By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Metropolitan Diocese, His Grace Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, has lamented the negative impact of the communal clashes involving two neighbouring states, Taraba and Benue.
He urged influential leaders such as Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, Paul Unongo and former governors of Benue State, Senator George Akume and Senator Gabriel Suswam to collectively work for an end to clashes between the Tiv and Jikun ethnic groups.
While lamenting the numerous deaths and wanton destruction of properties that have resulted from the inter-state communal clashes, Kaigama said that land dispute and politics had been identified and major causes of the conflict.
Speaking during the meeting of Women Inter State Peace Building Initiative (WIPI) conference at Masaka in Narasawa State, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Grace Bishoo Ignatius Kaigama urged the women to intervene and speak to their sons to drop their arms and embrace peace and brotherly love.
Kaigama urged prominent politics leaders in the area collectively speak out against the orgy of violence visited on each other by the Tiv and Jikun ethnic groups.
“I beg our eminent and respected elders such as Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), Sir and Lady Abu King Shuluwa, Mr. John Mamman, Senator George Akume, Mr. Damian Dodo, SAN, Senator Gabriel Suswam, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, Chief Paul Unongo, Elder Sam Ada, Senator Joel Ikenga and others to individually and collectively speak out clearly and emphatically to calm nerves,” he said.
Kaigama called on the federal and state governments to seriously check the reoccurring crisis, adding that the conflict had succeeded in destroying the agriculture and scaring investors thereby plunging the population into greater poverty.
The women from Taraba and Benue states under the auspices of the Foundation for Peace, Hope and Conflict Management (FPHCM) met to deliberate on how to implement initiatives aimed at ending the inter-state conflict.
Kaigama whose speech was titled, ‘Tiv, Jikun Women, Veritable Instruments in Search for Peacefully Coexistence’ urged the Taraba and Benue state governments to take concrete measures to ensure end to conflict between the two neighbouring states.
He said that the meeting was a very significant move towards building peace among Tivs and Jikun people.
According to him, the initiative would go a long way to restoring peaceful coexistence among the two ethnic groups.
He advised the people of the areas to cultivate friendship to transcend ethnic difference.
Kaigama said that land and politics appeared to be at the heart of the conflict between Tiv and Jikun.
Earlier, the Executive Director, of FPHCM, Rev Fr. Anthony Bature said that the conference was part of the organisation’s contribution towards building peaceful society devoid of violence, unjust social structure and mutual suspicion among tribes, religion and ethnic groups.
He said that the FPHCM was established in 2019 with the sole aim of having a society where peace, justice, trust and harmonious co-existence prevails
Bature said that resolutions reached at the end of the meeting would be used to further the cause of peace initiatives and conflict resolution in between the two sister states.
He said: “We at FPHCM believe strongly in peace, justice and fairness, hence the reason for this conference. We also believe in the power of partnership, that is why we are linking up with partners from public and private sector to bring together multi stakeholders, audiences and professional actors who are expert in peace building and conflict resolution,” he said.