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Tiv refugees in Taraba reach out to COAS

Those of the Tiv ethnic community who have been forcibly removed from their homes in Taraba State’s Wukari local government area have appealed to Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, the chief of army staff, to provide them a hand in getting back to their ancestral lands.

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While briefing journalists in Jalingo on Saturday, the internally displaced persons (IDPs) also expressed concern about what they perceived as the occupation of their ancestral lands by security forces. They made the appeal through the Taraba Tiv Youth Progressive Mission (TTYPM).

The internally displaced people, whose leader is Kaduna Fanen, have spoken out about the terrible situation they find themselves in, claiming that security forces who are supposed to remain neutral have instead chosen to seize control of the territory they fled from during the crisis.

They bemoaned the fact that the security forces had “abandoned their ethical standard of fairness” by taking up residence in their demolished homes and making it impossible for them to return home while farming their ancestral grounds.

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“For over four years, the security officers who are supposed to be calming the situation have claimed control of the displaced homes and have been farming freely on top of the graves of our ancestral fathers. This has prevented us from returning home, and we are told it’s because of an order from on high.”

They begged the COAS to help the IDPs return to their homes and farms because they did not understand why an order from above would do such a thing.

No one should lead us to believe that the security guards stationed in our displaced villages—from Wukari to Jootar, Rafinkada, Ibi, and Tsukundi—are conspiring with our oppressors to force us out of our ancestral lands.

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If they are permanently stationed where we are, our understanding is that they are responsible for ensuring our safe return.

What a terrible situation! We are quite concerned.

The fact that our trusted Executive Governor of Taraba State, His Excellency Dr. Agbu Kefas, has remained silent in the face of the murders of our brethren trying to return home is even more disturbing.

We beg the governor to exercise the spiritual discernment befitting a man of God when he considers our elderly parents, our younger siblings, and our children.

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We beg him to put an end to the senseless killings in his home and to remember that we are human beings with a purpose, just like everyone else. Then he can come up with practical solutions to help our displaced people find new homes.

And they pleaded with the well-to-do, both inside and outside the state, to provide a hand in dealing with the current crisis.

Upon being contacted, the Taraba State Police Command denied being aware of the accusation and clarified that they had not been informed of any of its officers engaging in farming in any of the areas impacted by the issue.

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