Benue Jukun frowns at change of names to Tiv ones by National Population Commission for Enumeration Area Demarcation

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A marked building for Enumeration Area Demarcation in Abinsi

By Nengi David

The National Association of Jukun Wanu (NAJUWA), a socio-cultural association of Jukun Wanu in Nigeria and Diaspora, has frowned at some anomalies in the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) exercise by the National Population Commission (NPC) in Jukun settlements in Benue State.
The association noted that many clearly Jukun settlements with Jukun names are bearing Tiv names in the demarcation exercise.
The association made its stands in a complaint to the Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission,
Benue State, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives, Chairman, National Population Commission, Commissioner of Police, Benue State,
Director, DSS Benue State, Secretary to the Government, Benue State and chairmen of Makurdi, Guma and Logo local government areas.
The compliant is titled “Conspiracy, manipulation and high-handedness orchestrated in concert with Tiv entrenched interest to annihilate and obliterate the Jukun people in Benue State: A case for the reversal of Area Enumeration centres in Jukun areas of Benue State.”

This was contained in a statement to Apex News Exclusive by Nuhu Adagba
Secretary General of NAJUWA.

NAJUWA explained that officials of the National Population Commission might have been compromised through the Benue State Government to believe that these Jukun settlements are Tiv areas.
According to the association, the exercise might have been hijacked by some entrenched interests and misguided persons whose age-long but grand design is to suppress the obvious truth.
NAJUWA stressed that the exercise is allowed to be hijacked by persons whose age-long but grand design is to suppress the obvious facts of Jukun’s aboriginal ownership of the present-day Benue State and appropriate the territory allotted to the Riverine Jukun in 1934 by the Colonial Government – from Makurdi region up to the two borders of Nassarawa and Taraba states on the Southern and Northern banks of River Benue.

Part of Abinsi market

It pointed out that this fact was affirmed in 1995 and 2003 by both the state and Federal Government’s Commission of inquiries respectively when the area was a subject of wild disputation.
For the Area Demarcation of Abinsi, the headquarters of Jukun tribe in Benue State, the association stated that it has been demarcated into eleven Enumeration Areas with names and codes as 151 Abinsi- 015100, 152 Kabawa I- 015200, 153 Kabawa 2- 015200, 154 Riverside 15400, 155 Masalachi- 015500, 156 Old Garage- 015600, 157 Nongov- 015700, 158 Ipusu- 015800, 159 Massev- 015900, 1560 Ihyarev 016000 and 1560 Kparev- 016100.
The association prayed that the names of Chongo, Ipusu, Hiarev, Nongov and Masev be removed as names of demarcated Areas in Abinsi forthwith and be replaced with Azudo, Ayiyo-ga, Ati-wa-kwo, Avyuvyo, and Azhoko to reflect proper Jukun names and territory while ‘Riverside’ should be replaced with Azhe- Anumgbe.
Also, Asede and Anuwha should be properly reflected for the Jukun in Bajimba areas and since the present exercise only covers Guma and Logo local government areas, NAJUWA request that the names of Ashuku, Anyishi and Asugu are to be used for Jukun town in those areas.
NAJUWA pointed out that the animosity against Jukun in Abinsi and other 22 Jukun town and villages in Benue State tell the nature of what the ethnic group face as minority tribe and expose the highest level of Tiv intolerance of others coupled with ceaseless desire to dominate and appropriate the material resources of neighboring tribes.
It also said Ipusu is not just alien name, but has nothing to do with Abinsi, let alone Jukun people. Ipusu and Chongo are two Tiv ancestors who died on top Congolese mountain centuries before the arrival of Tiv people in the 19th Century whom the Jukun accommodated into its ancestral land under its occupation from the 13th Century and the much- vaunted Abinsi Kingship began in the 15th century in contrast to Tor Tiv stool which was first established for the Tiv in 1947 by Colonial fiat.
The complaint stated that Ihyarev and Nongov clans are two earliest Tiv clans that are received in the mid-19th Century by the Jukuns whilst they became Jukun vassals prior to colonial rule in 1900; but between 1926 and 1934 were apportioned separate territory adjacent to that of the Jukun by same Colonialist.
It noted that after independence, insatiability of the two clans resulted to ceaseless hostilities against the Jukun and between 1986 and 1995 sought to subdue Abinsi at all cost and with physical attacks pointing out today it is the same old game that is being played out using NPC as a cover.
The association said Kparev is a Tiv clan situate along Cross River State borders though some few migrants settled adjacent Ihyarev area on the borderline between Jukunlands of Abinsi, Agbodo, Anmor up to Makurdi metropolis.
For Massev, the fifth of Tiv clan in the equation, NAJUWA said it was remarkably the same clan that invaded and plundered the Royal Niger Company edifice in Abinsi in 1906 and adopted over 150 Hausa tribesmen and took them away to their domain far removed from Ihyarev and Nongov lands and have them martyred; a situation which led to the British military intervention at that time. It said today, Massev too are drafted as name of census unit in Abinsi land even though they have their separate land allotted by colonial authority.
NAJUWA urged the National Population Commission to expunge and correct the anomaly and allow peace to reign supreme in the area and remain focused, fair and just to all.
It noted that furthermore, during the commencement of the actual census exercise, the Jukun areas in Makurdi local government area should be properly named as Agyogo (Wurukun), Clerk Ward (New Garage), Akatungu (Northbank), Fubor, Agyaha and Agyetashi.
NAJUWA explained that it is established incontrovertibly that there are catalogue of stratagem employed by the Tiv to uproot the Jukun at all cost in this area spanning from the 1960s, and by 1976 when Benue State was created with the Tiv assuming a vantage position by virtue of her population, and the Jukun tribe as minority.
It stated that Jukun were arbitrarily balkanized into Makurdi, Guma and Logo government areas and left without cohesive political value, which became a veiled excuse to deny it the right to participate in a government dominated by the Tiv.
The association said it is no way averse to majority government but population is not synonymous to obliteration of less populous people or discrimination on that basis with majority of “newcomers” more valuable and superior to right of ownership.
The complaint pointed out that it is a fact of life that being minority does not preclude one the right to self- existence and also rights to benefit from what one is fully entitled to, after all the Tiv tribe are minority too at the national level in same essence, yet has not been subjected to such repressive act.
It observed that the state Government in 2016 enacted the Chieftaincy Law in the wake of this struggle as a culmination of that malevolent campaign which listed out all tribes in Benue state and Chiefdoms, but removed the Jukun as indigenous tribe in the state while its traditional stool which is the oldest in the entire Tiv Division was abolished; the validity of that action is being questioned.

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