From Jude Dangwam, Jos
Catholic Bishops and priests of Abuja and Jos Ecclesiastical provinces rose from a one-day meeting Tuesday, with a unanimous condemnation of the Jukun-Tiv crises in Taraba state which recently claimed many lives including a Catholic Priest, Rev. Father David Tanko.
The meeting, which was chaired by Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, Apostolic Administrator of Jos and Coadjutor Archbishop of Abuja held at the Centre for Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace (DREP), Jos.
In a communiqué after a meeting, the clerics suggested ways to end the bloodletting just as they regretted that nobody was spared in the unfortunate situation.
“We condemn the use of arms by our Christians and any other persons against one another.
“We equally condemn those who commit atrocities on account of tribal differences or in the name of the struggle for economic or political control.
“We bemoan the deplorable situation and the frustration our people have been reduced to in the face of these crises.
“The inter-ethnic clashes in our region have indeed erupted and affected Idoma, Tiv, Igala, Ogoja, Hiking, Kuteb, Also, Eggon, Agatu, Agila and Ngbo in Ebony State,” the communique said.
The body called on the Church as well as government to employ services of historians, anthropologists, security agents, boundary demarcation experts, constitutional experts and neutral international bodies (ECOWAS, AU, UN) to resolve the claims and counter claims.
They also called on dioceses with the ecclesiastical jurisdictions to create avenues where issues of insecurity and the dangers of crises would be discussed to sensitise the people.
According to them, traditional rulers should rise beyond their desire for peace but also work for peace.
Seven Catholic Bishops in attendance at the meetinginclude; Most Rev. Ishaya Audu, Lafia Diocese: Most Rev. Charles Hamawa, Jalingo Diocese; Most Rev. Mathew Hassan Kukah, Sokoto Diocese; Most Rev. William Avenya, Gboko Diocese.
Others were; Most Rev. Michael Gokum, Pankshin Diocese; Most Rev. Philip Dung, Shendam Diocese and Most Rev. Hillary Dachellem, Bauchi Diocese as well as some selected priests in the two provinces. (With additional reports from NAN)