Struggle over Borders and Boundaries: The Reason Why the Takum Crisis Continues to Defy Solution

Type Journal Article - Swedish Missiological Themes
Title Struggle over Borders and Boundaries: The Reason Why the Takum Crisis Continues to Defy Solution
Volume 94
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
Page numbers 281-304
Takum is important to both Chamba/Jukun and Kuteb because it serves
both as the headquarters of Takum Chiefdom and Takum Local Government
(LG) for the Taraba State in Nigeria. It has a rather high population density,
thus giving it a cosmopolitan outlook.2
However, there has been a long
controversy over the ethnic ownership of the town due to its status and
because each of its two parties believe that it is strategically positioned.
Thus, what started as a mere ethnic skirmish, between the Chamba/Jukun
and the Kuteb ethnic group on October 22, 1997, though not without
precedence, very soon degenerated into full-fledged warfare which left
several people dead, more maimed for life and property destroyed estimated
at several millions of naira. The social dislocations and psychological
depression that resulted from this particular ethnic violence and attempts
at ethnic cleansing are also colossal.
The October 1997 ethnic massacre in Takum can be said to be a cumulative
result of past ethnic intolerance and conflicts dating back to the 1830s
following the process of Chamba migrations and settlement in the area.
This crisis therefore can be said to have been motivated by several factors,
namely, economic, political, social and religious, among others. In this
paper, we shall look briefly at each of these factors in order to see clearly
how they combined to bring about the above violent inter-ethnic outburst,
which turned out to be the worst in the history of the area. In fact, the
conflict that started in October 1997 continued unabated up to the opening
years of the millenniumIn fact, not too long ago, Jukun, Ichen, Chamba and Kuteb used to regard
themselves as belonging to the greater Jukun nation – the famous ancient
Kwararafa kingdom, which today is ruled by the Aku Uka.3
However, some
of these groups today prefer to be regarded as separate ethnic nationalities as
has been the vogue among minorities, particularly of the Middle-Belt and
South-south regions of Nigeria. It is in this light that ”the Kuteb, for instance,
will feel offended these days with any insinuation that they are Jukun”

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