The Middle Belt Reformers Movement (MBRM) has written elder statesman and former Chief of Army Staff, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd) over the incessant killings by some persons believed to be Jukun militias in Taraba and Benue States.
The middle belt group said there is an obvious agenda by the Jukun ethnic group to wipe others from the face of the earth.
The warning came barely three days after three Benue students and a lecturer of the Federal University, Wukari were killed by some suspected Jukun militias, thus leading to the closure of the institution by the management.
In a letter addressed to Gen. Danjuma (rtd) and obtained by our reporter on Friday, the middle belt group frowned at what it tagged as ‘conspiratoral silence’ by Danjuma and other elders on the continuous killing of Tiv people in Taraba and Benue by Jukun militias.
The lettere jointly signed by Prince Aduku Obi, President, Middle Belt Reformers’ Movement and Alli Ahmed, Secretary- General, called on the elder statesman and his group to speak out over the wanton killings in the states .
The letter reads below.
“TY Danjuma: It is Time To Check Your Conscience: An Open Letter”
1. We are most obliged at the beginning of August, a new month, to send you fraternal greetings, as supposed elder statesman, former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and Defence Minister, Chairman, Nigerian Christian Elders Forum (NCEF), UN- recognized international investor, prominent son of Nigeria’s Middle Belt region and now born-again as we have been made to believe.
2. Members of the Middle Belt Reformers Movement (MBRM) holds you in very high esteem in this part of the region. There is no doubt that we are proud of you for exemplifying our proud geographical and cultural heritage, the Almighty God Himself has bequeathed to us through our ancestors.
3. When we look around and see your likes still alive, we feel protected. We feel secured against all forces of destruction obsessed with blighting the cordiality we have enjoyed by wishing to sow the seed of discord to forcefully break the chain of our communality relished for decades.
4. The Middle Belt region is a microcosm of Nigeria in the sense that outside the Igbos and a few other tribes, every other ethnicity from the nearly 500 ethnic nationalities in our cherished country have aboriginal roots in this region.
5. Needless to remind you, this region is a complex mix of ethno-religious identities which have co- existed in peace and harmony, a tradition we have inherited from our forefathers.
6. Whatever peace we savoured before today, if we recount now is because elders and leaders like you, alongside a few others such as late Chief Solomon Lar, Amb. Yahaya Kwande, Wantaregh Paul Unongo and hordes of others have been tutuledged by our progenitors on these templates of peaceful co- existence.
7. Therefore, we are always elated and bestrode the land proudly when you particularly galvanise other eminent Nigerians to raise a voice at our behest on issues affecting us.
8.Not long ago, when the British Parliament’s Committee invited you or the NCEF to address it on the alleged plots of Islamisation of Nigeria and the alleged religious persecution of christians in the predominantly christian Middle Belt, we were extremely excited. Your vocality on this issue was trenchantly touchy.
9. At least, we knew instantaneously that we have leaders who, like the late Captain Thomas Sankara, former Military Head of State of Burkina Faso, once asserted; can raise a voice for the voiceless in the region.
10. Sir, but we are feeling disappointed with you at the moment. We feel whatever “war” you launched against alleged killings by herdsmen, Fulanis, Hausas or allied groups, in which you postured as so “concerned” and led leaders of your ilk in remonstrations for us have piled into insignificance with your comfortable passivity on the resurgence of the Jukun/ Tiv crisis, which is ongoing.
11. Middle Belt Reformers Movement is sufficiently convinced and prompted to address you in an open epistle because unlike what your actions have taught us, your obvious and conspiratoral silence on the killing of Tiv people in Taraba state by your Jukun kinsmen to near genocidal levels indicates your acquisance.
12. General Sir, you had every opportunity to halt the crisis at it’s embroynic stage, hence it started in Kente, a Jukun community in Wukari LGA, the traditional headquarters of Jukun Kingdom.
13. We are not out to distribute blames to any of the warring factions. But just imagine what your initial word of caution to your Jukun kinsmen or any other group in Taraba state would have done in calming down frayed nerves to halt the conflagrations, save lost lives and the quantum of destruction of properties?
14. But Sir, while you were very vocal in accusing Fulani herdsmen, including the Army, your primary constituency of complicity in the alleged coercive execution of Islamisation agenda on Jukuns in Taraba state, you are curiously and suspiciously mute on what your kinsmen are doing in the vicious extermination of Tiv people and other ethnic groups in the state.
15. MBRM is pained to approach you in this manner because your silence over the nearly three months killings before your nose does not give a positive testimony about anything you have been clamoring about herdsmen killings in the same state. Only an unwise man would ignore his burning house and rush to quench the fire on his neighbor’s roof.
16. We are concerned that your silence ennobled your warring kinsmen to satanically puncture the serenity and sacredness of Federal University, Wukari (FUW) a few days back. In the onslaught, three persons were killed and all of them of Tiv ethnicity. Yet, you are still quiet.
17. This singular action has portrayed your Jukun kinsmen as the untamed, wild and berserk aggressors. It is because you have reclined from cautioning them against the evil they are visiting on their fraternity in Taraba state, in the Middle Belt region.
18. May the souls of the victims, particularly, Mr. Msughter Vihior, a FUW’s 100 Level student of Microbiology; Mr. Mark Tsav, a security officer and the third victim gruesomely murdered at the varsity campus, when Jukun militias invaded the institution. Same condolences go to families of our brothers and sisters who have lost their lives in the prolonged internecine squabble, and may their souls Rest in Perfect Peace, amen!
19.Sir, so, when would you make a statement on the ongoing crisis between the Tivs and the Jukuns in Taraba, your home state? Please, do not compel us into believing it is only the alleged Fulani herdsmen killings are deserving of your attention or sermonisation around the world.
20. Both your national and international image is now at stake by your deliberate silence over your kinsmen’s extermination of another ethnic group in your state. We all know how you were extremely vocal when Fulanis were reportedly involved.
21. We are worried about your unpretentious silence on these killings, especially when your voice ought to count more and should sound loudest now that your very own brothers are involved. Or do we believe the killings in Taraba state have not been brought to your notice yet?
22. Yet, Barr. Benjamin Bako, President, Jukun Development Association (JUDA) spews everything in promotion of the crisis and killings. Apparently, he looks unto to you or rather emboldened by your silence to urge your kinsmen into more killings. But have you ever cautioned him?
23. We expect you to voice out in the next few days, if indeed, you are not the unseen or veiled force behind the Jukun massacres of other tribes for territorial expansion and rebranding of Taraba, as an exclusive Jukun state. The three persons killed at FUW by Jukun youths/ militias are all Christians.
24. And be reminded that when you eventually address Nigerians and the world to explain the massacres, let’s know whether it is JUKUNISATION of other tribes in Taraba state or what exactly is the agenda of your kinsmen.
25. Or do we believe it is your plot in collusion with your kinsmen to territorially “Islamize” the Tiv people ancestrally domiciled in Taraba State?
26. Lastly, let us remind you that world- wide, the TY Danjuma Family is on the international Investment portfolio as a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN- PRI). The UN- PRI prides a unique status as a global network of investors attuned to the ideals of promoting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues within it’s investment platforms. It’s odd for you to belong to this reverred international body, yet “supervise” your kinsmen kill other ethnic groups within your home state, and cause social dislocation, pains and sorrows, while you enjoy the convenience of silence.
27. Gen. TY Danjuma, it is time to speak to your conscience on the Jukun/ Tiv crisis and killings. Our people say, a stitch in time, saves nine. If not, we fear your hard earned positive reputation is almost going extinct at the octogenarian age of 80? It’s not good enough! Please speak out now!
28. We appreciate your patience for reading this open letter to you. And thank you, very much, Sir.