Taraba governor counters Kuteb over alleged planned violence in Ukwe Takum 

The Kuteb Yatso of Nigeria (KYN), an umbrella body of Kuteb tribe, Sunday, accused Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba state of alleged plans to cause violence over a proposal to make the Ukwe Takum stool, an exclusive preserve of the Kuteb, rotational among Kuteb, Chamba and Kpanzo ethnic groups.

President of the association, Mr. Emmanuel Ukwen, at a press conference in Jalingo,  said the Ukwe Takum stool which is over 100 years, has been an exclusive preserve for the Kuteb ruling houses of Likam and Akenten and that the selection process has been handled by only Kuteb kingmakers based purely on Kuteb native laws and customs.

According to him, the stool which was upgraded to 3rd class status under the British colonial regime had Ukwe Ahmadu Gbankwe from the Likam ruling house, who ruled from 1912 to 1926, followed by Ukwe Hassan Gbankwe, 1926 to 1929 and were succeeded in that order till Ukwe Ali Ibrahim Kufang II from Akenten ruling house who ruled from 1963 to 1996.

Ukwen lamented that, rather than maintain the status quo, the Taraba state government under Darius Ishaku, openly showed interest in making the stool rotational among Kuteb, Chamba and Kpanzo.

“The Governor had during a meeting at the Government House on January 30, 2023 informed the delegates, including Kuteb of his  decision to make the stool rotational among the ethnic groups in Takum. Kuteb delegates at the meeting objected to the move.

“Out of anger, the Governor threatened to invoke his executive power to enable him implement the policy and appoint anybody even an Igbo man to be the Chief of Takum if he so wishes.

“He also threatened to draft security in large numbers in Takum to take over the streets of Takum and shoot anybody that stands on his way if the Kuteb people prove stubborn.”

The group called on security agencies, the National Security Adviser, the National Human Rights Commission, other relevant agencies and spirited individuals to pay attention to the happenings in Takum and prevent anybody from steering up another round of blood shade in the area.

In his reaction, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Bala Dan-Abu said the governor as a father of the state cannot do anything that will jeopardise the peace he has worked for over the years.

“I am not aware that the governor threatened anybody. You know the stool in question has been vacant for a long time and people have been agitating for the vacant stool to be filled. If the Governor had said the stool should be rotational in the interest of peace, I don’t think it’s a bad idea. 

“All those showing interest or laying claims to the stool should show some level of maturity and relax their hard line position on the issue in the interest of peace,” he said.