The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, has appealed to the leadership of both Jukun and Tiv peoples in Taraba and Benue States to sheathe their swords and embrace peace, adding that no society can develop without peace, tolerance and harmony.
On-going hostilities between the two tribal groups, living side by side and inter-marrying, have led to the death of many, and forcing the closure in July of the Federal University of Wukari, Taraba as students of the two tribes got drawn into the fray. Recently, a Catholic Priest, Rev Fr David Tanko, was killed while pursuing reconciliation between the groups around the area.
In a statement in Abuja and signed by his Media Assistant, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Ayokunle said the oneness of ChristIan faith by the majority of Tiv and Jukun, they ought to live in brotherly love as commanded by Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace. He prayed for peace to reign between the groups.
The statement adds: “We urge the leaders of Tiv and Jukum to, as a matter of urgency, convene peace meetings among all relevant stakeholders with a view to finding lasting solution to the feud.
“Reports have it that travelling on Wukari and Katsina-Ala highways 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.
“As a body, CAN is making serious efforts behind the scene 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.”