chiefdom with Headquarters at Tor-Damisa and a similar proposal for the restoration of the Shitile District with Headquarters at Ananum, Donga LGA.
Ironically, as they were waiting patiently for the Governor’s reponse on their requests, Governor Ishaku shockingly, approved the creation and renaming of the same Shitile District to Wetibi District, a Chamba name, Headquarters at Ananum, with 99% Tiv population. Similarly, Samgambe District, another Chamba name, was used in the place of the already created and gazetted Ugondo District which is a Tiv and the legitimate name, with Headquarters at Tor-Damisa with 99% Tiv population.
“This is a clear case of historical distortion and colonialism in the 21st century. It is worthy of note that the Shitile Village Area was created on the 1st of May 1961 and approved on 6th January, 1962, alongside four other village Areas of Ugondo, Gidin Dutse, Gayama, and Suntai. The Barde administration in 1981 also made use of these units in creating Local Government Areas and Districts in the defunct Gongola State.
“It is shocking to note that all the other Village Areas created the same day with the Shitile Village Areas have become Districts except the Shitile village Area, a clear case of exclusion and injustice taken too far.
“It is instructive to note that Tiv’s existence in those communities predates the coming of colonial masters and there are historical and archival documents to back up this fact. Strangely, the Darius Ishaku’s administration had abysmally distorted both the pre-colonial and colonial historic records which are visible in national archives.
“Recall that his administration had changed the name of Dan-Anacha in Gassol LGA to Kwararafa and created a Chiefdom, which is causing tension in the area to date. He took this injustice against the Tiv people of Taraba State to another level, by illegally confiscating lands which rightfully belong to the Tiv people who were displaced due to crisis, for himself and his loyalists. It is believed that he even obtained Certificate of Occupancy for some of those lands, especially in Southern Taraba.
“In all fairness and Godliness, what is the justification for; the appointment of Chamba people as District Heads of Chanchanji and Tse-Amadu over Tiv people?, renaming and appointment of Chamba people as District Heads over Tiv people of Shitile and Ugondo districts?, denying the Tiv people of Wukari and Ibi LGAs the rights of upgrading their Village Areas to Districts as was done to others?, renaming Dan-Anacha, a Tiv-dominated town to Kwararafa and appointing a non-Tiv as head over the Tiv people? and illegally grabbing land from Tiv people who are the rightful owners, and even obtaining C of O for same lands? These are some of the ticking time bombs and seeds of discord that were deliberately planted by former Governor Darius Ishaku for Governor Kefas
“We rejected these before, under the watch of Darius Ishaku in the twilight of his administration and we humbly call on Governor Kefas to look into these injustices, because we trust him to being a man of justice. “. The group narrated.
They appealed to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Taraba State, Dr. Agbu Kefas whom they said had so far, demonstrated courage and all-inclusive leadership, to set up an independent and neutral committee to address those injustice melted against them by the former Governor.
While commending Governor Agbu Kefas for hitting the ground running with mind-blowing reforms, the group said the people of the state now has hope that indeed, a new sheriff has come to change the narrative of the way things were done in the past.
They appreciated the governor for appointing one of their illustrious sons, Hon. Habu James Philip as Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Cooperative and Poverty Alleviation and for creating the Ministry of Social Justice and Reintegration, even as they acknowledged his continuous assurance, through Hon. Jethro Yakubu, the Majority Leader of the Taraba State House of Assembly, that, the Tiv people would soon return to their ancestral homeland safely and peacefully, especially in Southern Taraba.