Delegates wants indigene-settler dichotomy addressed


Some delegate at the on-going National Conference taking place in Abuja has made a strong case for the issue of indigene and settlers that has impacted negatively to be brought to an end after the conference.

Speaking during plenary on Wednesday, a delegate from North East and representative of minority nationalities, Dr Dauda Sale said the issue has generated so much bad blood in political circles to an unimaginable level.

According to him, “minorities are not wholly accepted in states in which they are found. People from ethnic minorities cannot even be able to acquire plots of lands in states that are theirs for the purpose of doing certain things like building of churches. As if that is not enough, some of the terrorists' activities are directly targeted at the ethnic minorities in certain places.

Sale wondered while in some instances, the authoritative allocation of values to the society is not done in a fair manner that will directly benefit such ethnic groups.

He advocated for a separate region in the north eastern part of Nigeria for such minority ethnic groups.

Speaking in the same vein, Dr Magdaline Mbazenda Dura, a delegate representing Benue State said President Goodluck Jonathan speech while inaugurating the conference led her to discover three things that are critical to national development.

She wondered why people are targeted to be gradually extinguished from the Nigerian geographical map insisting that “we cannot have unity when a house is divided against itself; we demand that the Nigerian nation should supply answers to this genocidal onslaught. It is in doing that that we shall have an inclusive, peaceful, prosperous and a united nation.

“The key things that I have observed are the issues of inclusiveness, peace and unity. In looking at these things, I have done on the basis of what the president expects of us which is to articulate and synchronised the views of our people in other to proper solutions to our problems. I will therefore comment base on the wishes of my people.

“Speaking of inclusivity and as a Tiv woman; the Tiv people; when I grew up, were known as the fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria, today we are being relegated to the background, because of arbitrary state creation, arbitrary boundary demarcation that has Balkanized us in different states of the country. In these states we have found ourselves including Taraba, Nassarawa, Plateau, Niger, Cross River, among others, our people are taken to be second class citizens. They are denied the rights of citizenship, access to education, employment, even economic sustenance.

She stressed that, “during election periods, in some of these states, one of the strategies that is used is to displace the Tiv people, or by killing them to ensure that they do not contest the elections or do not vote. When these scenarios play out, we ask, why are we different, when other tribes are conveniently found and enjoy equal rights in five or even six states? Why are we limited and tagged as people who should remain in Benue state? We therefore want the issue of indigeneship and settlers resolved. Because we are also seen as settlers even when our ancestral homes are in these places.

According to her, “ talking of peace from the perspective of a Tiv woman from Benue State, Benue State which is the food basket of the nation which sustains the nation by providing the yams, rice etc has been turned into a blood basket. Our men, children, women are slaughtered on daily basis .in fact the people who are killing us do not even respect the rules of war; there is no even war.

“In ancient time, or under international humanitarian laws, you don't kill women, children anad the elderly. Here, our women , children and the aged are being slaughtered. The most dehumanizing part is that are pregnant women are killed and their foetuses are removed and dump on the women. As a matter of fact, our people are being subjected to chemical and biological weapon. And we are asking what have we done”, she maintained.