The Periscope reporter
The Tiv tribe in Taraba state, northeast Nigeria, has registered a vote of no confidence by announcing their withdrawal from participating in the panel of inquiry into the crisis between the Tiv and Jukun, constituted by the state government.
The lead counsel to the Tiv interests in the state, Barr. Sabastine Hon (SAN) who disclosed this in Jalingo on Monday, said they lacked confidence in the commission as it’s composition, title and everything is aimed at profiling the Tiv people in the state.
Hon said that the commission has dismissed their preliminary objection seeking to stop the its witch hunt assignment pending determination of suite filed at the federal high court Abuja.
“We’re withdrawing. We don’t have confidence in the commission of inquiry because right from the instrument setting up the Commission, to the terms of reference, to the publication of terms of reference, the Tiv people have been profiled.
“The commission of inquiry is supposed to name all the parties but it named only the Tiv and their neighbours.
“So, that is discriminatory, contrary to section 42 of the constitution. It is also a ground, preparatory for violation of fundamental human rights of fair hearing of Tiv people.
“We raised this and the fact that the terms of reference also delved into criminality, we raised objections on all these and they overruled us.
“Section 2 sub 2 of commission of inquiry law of Taraba state says you must name all the parties. But only theTiv people are named. What happens to the other parties?
“Again, we came to the court today, they didn’t even list the people they named. They listed other memoranda for consideration.
“So, from day one, we are afraid and genuinely so. We told them pointedly that we don’t have confidence in the composition of the panel.
“We also told them that there is a pending matter seeking to enforce the fundamental rights of the Tiv people at Abuja high court. They are party to that matter and still went ahead and overruled us in spite of the pendency of that matter.
“So we don’t have confidence in the commission and we will not be appearing again. We are not coming here again,” Hon said.
Ruling on the preliminary objection raised earlier by lead counsel to the Tiv interests, the chairman of the commission Justice Kumai Bayang Ka’ah said the members of the commission were not rubber stamp to name anyone.
“This is just a fact finding commission aimed at finding lasting peace in the state. I give my word that the members of the commission are not here as mere rubber stamp to name anyone.
“We’ll continue to try as much as possible to search for the facts so that we can make meaningful recommendations.
“You’re free to withdraw but we will go ahead and state the memoranda for hearing. The objection is hereby dismissed and overruled.
“Commission is hereby adjourned to resume sitting on Wednesday to continue with business.
“Let me disabuse the people’s minds especially, the Tiv that they are being singled out. The title might be a misnornal but you don’t dismiss a book just by looking at its cover,” Ka’ah said.
Meanwhile, Abdul Ibrahim, lead counsel to the Jukun traditional council and Wukari local government, in his reaction to the withdrawal of the Tiv from the commission, said he was satisfied with the development.
“We are here to ventilate our grievances so that lasting peace would be found between the Tiv and the Jukun. Some people have decided to step out. Fine.
“The fact that they are leaving does not mean we don’t have our own grievances and it is not at the whims and caprices of others for us to ventilate them,” Ibrahim said.