, 14 December, 2019 / 9:11 AM
A Nigerian Archbishop who recently led a delegation of Local Ordinaries of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kaduna to the violence-prone Kaduna Local Government area within Kaduna state in the north western part of his country identified inequalities and disparities as factors behind the ethnic violence between Muslim and Christian population in the locality.
“We all know that we are where we are in this country because of inequality, simply because people are treated differently in terms of the provisions of infrastructural facilities,” the Archbishop of Kaduna, Mathew Man-Oso Ndagoso was quoted as saying during the December 9 visit to Kajuru in Kaduna Local Government Area, Kaduna state.
“The budget given by governments in every state is based on the population of the people and for their common good. And therefore, everyone in the state is entitled to the provision of good amenities,” the Archbishop of Kaduna added.
However, he continued, "you see it openly that resources are being channeled to communities favored by political leaders to the detriment of others."
“Where there are disparities and people are treated unequally there are bound to be problems,” Nigerian Archbishop Ndagoso lamented.
The Ecclesiastical Province of Kaduna comprises of the dioceses of Ilorin, Kafanchan, Kano, Minna, Sokoto and Zaria.
The Archbishop of Kaduna led a delegation that included Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop George Dodo of Zaria Diocese, Bishop John Niyiring of Kano Diocese and the Administrator of Kafanchan Diocese while the Bishop of Minna and Kotangora was represented.
Kaduna Local Government Area, home to the Hausa-Fulani herders who are largely muslims and other minority tribes mostly comprising of Christians who practise farming, has a long history of violence.
In October 2018, violence largely blamed on religious differences and unjust treatment of the minority groups broke out, then cooled down, only to rise again in February 2019.
“I can tell you that if you dig deep down it is not only the crisis here in Kajuru, it is not only the crisis in the north or Niger Delta. Most of these things are hinged on injustice,” Archbishop Ndagoso said.
He added, “When the Niger Delta boys were struggling to emancipate their people, money was being lifted, dollars were being harvested from their own territory, meanwhile the whole area was polluted, destroyed and fishermen lost their means of livelihood as a result of the pollution. And here in the north you can see it happening also.”
Explaining the purpose of their visit as a delegation, the Nigerian Archbishop said, “It is the duty of the Church leaders to give hope, console and give joy in all circumstances of life to the families of victims of the crisis.”
He affirmed the Church’s neutral position in times of conflict saying, “If there is a problem between farmers and herders it is not for us as religious leaders to take sides. Ours is to say the truth and ensure that justice is done to everybody.”
Archbishop Ndagoso also urged the government to protect the interests of its citizens saying once the government addresses “the problem of injustice, peace would come naturally in the country.”
In his view, what the Nigerian “Government needs to do is to provide good governance for the common good of the common man.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa