The Conference of Benue Journalists (CBJ) on Sunday expressed satisfaction on President Muhammadu Buhari’s timely intervention to provide lasting solution to the age long communal violent clashes between the Jukun and Tiv people of Taraba.
Mr Anule Emmanuel, National President of the group expressed this delight in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja.
Anule said the group was impressed with President Muhammadu Buhari’s fatherly efforts to resolve the age long rift between the two ethnic groups.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that CBJ is an association of professional media practitioners of Benue origin with membership spread across the country.
NAN further reports that the association has a sole objective of promoting, projecting and defending the interests of the state and its peoples across the country.
“We are impressed with the president’s recent directive to the Governors of Benue and Taraba states, royal fathers, specifically the Tor Tiv and the Aku Uka of Wukari, religious and community leaders in the two states to immediately find solutions to the perennial crisis.
“We, therefore, align ourselves with the president and all well meaning citizens of the country in condemning in strong terms, the unacceptable wanton killings and destruction of property by the two tribes.
“This is a sad and barbaric act of brothers killing brothers.
“Recall that following the president’s directive, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha convened a meeting in Abuja on Sept. 4, between Governors Darius Ishaku of Taraba and Samuel Ortom of Benue and other key stakeholders from the two states.
“This was with the view to discussing long term and lasting solution to the deep-seated antagonistic relationship between the two ethnic groups in Taraba,’’ Anule said.
Anule however, noted that the stakeholder’s meeting, which held at the Yar’Adua Centre, in Abuja identified seven different issues which the Federal Government as an arbitrator, must seek to address.
The seven key issues to address were listed to include: criminality such as banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery as motivating factors sustaining the crisis.
Others included lack of clear boundary demarcation between the two states and that
the crisis remained purely the internal affairs of Taraba and not between Benue and Taraba.
The rest of the issues deserving of immediate attention were the economic and social implication of the violence leading to widespread displacement, losses which included lives and property.
NAN reports that the seventh issue remains the fact the two warring tribes are desirous of peaceful co-existence.
Anule, therefore said it was imperative that the government sustained the intervention by setting up a workable template in line with the agreed seven issues to end the crisis forthwith.
“Non implementation of Agreements reached in the past from the Kashimbila to the last one held in Makurdi have fuelled the crisis,’’ Anule said.
Anule also said: “as we offer condolences to the two communities for losses incurred as a result of the crisis, we enjoin the government of Benue and Taraba, to show commitment in the implementation of all agreements reached in the Abuja stakeholders’ meeting.
“The violence between these two major tribes in the Benue Valley would continue to make progress and development impossible, if left to linger on.
“Although the intervention by president Buhari may have come late, it is still commendable being a positive step towards addressing this crisis.
“We stress that the negative impact of this persistent violence on the social and economic life of the people which is incalculable, is real and heavy. Government must therefore not allow this crisis to fester’’.