By Henry Omunu, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Tuesday tasked security agencies, particularly the army to arrest those behind the communal conflict in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba state, just as it called for increased surveillance by the security agencies and restore peace to the affected communities.
This resolution followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Rep. Usman Shiddi (PDP/Taraba) and Rep. Memga Udende (APGA/Taraba) during plenary, with Rep. Shiddi complaining that in recent times, the area has become unstable due to communal clashes between the Tivs and Jukuns.
According to him, the clashes started from a disagreement between two persons from the two ethnic groups, adding that arising from the dispute, many settlements in Kente, Tsokundi, Bantaje, Jibu, Hospital, Avyi, Rafm Kada, Puje, and
Chonku Wards have been affected by the resultant clashes.
Rep. Shiddi stated that critical infrastructure including, schools, health facilities and places of worship, as well as houses have been destroyed, while many people have also been killed in the feud between the two tribal groups.
The lawmaker said that about 10, 000 people have fled their homes, thus rendering them as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), disclosing that security agencies were overwhelmed as they could not contain the killings and destruction of property.
In his contribution, Rep. Muhammed Abdul (APC/Bauchi), expressed fears that the feud does not spread to neighbouring communities, while calling for urgent measures to be taken to forestall the escalation of the crisis.
He said that the number of security personnel deployed to the affected communities should be increased as almost everybody is gripped with fear.
“There are many ways we can tackle this problem, as I have sponsored a bill before for retired security personnel to be involved. The bill passed second reading, but has not reached third reading. Let the 8th Assembly do something about it before commencement of the 9th Assembly.
“The issue is beyond Tivs and Jukuns, let the issue be addressed as people are running away from investing in the country.’’
He also called on the federal government to investigate the crisis. Also contributing to the motion, Rep. Simon Arabo (PDP/Kaduna), said that instead of calling it a communal clash, it should be called communal terrorism and that the perpetrators of the crime should be brought to book.
The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
The House therefore, urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Presidential Committee on the North East to as a matter of urgency, provide relief materials, including food, healthcare services and roofing materials to the victims.