Farmers in Taraba State have expressed worry that a string of killings and property destruction between the Tiv and Jukun ethnic groups in the state, which have resulted in the ruin of their farmland by militias, may lead to a shortage of food.
The local farming community has called on the state government to put a lasting end to the prolonged crisis cutting off their main source of livelihood, noting that the state government’s dream of making Taraba state the food basket of the nation is a mirage given the displacement of farmers and other agro-allied industry players.
The clashes began in Ananum village in Takum Local Government Area and have since spread to all five local government areas of the state’s southern geographical zone and into its central zone.
Compelled by the dire situation, farmers and produce traders have fled for safety from affected villages, including; Ananum, Gidan Adamu, Baka Koshi Sanso, Zambana, Gankwe Barki, Dadin Kowa, Kwassa Sarki, Kwassa Sabo and Suntai Donga.
The crisis, which erupted as a result of a land dispute, has led to the massive destruction of farm produce and other properties worth millions of naira, as well as the killing of men, women and children.
Most afflicted farmers are now taking refuge in various camps for internally displaced persons’ in Gassol Local Government Area.
Narrating his ordeal to journalists, Telumu Uja, who revealed he had cultivated several hectares of land before the crisis, said: “Apart from my house that was destroyed and two children that were killed, all the yam seedlings I have in stock were burnt to ashes by these militias who have been going after us.”
Meanwhile, Bala Dan Abu, the senior special assistant to Governor Darius Ishaku on media and publicity said the government is doing everything possible to end the killings and destruction of properties.