From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Three (3) main socio-cultural organizations in Benue State, namely; Mdzough U Tiv, the Idoma National Forum and the Omi Ny’Igede has raised alarm over the existential threat faced by Tiv people in Nasarawa State
The group raised the alarm in a letter addressed to the Speaker and members of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, a copy which was made available to Peoples Daily in Makurdi at the weekend.
The letter signed by Chief (Engr.) Edward Ujege, President General, Mdzough U Tiv, Barr. Amali Adoyi Amali, President, Idoma National Forum and Chief Ode Enyi, President General, Omi Ny’Igede noted that Tiv people in Obi, Doma, Awe, Keana and Lafia East Local Government Areas that constitute Nasarawa South Senatorial District are being massacred by suspected herdsmen.
They also, said that there has been large scale destruction of property, food stuff and farm lands with homes taken over by the terrorists, adding that over 10,000 villages have been ransacked with about 100,000 of Tiv people displaced who are now taking refuge in various Internally Displaced Persons camps within and outside the state.
“Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members, findings by the three(3) main Benue State socio-cultural organizations revealed that 122 indigenes of Nasarawa State who are of Tiv extraction have lost their lives to the insurgency attacks between January and April, 2018. While we do not concede that the attacks will continue unabated, we are tempted to conclude based on the foregoing that, if this is not checked, Nasarawa State would have lost 244 souls by the second quarter of this year.
The groups also, averred that the mode and nature of the attacks signify a conspiracy and well planned cleansing of a particular ethnic nationality, maintaining that the withdrawal of Mobile Police units deployed to the troubled areas is a clear indication of lack of commitment and will on the part of government to provide security for lives and property especially for the Tiv people of Nasarawa State.
They further stated that an earlier allegation that militia herdsmen camp in Tungwa settlement in Awe Local Government Area to launch attacks on Tiv settlements has been made manifest by the arrest of leader of the herdsmen militia in Tungwa,adding that onky recently, soldiers arrested tens of militia herdsmen in Keffi who were without cattle.
“We are baffled that in a desperate move to justify the ethnic cleansing of our people in Nasarawa State, some persons are linking the killings in Nasarawa State to the promulgation of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State. It is indeed worrisome that such insinuations are coming up when uncontestable facts of invasion of Tiv communities in Nasarawa occurred in 2001, 2011 and still happening in 2018.
“We resort to this open letter following the lack of attention given to our series of correspondences for audience and action from the Government of Nasarawa State on the urgent need to address the plight of the Tiv people of Nasarawa State”.