The Nation’s Newspaper Report, A Calculated Attempt To Incite Ethnic Crisis In Nasaraea State Uncalled For-Kadarko And Giza Communities

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Rabiu Omaku

The people of Kadarko And Giza Communities of Keana Local Government of Nasarawa State has faulted the report of the Nation Newspaper claiming that Tiv people that live in Kadarko and Giza Chiefdoms are faced with imminent annihilation as he accused Chiefs of sponsoring Fulani mercenaries masquerading as herders-men to attack, main and kill Tiv’s at the sly provocation.

 

The host Community expressed concerned over the report which they referred to as the reporters personal interest to project the interest of his tribes (Tiv) above the ethos of his profession.

 

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The position of Alago Development Association,Kadarko branch and Gwandara Development Education and Cultural Association,Giza branch signed by Adole Usman,The statement faulted the mindset of the report who said Tiv people are kill at will and their ancestral farmland taking over by land grabbers.

 

The groups described the report as an innuendo that the genesis of the most recent Tiv Farmets/Fulani herders attacks in Kadarko and Giza is Tiv people being denied the right to farmland by the paramount rulers of Kadarko and Giza Chiefdoms.

 

“We have chosen to react because our peace loving peopla have over the years been killed and maimed while towns were physically attacked and our farmlands destroyed for no justifiable reasons by Tiv people,This in addition to the continued harassment and lodgment of frivolous criminal allegations and dragging of our revered traditional rulers particularly their Royal Highns ess,the Sangarin Giza and Osokadoko of Kadarko to the Nasarawa State Police Command and AIG Zone 4 in Makurdi ,These traditional rulers have also been subjected to unending litigations,act which the Tiv people would not subject even heads of their clans

 

Kadarko and Giza Communities in a response said a professional Journalist of a reputable media like the Nation Newspaper is expected to first of all purge himself of self interest and display high standard of investigative Journalism or at least declare his ethnic interest before attempting to distort history ,events and facts and not criminalizing an otherwise peace loving people who accommodate Tiv’s and Fulani over the years.

 

“Also in relying on William Audu ,himself a Tiv man from Kadarko as the only source who took him round,The reporter presented half-truths without sampling the opinions of the Gwandara,Alago and other tribes from Keana Local Government Area.

The reliance solely on Audu a Tiv who took him round the purported areas destroyed and gave him dates of the alleged destructions without taking people from the host Communities of Giza and Kadarko as well as the Fulani has revealed the underlining pursuit of his ethnic agenda.

 

The photograph of Osokadoko and the one paragraph statement purported to be from the Chief that all lands are under his control as an attempt to show balance in the story are mere gimmicks employed by the reporter to convince the editorial board of the Nation Newspaper to publish his agenda.

Kadarko and Giza are two independent Chiefdoms and there are allegations against both but while His Royal Highness the Osokadoko got a passing mention,such could not be extended to our monarch the Sangarin Giza and his people.

 

The reporter failed to pass simple ethical standard test of fairness and Journalistic research and therefore guilty of abuse of ethics, Again we view the allegation by the reporter that our Chiefs are sponsoring hedersmento seize their farmlands and kill the Tiv’s not only highly inflammatory but defamatory for which we demand unreserved apologies.

 

While the writer and his cohorts failed to present evidence or instances of how, where and when our Chiefs have invited or used the Fulani against the Tiv’s  on the contrary the Tiv’s people have attacked our towns, their host and have serially denied our people access to farmlands by their expansionist practices both the reporter and William Audu know very well that the Fulani in Jeans Local Government Area live in the bush rearing their cattle as the Tiv’s who are farmers and thus constantly engaging themselves in skirmishes and conflicts in the bush where they both live, Amazingly,Kadarko,Giza and the entire Keana Local Government Area have become hosts to both Fulani and Tiv refugees over the years, There is no evidence that our traditional rulers are engaged in land grabbing because of our vast fertile land, The practice by both herders and farmers is that they came from various areas to settle, graze and farm in our localities often without the permission or consent of our traditional rulers, Williams Audu knows this very well, It is incredibly troubling for the same Audu to push blame on our monarch and further threatened to claim thus, ‘ “In all these challenges that we have faced, we have never recourse to self-help , even though we could …. One thing is certain , we cannot watch our land being taken over illegally by our Chiefs who are supposed to be protecting us”.

 

We view this instance as a call by the reporter and his informant to Tiv miscreants and militia to attack our traditional rulers and Communities in a clandestine manner , We therefore note this and the State that should any untoward attack happen on our Chiefs and the Communities, It should be obvious to the law enforcement agencies and media who the masterminds are.

 

Let us be clear, The basis of land ownership is historical and traditional, Historically , the area inhibited by the Tiv people is South of River Venue while the Northern area belongs to the Alago Chiefdoms of Doma and Keana that are in today’s Nasarawa State.

 

However,between 1910 and 1924 ,The colonial administration in it’s wisdom decided to excise the parcels of land where the Tiv lived prior to that time in Nasarawa province  (Northern bank of River Benue)  precisely in Doma and Keana and merged them with their kith and kin across the river, These have remained the legal instruments that define the boundary of both States, clearly the colonial administration had sincec1924 removed all the areas occupied by the Tiv people and put them under the administrative control of Venue rendering all the remaining lands to be vested under the control of the Chiefs of Doma and Keana respectively in present day Nasarawa State, In this context , therefore , The areas in contention are effectively under the control of the traditional rulers of Nasarawa State, but in spite of this, The Tiv people are still pouring into these areas and refusing to subject themselves to the host Communities. Therefore , their claim of ancestral land ownership is not true but a deliberate attempt to distort history.

 

History had it that the expansionist agenda of the Tiv is manifest and seen as the reason for their intolerance as peaceful co-existence has no place in their relationship with other ethno-cultural groups that they share common boundary with, Consequently we call on the public to note that this belligerent behaviors of Tiv people in Nasarawa State is being replicated in host communities of Taraba and Cross-River States.

 

In conclusion, we join His Royal Highness, The Osokadoko in refuting all the allegations made by the reporter and Williams Audu on behalf of Tiv people , These allegations are all mischievous, misrepresentative, deceitful, outright lies and Jaundice.

 

These commentators of fiction should count us out of their self-inflicting problems with the Fulani in the bush, our people are still a willing host to both and our disposition should not be mistaken for a weskness, Enough is enough.

 

We call on the Government of Nasarawa State to set up a high powered administrative panel of inquiry to look into the allegations raised by Tiv write up and our reaction to it with a view to coming up with a holistic and comprehensive solution to the lingering mischief.

 

Finally and most importantly, we call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to re-establish the authentic boundary between Benue and Nasarawa State based on the exiting boundary instruments of 1916,1919 and 1925 in order to ensure lasting peace and harmony in the areas.

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