At a precarious time when the activities of suspected hersdmen has brought about suspicion and acrimonity in various communities across the country, a Catholic priest has dified circumstances by making a historic visit to a Fulani settlement near Tafawa Balewa, Bauchi State.
Rev. Fr. Isaac Iwar, VC who spoke to Bauchi Caritas after sharing the senstational photos of the visit on social media disclosed that he was actually returning from St. Joseph Catholic Church, Tafare where he officiated at the funeral mass of Mr. Joshua Ajiya Danlami when he dashed in to greet members of the Fulani community.
He further revealed that he was warmly received and asked if he could pray for them which they obliged.
They shared banters and expresed willingness to live in peace with each other towards a better Nigeria.
Fr. Iwar is of Tiv estraction, north central Nigeria where there has been no love lust betwen Tivs and Fulani settlers.
It would be recalled that the farmer-herder clashes in the Benue valley led to the murder in cold blood of two priests, Fr. Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha and 19 others at Ayar Mbalom community in the Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State on Tuesday, 24 April, 2018. Coincidentally, the priest hails from the same Gwer East Local Government where this dastardly act was carried out.
On 1 November 2017, the anti-open grazing law was enacted by the state governor to among other things prevent clashes between nomadic livestock herders and crop farmers.
It is hoped that building bridges of peace such as these would assist in ending the bloodbath in our country.
© Justine Dyikuk, 2020.
Fr. Dyikuk is a Lecturer of Mass Communication, University of Jos, Editor – Caritas Newspaper, and Convener, Media Team Network Initiative (MTNI), Nigeria.