(Agenzia Fides) “The murder of the Catholic priest highlights the urgency of addressing this embarrassing and persistent conflict. On behalf of the federal government and the entire people of the Country, I offer my condolences to the Catholic community, the government and people of Taraba over the losses arising from recent incidents involving the warring communities,” said the President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari in a declaration after the brutal murder of Fr David Tanko, the young priest killed in the early hours on August 28 while going to mediate in the conflict between two rival populations: the Tiv and Jukun populations in the States of Taraba and Benue (see Fides, 30/8/2019).
In this regard, the Nigerian President also directed “the Taraba and Benue state governors and other stakeholders to meet urgently to bring an end to the persistent violent clashes between Jukun and Tiv people.”
The Head of State also assured that the federal government intends to do its part and that “it would not sit idly and watch the deep-seated antagonistic relationship between the Tiv and Jukun people fester.”
President Muhammadu Buhari said: “I have watched with trepidation and disbelief how hate and bigotry had inhabited the human soul, resulting in brothers killing brothers.”
“Progress is impossible where violence and destruction are allowed to dominate our daily lives,” added President Buhari, who acknowledged that “the Tiv/Jukun violence is one of Nigeria’s most persistent and intractable security problems.”
After assuring that the federal government “will not leave them to their fate,” the President stressed that “the deployment of security men can only provide a temporary solution. The long term and lasting solution to this deep-seated antagonistic relationship between the warring factions depend on the willingness of those involved to listen to reason and give peace a chance.”
“It is time for leaders of the ethnic groups to come together and draw up a road map for lasting peace. The impact of this persistent violence on the social and economic life of the people is incalculable,” he concluded.
Different areas of Nigeria live in conditions of in security. On August 30th, a special day of prayer for peace was held in the dioceses of the Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri (south-east) (see Fides, 29/8/2019). (L.M.)