President Muhammadu Buhari has given a marching order to the government of Benue and Taraba States and the traditional rulers in the two states to bring to an end the hostility between the Tiv and Jukun people.
The order came on the heels of the recent barbaric and gruesome murder of a Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. David Tanko by yet to be identified persons at Kpankufu village on Wukari road in Taraba State.
President Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, also directed the Tor Tiv and the Aku Uka of Wukari, religious and community leaders in the two states to meet urgently to bring an end to persistent violent clashes between the two ethnic groups.
The President in the statement in Abuja on Friday said, “The murder of the Catholic Priest highlights the urgency of addressing this embarrassing and persistent conflict.”
Describing such frenzy of human destruction, violent attacks on people and property in the communities by the warring parties as unacceptable, President Buhari said the Federal Government will not sit idly and watch the deep-seated antagonistic relationship between the Tiv and Jukun people fester.
According to him, “I have watched with trepidation and disbelief how hate and bigotry have inhabited the human soul, resulting in brothers killing brothers.
”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.
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“The persistent deaths and destruction and the seeming desire by the warring sides to push each other to extinction is embarrassing, and this is against the essence of our ethnic and religious diversity in the country.
“Progress is impossible where violence and destruction are allowed to dominate our daily lives.”
Acknowledging that the Tiv/Jukun violence was one of Nigeria’s most persistent and intractable security problems, President Buhari assured the affected communities that the Federal government will not leave them to their fate or treat cases of communal violence with levity and indifference.
He said, “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 roadmap for lasting peace. The impact of this persistent violence on the social and economic life of the people is incalculable.”
The statement noted that a high-level intervention from the Federal level made up of religious, community leaders and top security operatives were being put together by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, to examine all issues underlying the conflicts in the hope of finding a permanent solution.