How to End Communal Clashes, By Catholic Bishop

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Bishop Michael Apochi, Catholic Bishop of Otukpo Diocese, has advised the Federal Government to apply the golden rule to end the recurrence of communal clashes in communities in Agatu, Benue.

Apochi gave this advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Makurdi.


He explained that the golden rule entailed the unconditional love of one’s neighbours.

The clergyman complained that the Agatu Area had witnessed deadly attacks on houses, hospitals, worship places and farmlands.

He said it had become necessary for the Federal Government to apply the golden rule to bring a lasting end to the communal clashes.

“People all over the world demand respect, love, and appreciation; whether they deserve it or not.

“We should understand this desire and use it to promote godly behaviour; people who want to be shown respect should respect others.

“So, whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the law,” he said

The bishop, who also serves as the Chairman, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp Management Committee in Agatu, expressed displeasure that the attacks by herdsmen had devastated the Agatu communities.

“Life has become unbearable for our people in Agatu, who have survived these attacks, because it has come as a surprise to them all.’’

The bishop urged the Federal Government to urgently take measures to curb unprovoked attacks in rural areas.

He appreciated troops of the Nigerian Army deployed to the area and urged the government to secure the place so that the people could go back to their farms.

“Agatu communities are known for farming and fishing.

“This is the best time for them to put their farm lands to use; but, it is almost impossible because they need to be secured in order to farm.

“If these herdsmen would not allow farmers to go to farm, then the agriculture we are to fall back on, as a replacement for crude oil, cannot be successful.”

He added that the people of Agatu lived and cohabited with the Fulani’s over the years and wondered what could have caused the crises.

“These herdsmen are very professional, destructive and well-armed; they kill and rape women and minors on sight.” he said.

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