Residents Relocate, Schools Close Over Fear Of Election Violence In Taraba
EVEN though relevant security operatives in Taraba state have continued to ensure a tight security in the state, notwithstanding, the activities of insurgents in some states of the region as well as some parts of the state. The situation has continued give negative signals to eligible voters in the state.
While some people especially the non-indigenes have began to move out of the state en masse to their home states, hoping to be back after the general elections, others who care to stay behind are doubtful of going out to cast their votes on election day.
Some voters who due to the incessant attack by the herdsmen in the hinterland relocated to Jalingo, the state capital, are yet to access their permanent voters’ card.
Even though normalcy had since returned to some troubled areas in the state, large percentage of the people who are now residing in Jalingo have vowed not to risk their lives by going back for their PVCs talk less of voting.
More to that, the continued failure of the relevant authorities to ensure the immediate return of the displaced persons majority of whom are Tiv is no doubt becoming a security challenge to the forthcoming polls.
Not comfortable with this situation, the leadership of the Tiv Cultural and Social Association believed there is urgent need to address the plight of the displaced persons.
Speaking, the President General of the association, James D. Nungwa, felt sad that over 500,000 displaced Tiv people are presently taking refuge in the neighbouring states of Benue, Nassarawa and Plateau.
Sad that no positive moves have been made to facilitate their return, majority of the Tiv whom The Guardian observed to be one of the largest ethnic group in the state would end up being disenfranchised during the polls.
Stressing that the attackers who are Fulani herdsmen have succeeded in taking over the farmlands as well as the houses of the Tiv people in the state, the need for the relevant author to as a matter of urgency chase “ these herdsmen away” he believed would go along way to ensure a hitch free polls devoid of violence.
Nungwa who could not fathomed why relevant measures have not been put in place to motivate the people to participate in the next elections as majority of them have not been issued with the permanent voters card, government, he pleaded should desist from dragging its feet in issues like this.”
At some of the IDPs’ camps, the people see no reason why they should participate in the polls when the government of the day has continue to turn deaf ears to their plights.
Some of them said their dream of participating in the polls is gloomy because they do not know where their PVCs were, following the sudden crisis that displaced them.
Some of them who spoke to The Guardian said they would have been love to participate in electing credible candidates that would give the Tiv people sense of belonging in the state, but the lukewarm attitudes of INEC and the relevant authority are discouraging them.
Rather than compelling the people to trek several kilometers to council headquarters to register, INEC, as suggested by the people ought to have carry out the exercise in the various polling units as that would save costs and further prevent the people from further risk of being attack.
Just like some aggrieved youths have threatened to disrupt the visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to the state, the fear of possible attacks during the polls by herdsmen is instilling fear among the voters in the state.
A security source who confided in The Guardian agreed that the security reports coming to them showed that attackers would revisit the southern parts of the state to make sure that voters are kept away from voting.”
Relevant machineries, he said have been put in place to ensure hitch free polls in the state and the country at large, adding that such threats are mere ranting of an ant.
The continued massive moment of persons from the trouble states of Yobe, Borno, Adamawa to Taraba state as observed is another area that is heralding a possible disruption of the polls.
The population of Jalingo, the state capital, as noticed has tripled from what it used to be before now. IDPs’ camps have not only been established for persons fleeing the aforementioned states due to insurgents’ activities, but some persons from the affected states are permanently relocating to Taraba.
For fear of outbreak of violence during the polls, some private schools in the state have embarked on compulsory holiday, hoping to reopen only after the elections.
One of the proprietors of the schools told The Guardian that there are pressures on them by parents and guardians that want to travel out of this state before the election. “We have no any other options than to succumbed to the pressure because they want to go with their children.”