Onyebuchi Ezigbo Abuja
The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, has advised the leadership of both Jukun and Tiv in Taraba and Benue States to sheathe their swords and embrace peace as no society can develop without peace, tolerance and harmony.
The hostilities between the two tribes have led to the death of hundreds of people and from all indications, the two warring parties are still agitated and reluctant to give peace a chance.
In a press statement issued in Abuja and signed by his Media Assistant, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the CAN president urged the two warring factions to end the crisis.
“From the information available to us, majority of Tiv and Jukun are Christians and ordinarily, one would have expected them to come together in unison and resolve their differences, no matter how bitter they are, as commanded us by Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace. Apart from this, we are aware that the two tribes are inter-twined because they exist side by side and have for long time inter-married.
“We urge the leaders of Tiv and Jukun to, as a matter of urgency, convene peace meetings among all relevant stakeholders with a view to finding lasting solution to the feud,” CAN said.
The CAN president regretted that it was this mutual hostility between the two ethnic groups that led to the unfortunate and gruesome murder of a Catholic Priest, Rev Fr David Tanko, recently while making a reconciliation effort.
According to Ayokunle, travelling on the Wukari and Katsina-Ala highway has become dangerous and suicidal as travellers who belong to either of the tribes are arrested, killed or set ablaze, just exactly the way the Catholic priest was killed.
He disclosed that CAN is making serious efforts with both the federal government and the two state governments on how to reconcile the two factions at a peace parley to be hosted as soon as practicable.
“We seize this opportunity to appeal to the two tiers of government to accelerate the process of an enduring peace process in which CAN is ready to be involved. We need to remember that violence and bloodletting will not benefit any of the warring parties; rather, it is the people, states, entire country and humanity that are at loss,” he said.