The Unjustly Crucifixion Of The Indigenous Tiv People Of Taraba State [part-1]

By John Akevi


My people are known as Tiv.
Tiv is the son of Awange, Awange is the son of Takuluku, Takuluku is the son of Anyam, Anyam is the son of Azenga, Azenga is the son of. ..... et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Our language is Tiv.
Our religion is Christianity.
Our LGAs; Bali, Donga, Gassol, Ibi, Gashaka, Takum and Wukari.

Our State is Taraba.
Our Country is Nigeria.
Our God is Aondo.
It is on records that the indigenous Tiv people of Taraba State particularly the Shitile, Ukum and Ugondo clans arrived the present area of Taraba State in the 17th century.

Having embraced Christianity and western education with enthusiasm, they quickly rose to hold sway in the federal, state and local government civil service, military, academia, commerce, industry and agriculture.

The indigenous Tiv people of Taraba state constitute one of the three largest ethnic groups in the state. The Mumuyes in the North, the Mambilas in the Central and the Tivs in the South.

The Tiv people are predominantly in seven (7) out of the sixteen (16) local government areas of the state. They include; Bali, Donga, Gassol, Ibi, Gashaka, Takum and Wukari (if justice and equity reigned, there should have been 8, instead of just 7 LGAs). The Tiv constitute about 23% in Sardauna and between 8% – 15% of the population in some other LGAs such as Jalingo, Lau, Sardauna to mention a few.

Although the Tiv people mainly and primarily inhabit the southern Taraba State. They are the backbone of Taraba State economy, producing yams, rice, corn, cassava, beniseed, milletts, ground nuts, pepper, soyabeans and beans in commercial quantity

The Tiv people are gifted, honest, hardworking, ambitious, kind, skillful, fearless, sagacious, dexterous, gregarious, indefatigable and above all they are peace loving and God fearing people.


Combing the hairs of the indigenous Tiv people of Taraba state records has always been a sad reminiscence of war, injustice and political oppression.

Permit me at this point to invoke an ancient African idiom which has its roots in Tiv wisdom: or u nanfa ape ula uhii u unôôn nan gayo, nanafatyo ufan shie u ula ua mem unôôn kpaa ga. (He who does not recognise the point at which the rain began to beat him would not recognise when the rain ceases to fall altogether).

For the indigenous Tiv people of Taraba State, the rainfall started beating us since 1959 when the first pre- independent election was conducted in Nigeria.

In fact, archival and historical records aver that since the Chairman of the defunct Electoral Commission of Nigeria (ECN) R.F. Wraith, who official declared Mr Charles T. Gaza of the United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC) as the winner of the 1959 pre-independent election having satisfied all requirements of the law and polled the highest number of votes against Alh. Ibrahim Sangeri of the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC).

From the time, untill today, the indigenous Tiv people of Taraba state have never drank water and dropped their cup without any incongruity arising within or outside their territory.

The out come of the results, did not go down well with the leadership of the then NPC, the Northern Regional Government, the Jukun people and other smaller groups like Chamba, Ichen etc.

They were deeply hurt by the overwhelming defeat they suffered in the hands of Tivs and the UMBC. While the Tivs and the UMBC members on the other hand were singing, dancing and chanting slogans that insinuating mockery, scorn, derision, and disdain in public places both in town and villages thus increasing political tension in the defunct Wukari division.

The Tiv people therefore,
became receptacle of anger, hatred, envy and frustration oozing out of their fellow compatriots.

The Northern Regional Government and the Jukun people therfore, declared the anti-tiv pogrom, a series of massacres committed against the Tiv people of Wukari division.

This development led to unjustly crucifixion of the Tiv people on the cross, a symbolic Jewish structure used as instrument to execute those condemned to death.

It is on record that, the bloody rain stated beating the Tiv people in 1959, shortly after the after the results of the 1959 pre-independent election was announced.

The NPC and the government officials of the time made sure it was nightmare for the Tiv nation in all spheres of life.

The massacre of the Tiv people in Wukari division which was orchestrated by the Northern Regional Government, perfected by Northern Peoples Party (NPC) and neatly executed by Jukun people continued in 1964 and 1976 respectively.

Within the period under review thousands of Tiv people lost their precious lives and immeasurable property and resources.

Many were maimed for life or lived in displacement. Thousands of children have been orphaned a result of the massacre.

While trying to overlook this vicious bloodbath, the Northern Regional Government also make sure that all taxable Tiv adults males were made to pay tax.

Every Tiv adults had to carry with him his tax receipt wherever he went. If the Tiv was found anywhere without his tax receipt, he was made to pay for a second time.

Those who were unable to pay this tax had their property auctioned at a give-away’ price after they were subjected to bodily torture and degrading treatment by the local police or tax collectors.

For instance, they were tied with hands behind them and were beaten on the head, on the shin bones and on the elbow.

Apart from the physical torture, the Tiv people went through in the hands of the Jukun people, they were also suppressed economically.

The Northern Regional Government officials in collaboration with Jukuns denied the ordinary Tiv women the liquor license which they needed to make a living from the brewing and selling of tashi. (Local beer)

Despite all these atrocities, the clouds lifted over so briefly and the indigenous Tiv people of Taraba State enjoyed a brief sunshine from 1977 to 1988.

The Tiv people became quickly drenched in that awesome rain by way of separate episodes of pogrom: The Wukari election protest of 1989, the Wukari massacre of 1991 to 1992 and the deliberate anti-tiv genocide of 2000 to 2001 in which tens of thousands of Tiv men, women and children were executed by the Jukun militias with the help of Nigerian army. Which in turn resulted in mass starvation.

And the rain has not abated.
The bloody rain has continued to beat Tiv people resulting in organised anti-tiv killings in Peva/Chanchaji in 1998, the killings of Tiv in Kashimbila, the massacres of Tiv in Kpashi and Takum metropolis by the Kuteb tribe in 2006, the systematic killings and burning down of Tiv towns like; New-Gboko, Demavaa, Dooshima, Tse- Kulungu, Tse- Unom and other villages by the Fulani herdsmen in Takum and Donga LGAs in 2011. The massacre of Tiv in Bali and Gassol local government areas in 2012 to 2013 by Fulani herdsmen is still very much green at the heart of every faithful Tiv man.

Once again the clouds lifted so briefly and the Tiv people enjoyed a brief sunshine from 2013 to 2019.

The bloody rain resumed again this time around with tundder and lightning.

On the 1st April, 2019 in Kente village the indigenous Tiv people of Taraba State were drenched with awesome rain, and it quickly spread to all the seven local government areas dominated by the Tiv people.

The ongoing nihilistic slaughter of Tiv people by the Nigerian army, extremist Jukun Janjaweed and Ichen/ Chamba terrorist in Wukari, Donga, Ibi, Gassol, Bali and Takum LGAs is yet to be documented.

However, official report has it that starting in March,1959 and reaching a peak after 30th September, 2020.

Between 151,000 indigenous Tiv people of Taraba state have been estimated to have been killed. A further, over 100,000 fled southern Taraba State into neighboring states of Benue, Nasarawa and Cross River, Kogi, FCT Abuja and the Republic of

Citizen John Akevi, National President Movement for the Survival of the Tiv people of Taraba State (MOSTTS)

Tel: 07037017010,08188188081

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