From GODWIN AGIA, Jalingo
A group of young people in Southern Taraba State have initiated an online petition on Change.org, a human rights organization, urging Governor Darius Ishaku to return the displaced Tiv people to their land before leaving office in May this year.
The petition, initiated by Jacob Tor-Musa and others, has attracted 125 signatures barely four days after it was launched.
According to the petition sighted by our correspondent online at https://www.change.org/p/urge-gov-darius-ishaku-to-return-displaced-people-back-to-their-ancestral-land-in-taraba, the petitioners alleged that the Taraba State Government, has already surveyed the lands belonging to the displaced Tiv communities who were forced out as a result of Jukun/Tiv crisis.
Part of the petition reads, “To further erase evidence of the existence of Tiv people in the areas where they were forcefully evicted during the crisis especially in Wukari Local Government Area, economic trees in Tiv communities have been cut down and some of their villages converted to farmlands even as graves are exhumed and destroyed.
“Since April 1, 2019, attack on the Tiv people of Taraba State forced tens of thousands of Tiv people out of their ancestral lands in Wukari, Ibi, Donga, Gassol, Bali and Takum Local Government Areas. Scores of people were feared killed, hundreds of thousands of Tiv people were injured and property worth billions of Naira destroyed.
“Efforts by the Federal Government to intervene in the crisis were blocked by Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku during a meeting in Abuja on Sept. 5, 2019, where he said the crisis was an internal affairs of Taraba State and should be left for him to handle as the State Chief Executive.
“But since then, there is no effort by the Ishaku administration to resettle the displaced persons in the area. With few months left in the life span of the administration, we urged Ishaku to write his name in the history book by granting unconditional return access to all the displaced Tiv people in Taraba State and their ancestral land handed over to them.
“Failure to do this as he promised during the 2021 Tiv Day Celebration in Bali on December 23, will leave us with no option than to approach relevant agencies of government and the international community to investigate and prosecute him and the Taraba State Government for violation of the rights of the Tiv People of Taraba State.
Our correspondent gathered that there have been unabated attacks on the Tiv IDPs returnees in recent time with the last being the attack on returnees in Ikyernum, Tor Ior-lumun, Tse- Atsenga and other communities, which left scores of people injured.