The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, has appealed to the leadership of both Jukum and Tiv in Taraba and Benue States to sheathe their swords and embrace peace as no society can develop without peace, tolerance and harmony.
According to reports, 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.
Worried by this sad and unfortunate development, Ayokunle, in a Press Statement issued in Abuja and signed by his Media Assistant, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, urged the two warring factions to end the crisis.
From the information available to us, majority of Tiv and Jukum 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 Jukum to, as a matter of urgency, convene peace meetings among all relevant stakeholders with a view to finding lasting solution to the feud.
This evil wind has, sadly, claimed several innocent lives. We take note that it is this mutual hostility between the two ethnic groups that led to the unfortunate gruesome murder of a Catholic Priest, Rev Fr David Tanko, recently while making a reconciliation effort.
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.
May peace reign not only between the Tivs and Jukuns but in our nation Nigeria in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.