The Taraba Elders Forum (TEF) has condemned the rejection by Fulani of peace moves initiated by the Taraba State Government, saying it smacks of courting for trouble.
The Fulani recently rejected overtures made by Governor Darius Ishaku who set up a fence mending panel. The Fulani leaders had said they won’t participate in the meetings as they have lost faith in the impartiality of the panel. Fulani leaders were said to shun all the meetings held since the panel was set up.
But stakeholders under the aegis of the TEF are saying it is wrong for the Fulani leaders to shun meetings. In a statement, leader of the group, Mallam Jibrin Shawuya, said the refusals by Fulani to participate in peace efforts means that they are not working towards resolving the issues. Mallam Shawuya said, “Even when Alhaji Walid Jibrin, who came from the national Miyetti Allah, came here (Jalingo), he was shocked that the Fulani had shunned the public hearings over the proposed anti open grazing bill.
He asked them why they refused to go for the meetings, they said they were going to court. That surprised Alhaji Walid because, and as he told them, the public hearings was their best bet at defeating the bill. They should have attended to make a strong case against the bill. He told them that the legislators are to make laws, while the judiciary interprets them. The Executive would then implement the laws. Walid pointedly told them they were in errors.
Now they have refused to participate in all peace moves. Three times, the other groups met and we didn’t see the Fulani there. This action of theirs is making us apprehensive. Why are they not coming to these meetings? Are they working with other authorities? You won’t believe them but when we asked them, they said that they are waiting to hear first from Miyetti Allah in Kaduna. This sounds like an insurrection because they are in essence defying the governor’s directives and pledging their allegiance to another authority.”
He said the rejection could also mean that the Fulani are confirming rumors that they are planning a reprisal attack. Shawuya said, ” this could only mean one thing. The rumors we are hearing that the Fulani are planning a massive revenge attack in Taraba may be true. The word revenge doesn’t make sense. First, it is not all over the state that Fulani were attacked. The crisis was in just one local government of the state, Sarduana local government.
And even there it was between the Mambilla and Fulani. In fact, the Mambillas who clashed with the Fulani are also mostly Muslims. It is equally true that Mambilla were killed in the mayhem. So Mambilla lost lives too. Should they also embark on revenge? How can there be peace when one group insist on revenge because Mambilla people would not just stand by and watch their people killed.”