I DIDN'T SPONSOR BOJE, NSADOP COMMUNAL BLOODBATH, SAYS EX- GUBER CANDIDATE
Former governorship candidate in Cross River State, Dr. Pius Tabi Tawo says he is unhappy with the rumour making the rounds that he allegedly aided Boje people to launch the October 23 communal bloodbath on Nsadop community. He described his accusers as mischievous.
Dr. Tawo condemned the destruction of lives and property in the area. He said it was painful and shameful that the two sister communities have destroyed the time tested relationship that had existed between them.
Dr. Tawo who was accused of providing logistics to Boje warlords, said he did not play any role in the communal clash, since his late father, Chief Benedict Tah Tawo hailed from Boje, while his mother, late Mrs. Rebecca Owan Tawo was from Nsadop village.
His words: 'I am rather distraught because I am from both communities, paternally from Boje and maternally from Nsadop.'
The 1991 governorship candidate, who contested the 2003 senatorial elections in the central senatorial district of the state, recalled that his late parents had advised him and his siblings to relate with the Nsadop people as their brothers, saying he was shocked by the level of ' heartless destruction that recently took place between the two communities.'
Appealing to the two communities to sheath their sword and embrace peace, he urged them to maintain 'forgiving spirit and appropriate temperament.' According to him, more than 30 people including children and women were wantonly killed or burnt to death in the Nsadop community, with Livestock, economic crops, and over 200 residential houses destroyed.
He regretted that what culminated in the bloodshed was a minor land dispute which would have been settled through dialogue, rather than violence.
Absolving himself of any complicity in the communal clash, he said although his father was from Boje, he has always been close to both communities, insisting that he was even more fluent in speaking the Nsadop version of the Boki dialect. 'I have been close to my Nsadop relatives, and surrendered with them', saying he was convinced that most people in the Boki area until recently, did not know that Boje was his paternal home.
To buttress this, Mr. Tawo said as a leader of both communities, he had convened several meetings between the chiefs and leaders of both villages to broker peace, and even appointed peace facilitators, under the chairmanship of one K.T Kekong-Asu, alawyer to prevent the crisis, regretting that his effort did not yield the desired result.
Worried about the damage inflicted on Nsadop community by the Boje war lords, the business icon said he was ready to contribute to the rebuilding and rehabilitations of the affected Nsadop people, and called on religious organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations and other spirited bodies to assist.
Dr. Tawo said he has already made some contact with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for the re-building of the Nsadop community, and urged the Nsadop people not to carry out any reprisal attack on Boje people, to enable government and NEMA embark on the rebuilding of the affected area.
He commended NEMA for responding promptly to the situation, by providing some relief assistance, which included food items, building materials as well as makeshift residential arrangement for the affected population.
While security agents and the state Government were said to have commenced investigations into the matter, he said there the need for the Boki apex socio-cultural group, Ochebe-Boki, under the chairmanship of Chief M.T. Mbu, the ormer Nigerian High commissioner to the United Kingdom to wade in, and ensure that peace returned to the area.
'That is why I am contending that emphasis should be on achievements and service, not zoning which could deny Nigerians the opportunity of electing credible candidates'.
Earlier in his remarks, Gen Ibrahim Babangida commended Governor Suswam whom he described as a man of taste for his leadership style and urged him to sustain his developmental strides in the state.
He stressed that though he is new in the political landscape he is learning fast and solicited the support of the Governor and everyone in the state.