The Tiv Youth Organisation (TYO) has urged leaders of the Jukun community to refrain from making comments capable of inflaming the already fragile security situation in Benue and Taraba states.
President General of TYO, Mr Timothy Hembaor, made the appeal in a statement on Sunday in Makurdi.
The organisation was reacting to comments credited to a Jukun lawmaker Pius Sabo, representing Wukari II State Constituency, bordering on the indigeneship status of the Tiv people in Taraba.
Sabo was at the weekend quoted to have rejected the planned inclusion of the Tiv people in the Wukari Traditional Council on the grounds that they were settlers and not indigenes of the state.
Hembaor described Sabo’s comments as a clear display of gross ignorance of the indigeneship of Tiv people in Taraba.
“To set the records straight, the 1947 census had placed the Tivs in Taraba as undisputable majority tribe with a total population of over 4, 400 representing 34 per cent of the total population of Wukari.
“Wukari is made up of 19 other nationalities, with the Jukun representing 17 per cent of the total population.
“The Tiv people in Taraba are the single largest ethnic tribe in the state and are spread in seven local government areas, including Takum, Donga, Wukari, Ibi, Gassol, Beli and Gashaka.
“It is unfair that other ethnic groups in Taraba have not considered the Tiv people worthy of holding any strategic position in the state, even as they pioneered its creation through one of their illustrious sons, Hon. Hitler Gbaaondo.
“Gbaaondo, of blessed memory, moved the motion for the creation of Taraba State at the Federal House of Representatives, Lagos, in 1983.
“Also, Hon. David Mtwem, of Tiv extraction, was elected the Executive Chairman of Wukari Local Government Area (LGA) in 1983.
”This is documentary evidence that speaks volumes about the legitimacy of the Tiv people to hold even higher positions than just being members of the Wukari Traditional Council.
“The continuous marginalisation of the indigenous Tiv people in Taraba should be immediately addressed so that collectively, the state can move forward,” Hembaor said.
He further urged the Jukun people , to as a matter of necessity, change their attitude towards the Tivs and be willing to embrace peace.
“They should also see the Tiv people as their brothers and equally avail them their fair share of appointments in the state,” he said.