Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
The remains of murdered Catholic priest Fr. David Tanko of Jalingo Diocese was on Tuesday laid to rest at the Our Lady Queen of Peace Cathedral, Jalingo, amid high emotions by fellow priests, family and loved ones.
The late Fr. Tanko, a Jukun man, was last Tuesday gruesomely murdered on Wukari – Takum road in Taraba State by a suspected factions in the ongoing ethnic violence between the Jukun and Tiv peoples of the central eastern Nigerian state.
In his sermon at the funeral mass, the Catholic Bishop of Jalingo Diocese, Bishop Charles Hammawa, who could not hold back his emotions, described the late Fr. Tanko as a man of peace who would never set out to harm another man, and wondered why anyone or group would target and kill him in cold blood and even go as far as to mutilate his remains in such a gruesome manner.
“Fr. David Tanko was a good man, a good priest, diligent, conscientious, hardworking, amiable and peaceful. He would not set out to offend anyone. He was the kind of person Nigeria needs to come out of the quagmire and mess we are in today. He was part of the peace effort initiated by the Diocese to end the fighting between the two ethnic groups. He met his painful, gruesome and devastating death in the course of this work,” Bishop Hammawa said in his homily.
“What are the warring parties fighting for? Do the reasons include the attack on ministers and places of worship and church property?
“These are disturbing times. The evils of insecurity, chauvinistic and parochial selfish interests of ethnic, religious, regional, political and nepotistic dimensions are plaguing and destroying us and our land. Where is hope going to come from? Where and to whom do we turn to? What do we do? These questions beg for answers before we are consumed and totally annihilated by these self-implanted and self-inflicted cancers. It is certainly not political domination and imposition of one religion on all. The irony is that we know the answers but are not prepared to work with them again for the same selfish reasons.”
The state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Mr Isaiah Magaji, who condemned the killings, called on the security agencies to be more proactive to forestall such unfortunate occurrences and to urgently put an end to the inter-ethnic crisis.
Tanko’s burial was attended by the Catholic Bishop of Kano Diocese, the representative of the state Governor Darius Ishaku, traditional rulers, the clergy, family and loved ones, who could not control their outpouring of grief over the brutal murder of the much loved young clergyman.
Born on June 30, 1977, Tanko was 42 when he died in an ambush by Tiv militants on Tuesday, August 27, 2019.