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Don’t Drag TY Danjuma Into Tiv/Jukun Crisis

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The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has called on groups and persons to desist forthwith any attempt at dragging the name of the revered retired General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma into the Tiv/Jukun crisis.

In a press statement signed by the national president of the MBF, Dr Bitrus Pogu, the forum noted that it was worried by what “appears to be sponsored publications against the person and character of General TY Danjuma (rtd) regarding the recent communal clash between Jukun and Tiv border communities of Taraba and Benue states.”

“ Ordinarily, the Forum would not have bothered to respond to an issue raised by individuals or groups in the media. However, the basis of this response is hinged on the fact that the Middle Belt Conscience Guard (MBCG), a group that is unknown to the Middle Belt Forum, raised an issue of interest relating to a conflict between two communities in the Middle Belt Region. The group from the onset did not hide its sentiments or the hatched job they were procured to execute by their sponsors when they relentlessly dragged the name of Gen Danjuma into the Jukun/Tiv crisis,” it said.

According to the MBF press statement, “The group insisted that General Danjuma had maintained what they considered “a loud silence” over the recent Tiv/Jukun killings. The group also called on the former Minister of Defence ‘to call his Jukun kinsmen to order’”. It said by implication, the group had made up its mind that the crisis is caused by one ethnic group, while exonerating the other. It said that the group ought to be committed to the interest of Middle Belt and all other groups within the region in the search for genuine peace.

“In our opinion, the group demonstrated its bias when it demanded on the revered General to break his silence over the crisis involving the two ethnic groups. As a bonafide son of the Middle Belt, General Danjuma plays a father figure to all ethnic groups, including the two warring groups, in the clashes and therefore should never be seen to take sides with any of the groups.

Also, the so-called Middle Belt Conscience Guard demanded that Gen. Danjuma should call his Jukun kinsmen to order and stop the killings of Tiv farmers. We in the Middle Belt Forum view this as reducing the nationalistic figure of the General to a mere tribal or ethnic champion. We know quite well just as the sponsors of this mischievous publication know that General Danjuma is one of the most respected patriots and nationalists Nigeria has ever produced and, therefore, can never reduce himself to sponsoring a tribal or ethnic conflict.  Any attempt at dragging the name of General Danjuma into the Jukun/Tiv clash can only be in the figment of the so-called Middle Belt Conscience Guard and their sponsors.

“We wish to advise these contractors of blackmail and falsehood going by the name of Middle Belt Conscience Guard, that if truly they are Middle Belters and feel the pains of the Middle Belt, they should channel their energies against the barbaric massacres across communities in the Middle Belt  by marauding Fulani Herdsmen Militia.

“Equally, the Middle Belt Forum is amazed by the group’s attempt to link Gen Danjuma’s earlier call for self-defence as responsible for the recent Jukun/Tiv clash. There is no greater mischief than this. This group knows so well that the call made by Gen Danjuma for self-defence was not made for the Jukun nationality, but to all Nigerians who have continued to come under the incessant attacks by Fulani Herdsmen Militia when it was obvious there was collusion with bad elements within the security apparatus of the country.”

It noted that in the last few weeks, hundreds of people have been killed in Benue, Kaduna, Taraba, and Nasarawa among other states of the Middle Belt and the South and regretted that none of the culprits behind these killings have been apprehended or brought to justice. The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to show the same commitment he has deployed in tackling banditry in the North-west geo-political zone.

 

 

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