Jukun-Tiv Relations Since 1850; A Case Study Of Inter-Group Relations In Wukari Local Government Area Of Taraba State

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Jukun-Tiv Relations Since 1850; A Case Study Of Inter-Group Relations In Wukari Local Government Area Of Taraba State


Abstract


Jukun-Tiv relation has increasingly gone through disturbing phases over the years, especially as from the inception of colonial rule in the area. Every turning point appears to alter the level of co-operation between the two communities in the present day Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State. This unfolding trend gives the impression that the two communities never enjoyed peaceful intercourse. This assumption has been examined and proved to be erroneous.

A very thorough appraisal of the available sources about the Jukun-Tiv contact and interaction indicates that the phenomenon has not always been dominated by conflicts in the pre-colonial period. There were strong social, economic and cultural ties that bond the two societies together. Much of the current inter-communal conflicts that have characterised the relationship between the two societies developed during the colonial period. The study has demonstrated that inspite of the hostilities, the two communities have seen the need, and are resolved ,to co-exist on a peaceful and amicable basis. This is the main focus of the study.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The foregoing study revealed very cardinal horizons in Tiv-Jukun contact and interactions, particularly in what is today Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State. While the study did not leave any doubt in our minds that the Tiv and the Jukun do not constitute the only ethnic groups in the area, it clearly revealed the dominance of the two in the area.

Much details have also been laid bare in the study to show that Tiv-Jukun contact and interaction in our focal area predated the take off point of our study period. In other words, the two groups had been in contact with one another far behind 1850. And for the period before our period of study, the historical predicament had remained the dearth of written historical records. Even the oral accounts which remained the dominant historical sources capitalized significantly on the dearth of written records to make some generalizations on very crucial historical issues that needed to be put in their proper and specific time perspectives.

For the period between 1850, up to the inception of colonial rule in the area in 1900, the study revealed very important features in Tiv-Jukun relationship. The most dominant feature, however, remained the very cordial inter course between the two groups. Even ever before 1850, the two groups were already on a very significant match towards attaining an appreciable symbiotic socio-cultural and political fusion.

Other areas of cultural admixture, as the study revealed, were brought about by the impressive trade network that characterized another aspect of TivJukun relationship. Through trade, both communities copied technology from one another, particularly in textile works. The similarities in some of their textile products were practical illustrations of the symbiotic intercourse for the purpose of advancement. Other flash points were the use of common or identical tribal or ethnic facial marks.

By and large, before the interruption of colonial rule, the Tiv and the Jukun had established a very significant fusion which informed a colonial official to remark that the two groups are complementary to one another. It was also on this basis that a Jukun elder had to only inter lace his fingers in response to a colonial official who demanded to know the Jukun relationship with the Tiv.

Unfortunately, the study revealed that the colonial machinery truncated the peace process sustained between the Tiv and the Jukun. As damaging as this phenomenon was to relationship, it did not take the British by surprise, since their colonial system of indirect rule was at its best, in all their colonial territories, in dividing and setting communities against others. This explained why even though this approach enabled the colonial administration to achieve objectives, it left very damaging legacies on inter-group relations, as was evident, also between the Tiv and the Jukun.


5.2 Conclusion

The major flash points in our study revealed that since the colonial era, meaningful peace has continued to elude the interactive process between the Tiv and the Jukun. Much evidence has also been provided in our study to show that government non-challant or partisan attitude has always aggravated the down trend in Tiv-Jukun relationship.
Other areas of cultural admixture, as the study revealed, were brought about by the impressive trade network that characterized another aspect of TivJukun relationship. Through trade, both communities copied technology from one another, particularly in textile works. The similarities in some of their textile products were practical illustrations of the symbiotic intercourse for the purpose of advancement. Other flash points were the use of common or identical tribal or ethnic facial marks.

It is also observed that the refusal by the Local authority to honour the implementation of recommendations for peace has remained one of the major causes of recurrent violence in the area. It is evident, also, that the nonchalant posture of the upper strata of government to always thrash the insubordinative attitude of the lower strata to enforce compliance only hardens such an erring strata, and the group(s) it represents, in their efforts to marginalize others at the expense of peaceful co-existence.

The study also revealed the mistaken central role government always ascribe to the Benue Tiv in efforts to resolving Tiv-Jukun matters in Wukari and Taraba state at large. It is true that the Benue Tiv speak the same language with the Wukari and Taraba Tiv, and also have common origin and culture, but the latter Tiv group is the closest to the Jukun, and as such knows how best to seek and obtain peace with the Jukun. It is observed that some of the uncompromising utterances and issues always raised by the Benue Tiv in times of conflict do not always represent the views of the generality of the Tiv community in Wukari and Taraba State at large.

On inter-group level, our study revealed that the adoption of the culture of violence in relating to one another has always affected peaceful relationship. Weber argues that “Violence intensifies violence in a short run…” But for most societies across the world, the “short run” concept does not represent the literal interpretation of the term. For instance, when will the short run concept be applied to the Israeli-Palestinian clash, the rivalries in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan, etc. We are constrained to even argue that even when violence later provides solution to itself, the atmosphere of calm is always an uneasy one.


5.3 Recommendations

On the basis of this study, the following recommendations have been proffered as panacea for the perennial Tiv-Jukun rivalry in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State.

  1. The adoption of the spirit of group identity devoid of hatred, distrust and suspicion for one another. It could be recalled that over the years, members of the two groups developed group consciousness founded on distrust, hatred and suspicion for one another. This trend was accompanied by derogatory name calling attitude which conveyed the message of hatred, disregard or disrespect for one another. It is hoped that the abuse of this trend will contribute immensely in rebuilding the spirit of peaceful inter-group interaction.
  2. De-emphasis on the use of violence in achieving group objectives. Our study laid bare the fact that members of the two groups gradually drifted from peaceful approach to the use of violence and other non-integrative approaches in achieving group objectives. This, and among other factors, accounted for the prevalence of violence in the area. Members of the two communities are therefore advised to bury all difference to re-orient themselves against the use of violence in the way and manner they seek and pursue group objectives. Individuals and organizations in both communities should inculcate into their members the need to seek peaceful channels to address any grievances that might arise so that they do not degenerate into unhealthy rancour or violence.
  3. Members of both communities should learn about one another’s culture and traditions. This aspect should be vigorously patronized by cultural associations and the traditional administration. Both groups should embark on aggressive, but sincere, efforts to learn about each other’s cultures and traditions, as well as identify some of the cultural practices that are obstacles to community co-existence for the purpose of evolving mechanisms to deal with such practices in order to achieve mutual respect and trust.
  4. Both the Traditional and Local Council administration should embrace the Tiv as bona fide indigenes. This should be demonstrated in appointment into the Local Government administration. Both organs should ensure that groups and individuals who would want to ferment trouble between the Tiv and the Jukun are exposed and treated according to the law of inter-group harmony. Above all, they should not be partisan even in times of inter group rivalry.
  5. Reconstitution and enlargement of Wukari Traditional Council administration to accommodate the Tiv and other groups. This will ensure proper representation, especially on deliberations and decisions on issues that particularly affect such groups. This recommendation does not, however, affect the patrimony of the Aku Uka, and the central role of the Jukun in the Council.
  6. Implementation of all recommendations proffered in times of conflicts. It has been observed that many recommendations have always been ignored by the Local Government after any crisis in the area. Such deliberate negligence created further tension and violence, since while one group felt covered, the other felt unprotected by the organ that supposed to protect both. To check the issue of non-compliance, the superior strata of government should always compel the lower strata, on whose shoulders the recommendations fall, to ensure compliance.
  7. Return of all displaced Tiv people. It could be recalled that during the 1991/92 crisis, all Tiv communities between Wukari and Gidan Idi were denied the right to return to their areas. The same was the fate of the Tiv community at Tsokundi. Similarly, the 2001/2002 violence also left many Tiv people displaced. In some areas like Toho Abanyo, Rafin Soja, Abagye, Tse Ama, etc, some communities who returned were forced to lose greater part of their land. All these communities have some misgivings about the Jukun. To avert this trend, therefore, all the affected communities should be allowed to return. And for those whose lands were seized, even on return, such lands should be given back to them. It is only this approach which will rebuild the spirit of brotherhood and good neighborhood.
  8. Respect for constituted authorities. Both communities should respect constituted authorities in the way and manner they operate. Just as it is very unlawful to either evade tax or pay to whom inappropriate, as the Jukun always argue in the case of the Tiv, so it is unlawful or unconstitutional to prosecute violence on any community within the borders of Nigeria for the purpose of achieving group objectives, as the Tiv always argue in the case of the Jukun. The law of this nation does not also allow any Local Government Council to subject any community to violence. It is, therefore, hoped that if the Tiv, the Jukun and, even, the Local Government will respect constituted law and authority their area will become violent free.
  9. Adoption of peaceful and harmonious political culture. Politics must not be seen as a weapon to be used to exhibit division and bitterness for one another. Rather, politics should, once again, be considered as a melting point for the two communities as was demonstrated in the 1950s and 1970s. Both groups should mutually interact politically for the attainment of common and group objectives. The era of political alliances aimed at antagonizing one another should be seriously discouraged.
  10. Respect for the constitutional right of all to settle in any place of their choice within Nigeria. It is unconstitutional for any group to refuse another the right to settle and go about normal activities in any part of the country as long as the group is law abiding. It is even more counter productive for the attainment of peaceful co-existence for communities that existed in a place for a long time to be eventually stigmatized as non bona fide groups just for one socio-political reason or the other. People should respect the constitutional right of others to stay in any part of this country for socio-economic and political activities. In this way, the idea of “subconstitutions” as it is seemingly evident in many parts of the country should be strongly challenged. Infact, this trend does not only tantamount to the disrespect of the Federal constitution, but has also been one of the major causes of inter-communal clashes in the country. We hope the Tiv and the Jukun will allow the spirit of God which calls for love for one another to reshape their orientation towards one another.

5.4 Suggestions for Further Research

This study is no doubt a premier attempt to critically examine Tiv-Jukun relationship in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State. Being a premierapproach, and the circumstances in which the study was conducted, quite a number of information or records were either lacking or concealed from the researcher.

Invariably, as much as the researcher tried his possible best to approach the subject much sufficiently, he still believes that much more can be done by others to fill in the missing parts of the jig saw. Similarly, a more indepth study into the colonial and post-colonial relations of jukun-tiv communities and the role of politics in the growing aggression between the Tiv and the Jukun will give us an indepth understanding about the genesis of the perennial rivalry between the two groups.


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