The Jole Community Development Association in Lau Local Government Area of Taraba state has urged the state government to set up Judicial Commission of Inquiry to determine the actual ownership of the fish ponds in dispute that has continued to cost the lives of citizens over the years.
Our Correspondent reports that the call was coming on the heels of the recent clashes between Shomo and Jole communities in the local government area which claimed the lives of at least 25 persons and destroyed property worth millions of naira.
Spokesman of the Jole Manga Community, Mr. Luka Audu who made the call at a press conference in Jalingo on Tuesday said that this was one of the best approaches to finding a lasting solution to the feuds that has lingered for more than four decades.
He noted that previous committees set up by various governments in the past failed to yield any meaningful result, thereby allowing the hostilities to continue to fester.
Audu said it was unfortunate that the Shomo people had continued to contest the ownership of the Marmi lake which has been an “incontestable property of the Jole people all through recorded history and the successive governments in the state have not shown enough political will to put the records straight and put an end to the crisis.
He described the recent attack on the Shomo communities as unfortunate but denied the alleged involvement of the Jole people in the attacks.
While they alleged that the Shomo people have made enemies and fought with most of their neighbors in the past, Audu explained that the attack could have come from any or a combination of many aggrieved sources.
“It has become necessary for us as a people to address the public and set the records straight.
“While we regret the recent unfortunate attack on the Shomo people, we find it appalling that everyone is accusing the Jole people of carrying out the attack, forgetting that we have been displaced for several years now with all our villages completely destroyed by Militia suspected to be from the Shomo ethnic group.
Is it in this sorry state that we orchestrated such an attack?
“We call on the state government to set up a judicial panel of inquiry to ascertain the true ownership of the Marmi lake that has been the cause of these hostilities and whoever is found to be the true owners should be handed over their rights.
“That is the only way to resolve this crisis. Justice has to be served objectively.
“We have a lot of court judgements in our favour, restraining the Shomo people from the lake but they have total disregard for the courts and continue to attack us and invade our lake and farmlands”.
It could be recall that a recent attack on Shomo-Kila and Shomo-Sarki in early April 2020 led to the death of several persons and massive destruction to property, attracting widespread condemnation including from the Presidency.