From VICTOR GAI, Jalingo

The gruesome murder of a Catholic priest, Rev. Father David Tanko in Takum LGA by suspected Tiv militia has been confirmed.

Takum is hometown of the state governor,  Darius Ishaku and the former Minister of Defense,  General Theophilus Y.  Danjuma (rtd).

The attack occurred in Kufai-Amadu village,  along Takum-Wukari road, on Thursday when the priest was said to be returning back home from a peace meeting earlier held in Takum.

The priest was serving in Kufai Amadu village where he was attacked, killed and burnt to ashes.

He was said to have gone to Takum for a peace meeting on how to resolve the ongoing Tiv/Jukun crises with his fellow clergymen when the unfortunate event happened.

Confirming the event to SUNDAY Standard on telephone, the Care- taker Committee Chairman(CTC) of the council,  Shiban Tikari, said after “they succeeded in killing him,  they went ahead and set him on fire inside his car”.

The Chairman who alleged that the “Tiv militias are behind the attack and several others that have claimed lives and property in the southern part of the state”, called on security operatives to go extra  mile to fish out the perpetrators of this killing.

However, in a swift reaction,  the President-General of the Tiv Socio- Cultural Organization,  Chief Goodman Dahida, debunked the allegations that the attack was perpetrated by the Tiv ethnic group.

As at the time of filing this report,  the Catholic community have been thrown into mourning even as majority of them have began to relocate from the area to communities they believe are more safer.

On his part, the Catholic Bishop of Jalingo Diocese, Most Rev. Charles Hammawa, expressed dismay over the incessant attacks and killing of clerics.  “We have been preaching peace and making efforts to bring both parties in the crisis area to a round table discussion. For a priest who has been preaching peace to be killed in this most gruesome manner is pathetic to say the least, because a priest belongs to all”, he stated.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered for an investigation into the incident and arrest of those who carried out the act.

In a press statement, signed by Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), (DCP) Frank Mba, with reference number: CZ.5300/FPRD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.2/75, dated 29th August, 2019 says: “The Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni has given marching orders to the Commissioner of Police, Taraba State Command to fish-out the killers of Rev. Father David Tanko who was gruesomely murdered in the most inhuman and barbaric manner by unknown persons at Kpankufu village along Wukari Road on his way to Kofai Amadu Village in Taraba State”.

The statement added that: “The IGP condoles the Catholic family in Nigeria over the unfortunate incident. He also expresses deep concerns over the recent incidents of attacks on clergymen in some parts of the country and has directed Commissioners of Police in all the states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to henceforth pay special attention to the clergy and increase security around worship centres nationwide. The IGP has further directed the DIG in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) to provide additional forensic and other investigative assets to the Taraba State Command to aid investigations into the incident”.

The statement concluded saying: “The IGP enjoins the people to be calm and give maximum support to the Police in the bid towards unravelling the authors of the crime, their motives and circumstances surrounding the unfortunate killing of the Priest. He reassures the nation that the perpetrator(s) of the dastardly act will not go undetected and unpublished”.


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